Category: Audemars Piguet Watches

Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak Self-Winding Flying Tourbillon Openworked

The first time I saw Audemars Piguet’s new Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon in Sand Gold, I thought I was looking at stainless steel. AP had just announced the watch, a mix of materials to create a new gold alloy that’s a softer hue between pink and white. But in the bright blue lights of a convention hall, the watch looked completely white. As it made its way around the circle of press at the event, only when I got it up close, under a bit of shadow, did the rosy tones start to come out of the case. For “just a new material,” it was pretty impressive. But I figured that it was a one-time experience, like learning how a magic trick was done.
The second time I saw Audemars Piguet’s new Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon in Sand Gold, I thought I was looking at stainless steel. I was at another press preview, this time in New York when I saw my friend Perri Dash working on a wrist roll in the shade. “It’s cool that they brought out the stainless steel version,” I thought to myself. Then I got closer. You know what they say, “Fool me once…”

Any other batch of releases and the new 26735SG (for “Sand Gold”) would have easily been the watch that grabbed the most attention. It certainly caught my eye, but as someone who loves the Royal Oak, I’m never quite sure how the audience will react. This time, the watch was the “With Special Guest” to John Mayer’s top billing with his show-stopping Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar, so I expected it to get overshadowed. Then there’s the fact that it’s easy to dismiss the watch – like I said before – as “just a new material.” That’s why I was, frankly, pleasantly surprised by the fact that the few photos I posted of the watch on Instagram seemed to really resonate.
Detractors aren’t completely wrong. The 26735ST (“ST” for steel) was the first openworked Royal Oak Flying Tourbillon, released back in 2022, so the movement here isn’t new. If that’s all that gets you excited, you might be bored, but from my standpoint, the caliber 2972 is nothing ever to be disappointed in. It has a beautifully semi-symmetrical architecture that’s clean, clear, and intentional in a way that tells you the caliber was designed to be skeletonized from the start. With all that’s going on in the movement, the flying tourbillon is still the center point, standing proud at 6:00. And while skeletonized watches are never the most legible, the geometric pattern means you can more easily tell the hands and movement apart. To me, all that bumped the 2972 quickly to the top of the class, setting the standard for openworked (or skeletonized) watches back in 2022.
So sure, the most important thing to note with the new ref. 26735SG is the new sand gold material, but it’s not all just about color. When I wrote about the watch a few weeks ago, I missed a brief mention in the press release that AP’s new sand gold should be more color-fast and durable over time. While not many people (myself included) have to worry about the durability of rose gold, it’s particularly finicky and prone to fading when exposed to salt water or chlorine. Very few brands have solved that issue, Rolex and Omega being two of the notable exceptions.

And while it isn’t all about color, it certainly is a big selling point. Almost all gold used in watchmaking is 18k or 14k alloys, made harder and more durable by mixing other materials with pure gold. Choosing what materials you use can lend colorfastness, hardness, and shift color. While these mixes are now closely studied, tested, and checked for impurities that might impact the final product, back before the early to mid-1900s, this kind of gold mixing was wild and free. It’s not uncommon to see four-color gold cases (bonus point who can name the fourth color besides yellow, white, and rose), and often, if you see white gold cases (on Cartier, for instance) made before the 1950s, it’s actually rhodium-plated yellow gold.
These proprietary color mixes are part of why it’s so fun to debate things like who has the best rose gold on the market (ahem AP ahem) or talk about why A. Lange & Söhne’s Honey Gold case is so special. Speaking of Honey Gold, it’s a great jumping-off point for the new Sand Gold. While Lange’s mix is a pinkish hue trending toward a soft yellow, Sand Gold is even softer. The beige tone definitely trends toward white gold, thanks to the balance of 20 percent copper and five percent palladium used to strengthen the 18k gold case. I called it “very Loro Piana,” a reference on my mind as I walked past a very beige display at their boutique in Milan just before seeing the new watch. But it’s as “quiet luxury” as a loud watch like a gold Royal Oak can get.

This continues my perception of Audemars Piguet’s materials science dominance. Sure, other brands were often first. IWC, for instance, released the first ceramic-cased watch with the Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar in 1986 and currently makes some of the most budget-friendly ceramic watches. But AP has made ceramic and other materials like frosted gold such an inextricable part of their brand identity that people clamor for their ceramic watches in a way you don’t see for anyone else. When AP pulled out of Only Watch last year, their proposed watch was basically the same Royal Oak Flying Tourbillon but in ceramic with blued titanium bridges. I heard from more than one AP client who tried incredibly hard to buy it, saying to AP, “Name your price.” But their success isn’t just with ceramic. When AP was testing its Concept Supersonnerie RD#1, the brand used the worst material imaginable, the incredibly dense and terrible-sounding platinum. It takes a lot to bend the material to your will that way and yet it’s still one of the best-sounding repeaters I’ve heard.
In this case, we must credit AP’s partner, PX Précinox La Chaux-de-Fonds, which developed the gold alloy. AP has no proprietary rights to the gold, but they did create the name for this product. As for using it this well, well that’s all AP.

