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Audemars Piguet Millenary Pianoforte Limited Edition Luxury Watch Review

http://www.thewatchbox.com The Audemars Piguet Millenary Pianoforte Limited Edition has it all; it's cool, contemporary, and composed like a baroque concerto, it's a symphony for the senses. And as part of a limited run of 500 units, the Millenary Pianoforte is a sold-out event. But thewatchbox.com has your ticket to the show. Le Brassus, Switzerland-based horological hitmaker Audemars Piguet launched its original oval-shaped Millenary luxury wristwatch in 1995. Of the many watches to test the oval case concept, the Millenary has proved to be the most enduring by far. Since the 1970s (Omega Dynamic) and as recently as the 2000s (Ulysse Nardin Macho Palladium 950), the oval watch has been a recurring sight on the luxury landscape. The Millenary alone has succeeded against the round case orthodoxy. Styled for its '95 debut by 25 year-old design prodigy Emmanuel Gueit of Royal Oak Offshore fame, the Millenary's prestige rose dramatically when its 38mm case expanded to a contemporary 45mm width in the early 2000s. By the end of the decade, Audemars Piguet was well on its way to establishing the Millenary as a third pillar of its product line alongside the high horology pieces and the small universe of Royal Oak variants. 2008's Audemars Piguet Millenary Pianoforte Limited Edition announced that the definitive oval opus had arrived. Now more than a offbeat profile, the Pianoforte elevated the basic Millenary into the realm of the avant garde. Millenary's ultra-lux musical makeover starts with a subtle but daring flourish; the center seconds hand is rendered in a deep, dark purple that could pass for black at first glance. Look closely, and take note; all that flows from the dial's center embodies the same raffish sensibility. Asymmetry is nothing new to high horology design, but the Millenary Pianoforte takes the concept to new heights. Bold mother-of-pearl inlays sprawl across the keyboard-themed dial. The marine mineral recalls the heyday of custom-built pianos that doubled as commissioned art and focal points for palace salons. Keys rendered in gloss black lacquer complete the effect. Skeletonized kite hands lie just beneath the hot rod-purple seconds hand and ensure minimal obstruction of the Millenary Pianoforte's exquisite dial details. Likewise, the date window at three o'clock hides in plain sight thanks to its subtle integration within the elongated Roman numeral "three." Audemars Piguet plays this "number" with a light touch. The Pianoforte is rendered in brushed and polished 18-karat white gold that alternately dazzles and mutes the ambient light. White gold is the most versatile variant of the Midas metal, and its use on the Pianoforte opens the door to casual wearing of the watch. While the Millenary Pianoforte plays well with a black-tie ensemble, it's equally at home in smart casual attire. Short curved lugs ensure that the Millenary fits even petite wrists without threatening awkward "overhang." The case is 45mm wide, but it measures only 40mm high, and the rapid taper of the lugs ensures that any wrist amenable to a 40mm Rolex Oyster model is fit to "play" the Pianoforte. Inside the sculpted gold case beats a self-winding Audemars Piguet manufacture caliber 3120. This is serious hardware for a watch intended for on-shore use. AP designed the movement for its rugged Royal Oak Offshore, and the architecture screams "sports watch!" The free-sprung balance, variable-inertia balance blocks, and dual-anchored balance bridge are the giveaway clues that AP envisioned Rolex-style horseplay in this movement's future. Yes, it's designed to be that tough. Normally, it's appropriate to close with a nod to the complete factory boxes and papers that accompany a collectible watch. But the Millenary Pianoforte goes so far above and beyond the standard double-box set that it merits special recognition. True to its name, the Pianoforte arrives in an enormous rectangular box housing a black-lacquered wood case in the form of a grand piano. The lockable piano display box is nearly 16 inches long, weighs several pounds, and arrives lined with leather. As an added bonus, Audemars Piguet includes an accessory alligator strap in the same deep purple tone as the watch's center seconds hand. In every respect, this boxed set projects a sense occasion to match the Millenary Pianoforte itself. As the Millenary gains acceptance as a modern icon of Audemars Piguet, collectors of AP classics are beginning to scour the market for the most distinctive, rare, and memorable late-model Millenary models. In particular, the Pianoforte, the Millenary 4101, and the Quincy Jones have been game-changers for the Millenary's chart rankings. While this Pianoforte Limited edition is available now from thewatchbox.com, only 500 were produced, and there might not be an encore performance. Video and content by Tim Mosso.