The use of Sand Gold has even improved the great caliber 2972. The hands and markers (in white gold) have even more contrast against the movement, with the bridges treated with a sand-gold hue to match the case while standing out from the gears and barrels, which are rhodium-toned. Oh, and maybe I’m the only one who found this funny, but the rotor is technically made from 18k pink gold, though that’s been rhodium-toned as well, making it essentially white gold.
The most important thing, however, is how AP has pulled off the magic trick that has fooled me one too many times. The best way to illustrate it is in the pictures above, and the examples below.

I try incredibly hard to have consistent lighting and color across all my images. I spend hours on it in post-production, in addition to using a lighting set-up that I color-correct before I even take my first image. Any reflective material plays off its environment; that’s how the physics of light works. For the physics or photography nerds out there, you’ll know that in polished metal, the angle of incidence (light coming in) equals the angle of reflection (light coming out), and whatever else is in the environment impacts the color (whatever is at a 90-degree angle from the polished metal will cast a color on it). A color cast can still be prominent even with brushed metal, like many facets on the Royal Oak. But I’ve never experienced a color shift when shooting a watch as much as I have with Sand Gold. Placed on a piece of brown leather, the watch seemed to play off the environment’s more yellow and red hues, landing on something close to AP’s current rose gold mix. But look what happened when I took it outside on a cold day with direct and cool light. While hard light is terrible for taking photos of watches – creating contrast and weird shadows – you can see why I continue to be fooled by the new Flying Tourbillon. In fact, when I asked to grab the watch and take these pictures, someone else absent-mindedly picked up a nearby white gold 16204 (Jumbo openworked) before realizing they weren’t holding a tourbillon in their hand. It was incredibly validating – or at least comforting – knowing I wasn’t losing my mind.
What you’ll see most of the time is something in between, a gorgeous Royal Oak as you see below. At 41mm by 10.4mm thick, it’s not the quintessential Royal Oak size (the 39mm x 8.1mm Jumbo by which all other Royal Oaks are measured), but it’s not far off either. On my 7.25″ wrist, it arguably is the more “correct” size for my frame despite my (often obnoxious) obsession with the Jumbo. If this is the watch I had to wear, I wouldn’t complain about it in fit or finish. But at a rumored $270,000+ and estimated less than 100 pieces being made one year, I won’t hold my breath at ever seeing one in the wild for a long time.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar 41

If you want to play the hits like AP, sometimes you have to consider a special remix, and the band from Le Brassus has just announced a special expression of the concept-only RD#2. This new model, which builds upon the success of a recent sibling sets the town with more titanium, less platinum, a new dial, and limited production. I’m in love.
Allow me to elaborate. The ultra-thin 41mm RD#2 was launched in platinum as a concept in 2018 (that watch can be seen below, it is supremely rare, equally cool, and very heavy on wrist). In 2019, AP announced the AP Royal Oak Selfwinding Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin RD#2 reference 26586IP.OO.1240IP.01, which featured a new non-tap dial design, and a blend of materials, in which much of the watch was titanium, save for the bezel and intermediate links in the bracelet – those are platinum and production was very limited but not part of a specific numbered edition. With this latest release, the world gets a second “production” take on the RD#2, this time it’s limited to 200 units.

If you can imagine these three watches in a sort of Animorphs-esque transformation. The AP Royal Oak Selfwinding Perpetual Calendar concept RD#2 is platinum, the next RD#2 26586IP is platinum and titanium, and now the transformation has hit the next stage, full titanium. Measuring 41mm wide and just 6.2mm thick, the new 26586TI weighs just 75 grams, with the only non-titanium element of note being the screws for the bezel (which are made of white gold).
Aside from shedding a few grams of precious metal, the 26586TI sticks largely to the formula but adds in a new blue-to-black dial with black subdials, a red date accent, and the same blue aventurine moon phase. While I wasn’t wild about the look of the smoky blue dial in the press images, it strikes a lovely balance in person that sees a wide variety of saturation in the blue depending on available light but no loss of contrast for the subdials.

Inside, we find the same record-setting ultra-thin movement as that found in the previous examples mentioned above, the AP Royal Oak Selfwinding Perpetual Calendar 5133, which is a full perpetual calendar automatic movement with moon phase and day/night indication that is only 2.9mm thick. Pricing? Well, at a cool CHF 137,000, the price is neither lightweight nor thin.
I mean, I said it up top. I’m in love. Just as I was with the two preceding versions. High-end watchmaking that is light and wearable despite housing one of my all-time favorite complications, you couldn’t have slapped the smile off of my face when I tried on both the RD#2 and the new 26586TI in the span of just two minutes. The smile faded when I had to give it back, but I digress.

As a further expression of the RD#2, I think that the 26586TI speaks directly to the merits of the RD program and its ability to produce a Royal Oak that blends tradition with modern cutting-edge production. The watch looks incredible, feels amazing, light, and very special on wrist. And to my eyes represents a halo for the entire scope of the modern AP Royal Oak Selfwinding Perpetual Calendar .
If the pricing even matters – and for the target audience with this watch I’m not convinced it does– this titanium creation does come in a hair less dear than the proceeding titanium and platinum RD#2 26586IP, which launched at CHF 140,000. To my eyes, it’s a great remix of the original and a direct, distinct, and appealing evolution of the 2019 ref 26586IP.

Audemars Piguet’s New Watches Of 2024

It’s that time of year. We’re all eagerly awaiting (or, in some instances, bracing for) the deluge of new releases at Watches & Wonders. But things don’t stop for the brands not participating in the show. For instance, Audemars Piguet took to Milan, Italy, this week to celebrate the opening of the brand’s new AP House Milan, located in the famed former Garage Traversi. It was also the perfect moment for the brand to introduce the first of its semi-annual major releases.
Yes, the John Mayer Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar got top billing at the announcement, but there was a lot of ground to cover. At the press preview, watches were passed around at such speed that you couldn’t do much more than get a photo or two, examine the watch, and move on to the next release passed your way a minute later. In several cases, there were innovations to unpack. I hope to get a chance to spend more time with a few of these. But instead of inundating you with multiple stories, I’ll do my best, to sum up (nearly) every release. But before we start, here’s a primer:
First, how often do you see a new suffix at the end of a reference for a new material? It was cool to type “SG” for Sand Gold for the first time. And if not for John Mayer QP, this would have been the headliner. But what is it? As representatives for the brand explained, they’re always experimenting with new materials (and studying old materials from the 1800s to see the combination of elements used to get colors like “green gold”). Pure gold is almost always combined with other materials to create stronger alloys, and the materials you use can often change the color. Pink gold has slowly taken a prominent place in their model lineup since its introduction in the mid-1980s, but this is not pink. By removing silver from the mix and replacing it with palladium, they achieved a very beige 18k gold 41mm by 10.6mm case. Then they applied that same sand gold finishing to the bridges of the caliber 2972, released in 2022 for the Royal Oak’s 50th anniversary.
Without overstating it, the RD#3 in 37mm is one of the most impressive things Audemars Piguet has done in a long time. It took intense effort to create such an elegant self-winding movement with a tourbillon and place it in the iconic 39mm by 8.1mm “Jumbo” case. Then they went and shaved an extra 2mm off the width. Impressive. This new model has a smoked blue Petite Tapisserie bezel and 12 baguette-cut diamond hour markers. The white gold case (a new material perfect for gem setting) is still 8.1mm thick and has 50m of water resistance, and the bezel is set with 32 baguette-cut diamonds. This complements the 37mm RD#3 with the purple dial, but I would have loved to see an option without the diamond bezel. Diamond hour markers without diamonds on the bezel are a great low-key flex.
Here’s a great two-for-one (though don’t try to get that deal at the boutique). The brand introduced two new yellow gold models, which in some ways is par for the course for Audemars Piguet. Many other brands are still slow to get yellow gold back into their lineups after rose/pink gold took over in the early 2000s, but not AP. AP has a good spread of the material in a bunch of colors and they certainly do interesting things with texture as well. The yellow frosted gold on the 37mm Selfwinding Royal Oak is a hand-hammered texture we’ve seen used back all the way to the first Carolina Bucci edition. The 41mm RO Chronograph is a bit more straightforward, but just like the 37mm model, it has a hand-sprayed dark burst finish on the gold sunburst dial.
I’ve never been the biggest fan of the Royal Oak Offshore, probably because I didn’t come up in the era where they were “hot.” The Offshore Diver in “khaki” was one of the few exceptions. Funny enough, they brought this new 43mm Offshore out on a tray to tease me, and maybe that did a little extra to convince me, but this new Offshore with a rubber bezel is kind of cool. The 43mm by 14.4mm case is a bit big, and since it’s not a diver, the watch only has 100m of water resistance. But making it a non-diver, non-chronograph ROO makes it kind of uncommon. The smoked blue dial has the new generation Méga Tapisserie pattern, rhodium-toned gold applied hour-markers, Royal Oak hands with luminescent material, and a blue inner bezel (which does not rotate since, again, it’s not the diver). The exterior rubber blue bezel is reminiscent of the Royal Oak Offshore Rubberclad ref. 25940 launched in 2002, the first watch to use rubber anywhere but the bracelet, and it’s fun to see it come back.
Can you believe it? Five years already. And while the collection might have been slightly (okay, more than slightly) maligned at launch, it seems to be finally hitting its stride. With the release of smaller 38mm Codes last year, plus better dial textures and indices, AP seemed to crack the – you know what, I’m not going to say it. This year, there are a few changes to the collection. First, you’ll no longer see Code 11.59 in white gold for chronographs and time-only pieces. Complications are still theoretically fair game, but we were told that steel and white gold seemed too close to each other and tended to cannibalize their own market. So expect to see more pink gold – the only gold variant the brand is doing on the Code for now.
I nearly had a heart attack during my first hands-on session. The presenter was handing around watches, and while I tried to snap photos, I heard the words: “The steel Jumbo is discontinued.” I immediately started texting coworkers, preparing for a breaking news story. Well, thirty minutes later, my dream of owning a 16202 was (somewhat) revived when I found out that it wasn’t the 16202ST that got the boot, but the 16204ST – the “Jumbo” Openworked. Instead, we have the 16204BC (white gold) to match last year’s 16204BA (and yellow gold). A reminder: “Jumbo” is 39mm by 8.1mm, not the (paradoxically) larger 41mm. It’s all about historical models for the nickname, so 39mm is Jumbo – got it?
One of the most interesting things I saw in Milan was a prototype of the AP Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph Tourbillon in a camouflage ceramic case. If you didn’t already think that AP was leading the cutting edge of ceramic technology in watchmaking, I don’t think you could argue otherwise now. Technologically, it’s advanced. Aesthetically, it’s wild. Sure, I wear camo occasionally. I grew up in the Midwest and spent much time in rural areas where camo is practical for hunting. But the camo I think of is not this kind of camo. This is pure, intense, loud streetwear camo. And I love it.
I was standing there with the inimitable fellow workwear/military clothing lover Kristian Haagen when we were shown this watch, and I think you could have seen both our eyes light up. I immediately had a ton of questions. “Can you do other colors?” They pulled out a tray, including a UV reactive puck, where certain parts of the pattern glowed. “Other patterns? Could you do a duck camo on one and a tiger cam on another?” Sure, they told me, no problem. The implications are also wild when you realize that if AP is the only one doing this, it essentially could guarantee, at least for a time, that these printed watches are never replicated or faked on the secondary market. Finally, the brand teased in the press release that the technique can be done in multi-color gold, which will be shown in prototype form in the coming months. Gold camo? Bring it on.

Audemars Piguet Can Do Camouflage Ceramic Now – And I Hate How Much I Love It

One of the most interesting things I saw in Milan was a prototype of the AP Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph Tourbillon in a camouflage ceramic case. If you didn’t already think that AP was leading the cutting edge of ceramic technology in watchmaking, I don’t think you could argue otherwise now. Technologically, it’s advanced. Aesthetically, it’s wild. Sure, I wear camo occasionally. I grew up in the Midwest and spent much time in rural areas where camo is practical for hunting. But the camo I think of is not this kind of camo. This is pure, intense, loud streetwear camo. And I love it.
By my understanding, Audemars Piguet has figured out how to do basically any camouflage design in ceramic in a new Spark Plasma Sintering (SPS) technology process. In the process, the team carefully placed different colored ceramic powders in a circular graphite mold, which is sintered using a powerful electric current conducted through the graphite. The temperature rises rapidly while pressure is placed on either side of the mold, creating a ceramic disc. While the patterns are slightly different each time, they look similar at a glance enough to be serially produced. But AP can also easily change the pattern or design for endless potential custom unique pieces and patterns. They told me the brand carefully chose designs and colors in testing so the pattern showed up best. Sometimes, an idea works great on the created ceramic puck, but once you carve out the case shape, it’s hard to see. The discs are machined into the shape, pre-polished, and pre-satin-brushed before being hand-finished to get the satin finishing and polished chamfers.
I was standing there with the inimitable fellow workwear/military clothing lover Kristian Haagen when we were shown this watch, and I think you could have seen both our eyes light up. I immediately had a ton of questions. “Can you do other colors?” They pulled out a tray, including a UV reactive puck, where certain parts of the pattern glowed. “Other patterns? Could you do a duck camo on one and a tiger cam on another?” Sure, they told me, no problem. The implications are also wild when you realize that if AP is the only one doing this, it essentially could guarantee, at least for a time, that these printed watches are never replicated or faked on the secondary market. Finally, the brand teased in the press release that the technique can be done in multi-color gold, which will be shown in prototype form in the coming months. Gold camo? Bring it on

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding 41

It wouldn’t be SIHH without some updates to the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak collection. This year we’ve got a new base model Royal Oak in the form of the ref. 15500, replacing the ref. 15400 that came out back in 2012. The ref. 15500 is still a 41mm, automatic Royal Oak with classic looks, but the proportions and detailing have been updated with increased legibility and cleanliness in mind. Specifically, the date window is now further from the center, the applied luminous indexes are a bit wider, and the minute track is printed on the very edge of the dial outside the “Grande Tapisserie” pattern. There are five references in total, three in stainless steel (with blue, grey, and black dial options) and two in rose gold (one on a bracelet and one on a strap, both with black dials).

One of the most important updates though is the use of a new movement, the caliber Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 4302. This in-house movement was just introduced yesterday in the three-hand CODE 11.59 model (see, we told you AP would likely roll these movements out to other watches). This is a much more modern movement than the classic caliber 3120 that powered the ref. 15400 – it beats at 4 Hz instead of 3 Hz, it has 70 hours of power reserve instead of a 60, and it was designed and made totally in-house. Now, this has the added effect of making the watch thicker too, with the ref. 15500 measuring in at 10.4mm top to bottom instead of 9.8mm. Whether or not this makes any difference is yet to be seen, but we’ll be looking for it when we see these in the metal soon.
For many die-hard collectors, the “Jumbo” is the “base” Royal Oak, but that’s just not the case. The ref. 15202 is tough to come by and represents a very small percentage of the overall Royal Oak production. It’s this watch, the ref. 15500, that forms the true foundation of the collection, and the technical and aesthetic tweaks offer both something new for customers right now and some insight into where AP sees the Royal Oak going overall.

One of the things I find interesting about the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak ref. 15500 is just how different is actually is from its predecessor. It would be easy to shrug this release off as an incremental update – that was definitely my first reaction. But just look at how different the 15500 appears from the 15400 when you put the two side by side (the 15500 is on the left, the 15400 on the right): And that doesn’t even take the movement swap into account. I think that while it’s not a particularly splashy release, we’re going to look back at this watch as one of the more important introductions of the fair in terms of impact on consumers.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Flying Tourbillon Chronograph Ceramic

The Beast, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Flying Tourbillon Chronograph Ceramic, officially turns 30 this year, and as if the relatives were scarce to fill the room for celebration, Audemars Piguet brings another specimen into the family, a cool-coloured Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph presented in a black ceramic case with green anodized elements. Jokes aside, this new watch is a fine addition to the new generation of the Royal Oak Offshore collection, much like the original version launched in 2021, but with an even more futuristic look.

The new AP ROO Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Flying Tourbillon Chronograph Ceramic version is everything the inaugural reference was. Still, the choice of material for the 43mm case and green hues to colour elements on the dial side make all the difference. This year, for the first time in the 43mm ROO collection, the watch features a full ceramic case with a ceramic caseback. Multiple finishing techniques are used to bring out the best of the case design, with updated, enlarged polished bevels on the edges. AP mastered ceramic manufacturing and tooling very well, not just for the cases but for the full-ceramic bracelets too. Only this edition is offered on a green rubber strap, matching several dial elements. The Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph design reminds us of supercars and fighter planes. Under the slightly curved sapphire crystal, the dial has an openworked architecture that is futuristic and aggressive. Note the wide bevelled bridges to the flying tourbillon’s left and right and the movement plate’s vent-like surface beneath. The flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock is the obvious centrepiece and reveals the inner workings of the escapement, while the gear train is the backdrop for the upper part of the dial. The chronograph counters with the black outer ring do not obstruct the view, and the tiny hands to indicate the minutes or the hours are the same red colour as the central chronograph hand, in line with the sports character of the series. The large pink gold hands with a Super-LumiNova strip down the centre indicate the time, and the gold-coloured theme is continued with the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Flying Tourbillon Chronograph Ceramic logo, the crown and the balance wheel as if to remind of the luxury status of this exceptional watch. The vivid green colour, responsible for the distinctive look of this new Royal Oak Offshore variant, is applied to the rubber strap, the rubber gasket, and a few dial elements. A green anodized inner bezel works as the minutes track with very legible, black-printed markings and numerals. The black PVD-coated titanium bridges are highlighted with green inserts with an aluminium coating, and all the movement’s colours play to this aesthetic experiment.

The calibre 2967, a seriously reworked version of the in-house flying tourbillon flyback chronograph calibre 2952, which was first launched with the Code 11.59 collection a couple of years back, is what powers this limited edition of the ROO. This automatic movement consists of 526 parts, operates at a 3Hz frequency, and provides 65 hours of power reserve, guaranteed. The New Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Flying Tourbillon Chronograph Ceramic 26622CE Limited Edition in black ceramic with green hues is limited to 100 pieces. It is offered with an interchangeable green rubber strap, a titanium folding clasp, and an additional black rubber strap.

audemars piguet royal oak selfwinding diamonds

While the stars of the show for the celebrations of the Royal Oak’s 50th anniversary were, without a doubt, the new Extra-Thin 16202 and the Openworked 16204, Audemars Piguet won’t only be looking at the Jumbo models. In fact, throughout 2022, the entire permanent Royal Oak collection will be updated. Be reassured; we’re talking small touches to make these models slightly more refined or mechanically more modern. The design invented by Genta in 1972 is still alive and well and almost intact. First, concerning the audemars piguet royal oak selfwinding 37mm and audemars piguet royal oak selfwinding diamonds Chronographs 38mm & 41mm, the evolutions will be focusing on details from the case and bracelet and dial design/colours. And, a little spoiler, these evolutions will also concern the Royal Oak Selfwinding 41mm and 34mm in the second half of 2022. But let’s look at this new collection to understand what has changed.
Let’s get straight to the point. We’re not looking at a complete overhaul of the Royal Oak. Don’t expect a complete redesign or entirely new models. The collection that Audemars Piguet releases in the frame of the 50 years of the Royal Oak is about subtle, minimal updates without altering the original concept of the RO collection. It’s still a sports watch with an integrated bracelet; it still features an octagonal bezel with eight screws; it is still a proper luxury watch; and it still features a tapisserie pattern on the dial. And the way the collection is articulated – read Selfwinding time-and-date watches in 34mm, 37mm and 41mm, as well as two Selfwinding Chronographs in 38mm and 41mm – hasn’t been touched either. Those who were expecting the Royal Oak to change will be disappointed. Those, and they are many, who were looking forward to the Royal Oak remaining true to its origins will be pleased.
So, what has changed in 2022? And this goes for all three audemars piguet royal oak selfwinding 37mm and Chronographs 38mm and 41mm we’re looking at today and will be the same for the 34mm and 41mm later this year. As for the case, it’s about the finishing and how the case is shaped. While retaining the same proportions as before, these new Royal Oak references now have enlarged polished bevels adorning the top and the bottom of the case, enhancing the contrast and play of light with the brushed surfaces. Also, the screwed caseback has been slightly more integrated into the case middle to sit more comfortably on the wrist.
Another evolution concerns the transition between case and bracelet and the way the whole tapers to the clasp. Indeed, to accentuate the case’s slenderness and add a bit of refinement, the integrated bracelet’s first four links are now trapezoid in shape and no longer parallel. This more pronounced decrease in thickness brings forward the bracelet’s taper for more visual appeal. Furthermore, the links are thinner throughout the bracelet and therefore lighter, enhancing the comfort on the wrist – this evolution of the design was actually introduced discreetly on Royal Oak models in gold a few years ago but now finds its way into the whole collection, including steel and titanium models.
The second update concerns the dials. audemars piguet royal oak selfwinding adds subtle touches without drastically changing the overall idea of the tapisserie pattern, which has been associated with the Royal Oak since its very creation. The idea with the 2022 update of the Royal Oak Selfwinding models is to bring coherence. Design-wise, the hour markers and hands retain the same aesthetics as before, yet the size has been harmonised across the whole collection, regardless of diameter and material. In the same vein, the proportions of the hour markers of the new self-winding chronographs and self-winding time-and-date timepieces have been standardised according to the different diameters.
Looking at the dial in more detail, there’s a new AUDEMARS PIGUET signature, replacing the applied AP monogram and printed text used in past collections. Now, the brand is using the same embossed signature as used on Code 11.59. Made of thin layers of 24-carat gold, the signature is achieved through a chemical process akin to 3D printing known as galvanic growth. Each letter is connected with links approximately the size of a hair and placed on the dial by hand. Also, all watches now have tone-on-tone date wheels.
Finally, while the tapisserie pattern has been retained and shows the same size as before – and this is specific to the 37mm time-and-date model – the flat external zone on which the minute track was printed has now been removed, and the track is now printed directly on the guilloché dial, just like on Jumbo models. The two 38mm and 41mm audemars piguet royal oak selfwinding chronographs retain a smooth external scale, which is used as a precision seconds track.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Repeater Supersonnerie

Audemars Piguet is famous – rightly famous – for many things; among them the Royal Oak’s instantly recognizable eight-sided bezel and distinctive overall case architecture. What’s less well known in the general watch enthusiast community, however, is that there is quite a lot more to the history of Audemars Piguet than the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Repeater Supersonnerie itself. In fact, for much of its history, one of the most distinctive elements of Audemars Piguet’s identity was its expertise as a complications maker. It’s a revelatory experience, if you can get there, to visit the Audemars Piguet museum, as HODINKEE did not long ago, and actually see and hear some of its historical production of minute repeaters. With the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Repeater Supersonnerie , Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Repeater Supersonnerie put together a genuinely fascinating fusion of some of its newest visions of watch design, and some of its most historically – well, resonant – areas of technical mastery. The Royal Oak Concept Supersonnerie is a pretty major step in the evolution of minute repeaters, so before getting into the nuts and bolts, let’s talk a little bit about what a minute repeater is and how it does what it does. The minute repeater’s a very old complication; what it basically does is chime the hours, quarter hours, and the number of minutes past the most recent quarter hour – generally, on two gongs that sound two different notes. In a repeater, the time rings “on demand” or whenever you want to hear it (as opposed to “in passing,” as in a grandfather clock that rings the hour without you having to do anything). To operate a minute repeater, you usually have to press a slide set into the case-band, which winds a small mainspring barrel that powers the repeater gear train (otherwise every time you operated the repeater you’d run down the mainspring barrel). Minute repeaters are considered a “high” complication, and continue to be an acid test of real watchmaking skill, because making one that works well and sounds great is still something you can’t really automate. A repeater isn’t just a mechanism, it’s also a musical instrument, and the tempo and tone quality have to be painstakingly adjusted by hand. Getting a really great tone, a pleasing tempo, and adequate volume out of a repeater requires not just a lot of mechanical ingenuity; it also takes an understanding of casemaking, an instinctive grasp of musical metallurgy, and a great ear.

Traditionally the best repeaters were pocket Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Repeater Supersonnerie watches with gold cases, which delivered on all fronts: good volume; warm, pleasing tone; stately tempo. Getting the same out of a wristwatch is exponentially more difficult. The smaller case of a wristwatch (in some instances much smaller) smaller gongs, and weaker striking force in the hammers represent seemingly unsurmountable limits on performance. So it’s all the more amazing when you actually travel to Le Brassus and visit the AP museum, as we’ve been lucky enough to do, and hear just how much volume and warmth of tone you can get out of a wristwatch – below is our video, shot at AP Le Brassus in 2014 and we’d encourage you to give it a look, before going any further, as it really demonstrates just how amazing AP’s minute repeater production has been over the years. A lot of this knowledge was nearly lost during the 1970s and 1980s but fortunately Audemars Piguet has a significant number of pieces in its museum that offer clues to how to optimize the sound of a repeater. The investigation into the physical properties of its earlier phenomenal repeating watches was the spur behind the eight-year research program that finally culminated, last year, in the showing of a complex repeater with tourbillon and chronograph, in a Royal Oak Concept case, known as the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept RD#1. This watch was shown last year but under certain restrictions, and especially notable was the dearth of really solid technical info.

As it turns out that was thanks to the fact that the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Repeater Supersonnerie represented three patents pending, and since then the patents have been granted, which means Audemars Piguet can discuss the innovations in this watch in depth. The Supersonnerie, by the way, looks pretty much identical to the Concept RD#1 seen last year except for the coloration of the chronograph seconds hand, chronograph minutes hand, and the outer chronograph minutes track (all three orange last year, and yellow in the production piece we’re showing you now). So here we go. The first patent has to do with the gongs. AP puts a great deal of stock in maintaining and improving classical watchmaking, so these gongs are a classical material: hardened steel. They’re also tuned in a classical fashion: by filing the point where the two wire gongs are attached to the foot, or block, that holds them; and by carefully filing down the tips of each gong to adjust the tone. The patent here is really for the manufacturing process. Whether or not a repeater is pleasing to the ear has a lot to do with the musical interval between the two gongs – the process, which we hope to hear more about later this week, has to do with being able to make the gongs so that they come to the watchmaker already very close to optimum in terms of good tone and pleasant interval.

That said, as AP’s Claudio Cavaliere was kind enough to explain to us, you can’t take the watchmaker out of the equation entirely. Making a mathematically and sonically exact gong would be possible, but the result would sound, to the human ear – and as the sound is interpreted in the auditory cortex of the brain – somewhat artificial. Since a “pleasant” tone is a subjective experience, the gongs still need to be tuned by hand. The second patent has to do with the case construction. In a traditional repeater the main problem is that the foot of the gongs – the block to which they are attached – is screwed onto the mainplate. The movement mainplate is optimized not for the best acoustic properties, but for the best mechanical properties. Rigidity is less a problem than sheer mass; the bulk of the movement absorbs a great deal of sound energy rather than transmitting it to the parts of the watch that actually can in turn, vibrate, therefore amplifying the sound. AP has gotten around this dilemma and allowed both volume and tone to be optimized by fixing the gongs, not to the mainplate, but to a copper alloy resonance membrane sandwiched between the plate and the case back. If you look at the rear view of the movement above, you’ll see the hammers, but no gongs – that’s because the gongs are attached to the resonating membrane.

The case back itself has apertures that allow sound to be transmitted to the ear with minimum obstruction. This combination of materials and case architecture is key – you can make a repeater louder, but doing so without producing an unnaturally bright, artificial tone is not so easy and this is where the Supersonnerie really shines. The fact that the copper “sound board” can be made hermetically sealed to the inner case, allows the watch to have much better water resistance than is typical for a repeater: 20 meters. The third patent is for the regulator, or governor. The governor is what’s responsible for controlling the tempo of the chime, and in the Vallee de Joux (and elsewhere for that matter) the oldest and most tried and true method is using an anchor escapement at the end of a gear train linked to the repeater spring barrel. In modern times, centrifugal or air resistance governors have been developed as well. The advantage they have is that they are almost totally silent; the tradition anchor governor/regulator makes a distinct buzzing noise. For many connoisseurs this is considered the hallmark of traditional construction, but AP has developed a design for a traditional anchor governor that significantly minimizes the extraneous sound. This has been done by creating a special shape for the (steel) anchor that allows it to act almost like a shock absorber, so that the energy of impact is deadened; AP tells us that despite the use of a traditional anchor and steel for the material, the result of the new design is an anchor governor that is almost totally silent. Now that the veil of secrecy has been lifted a bit, you can probably see that there is a LOT more to tell about this watch but those are the basics. We’re very, very excited to get more deeply into this extremely interesting new vision of the minute repeater in coming weeks.

audemars piguet royal oak offshore 43mm ceramic

You may have noticed a lot of Offshores recently, and wouldn’t you know it, it’s the 30th Anniversary of this oversized beast of a lineup. As a fitting salute to the original, Audemars Piguet’s has announced the first ever audemars piguet royal oak offshore 43mm ceramic in black ceramic with matching ceramic bracelet, the new Selfwinding Chronograph ref. 26238C – now badder and bolder than ever.
This burly (42mm wide, 15.4mm thick) watch pulls from the greatest hits of AP’s Offshores from the last 30 years but in never-before-seen combinations. In addition to the new inclusion of a black ceramic bracelet, you’ll notice a Petite Tapisserie dial pattern previously reserved for the ref. 26238 Selfwinding Chronograph models in gold or titanium.

This is also the first completely monochrome dial, which audemars piguet royal oak offshore 43mm ceramic has said was difficult to achieve because of the different textures and materials used. The dial is then punched up in legibility with white hands and accents for contrast, with white Arabic numerals for the subdials and tachymeter on the rehaut.
While AP has used ceramic many times before, it’s still not easy to execute, especially when it comes to getting the mix of polished and satin-finished surfaces to come together.

Inside the watch is the Calibre 4404, a column-wheel flyback chronograph, activated by ceramic pushers. The layout of the subdials remains the same as historical watches, with a subtle update made in 2021 that puts the hours at the top so the chronograph can be read in order of hours, minutes, and seconds from top to bottom. The movement has the expected Cotês de Genève, circular graining, polished bevels, and other finishing we’ve come to expect from audemars piguet royal oak offshore 43mm ceramic , with a 22-karat pink gold oscillating weight.
Ever feel like apocalypse is nigh? Hey, lately we all do. And, let’s be honest, there’s no better watch for that occasion than a murdered-out, tough-as-nails, futuristically designed ceramic Offshore. It’s the unofficial watch of fighting off the impending robot takeover. It’s remarkable that for all the materials that AP has used for its Offshores, from titanium to forged carbon, this is the first time they’ve made an Offshore in ceramic with a matching ceramic bracelet. There’s probably not a single brand better associated with the material than AP. Examples include myriad of perpetual calender Royal Oaks to their ladies’ models and everything in between (and wild experiments off to the side, like my favorite Royal Oak Offshore Grande Complication and the awesome Carolina Bucci). While no one owns the material, AP comes darn close. To my eye it drifts closer to traditional Royal Oak stylings. But look closely and you’ll find nice monochromatic touches which signal that signal still is an Offshore – without screaming it like some comic-y pieces in the past.
You get the iconic six/nine/12 subdial layout that goes with the column-wheel flyback chronograph powered by the Calibre 4404. The iconic little bubble window at three o’clock still tells you the date, great for keeping track of how many days it’s been since the robots took over. Of course, the Offshore crown guards are there too.

My biggest concern is that by taking the styling cues and bracelet from the main line of Royal Oaks, the choice to eschew the bright pops of colors and oversized numbers that the Offshore is often known for may start to blur lines a bit too much. But as you go back to punching demons or wrestling Matrix-style cyborgs or whatever it is you’re meant to do with an audemars piguet royal oak offshore 43mm ceramic , I doubt you’ll be worrying too much about whether your watch bracelet is a bit derivative. You’ll just look cool.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 1017 ALYX 9SM Replica Watch

Audemars Piguet is a watchmaker that needs little introduction, and just yesterday, AP introduced four new Royal Oak and Royal Oak Offshore references in collaboration with designer Matthew Williams of Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 1017 ALYX 9SM Replica Watch . Alongside them is a unique Royal Oak to be auctioned for charity. These new Royal Oak and RO Offshore models offer a unique aesthetic in both yellow and white gold. And while I’ll never be able to own one, I find them pretty exciting.

Introducing so many new references in the Royal Oak line is headline enough, but in addition, Audemars Piguet is collaborating with the fashion brand Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 1017 ALYX 9SM Replica Watch with input from Matthew Williams, the fashion brand’s designer and founder. For those who want to know, the name “Alyx” is that of Matthew Williams’ daughter. The number “1017” is a reference to his birthday, October 17th, and “9SM” is an abbreviation of the brand’s founding studio address in Saint Mark’s Place, New York City. Now that we have got a translation of the name, let’s take a look at the watches.
As a Swiss Haute Horlogerie manufacturer, AP says it wanted to create a sober series of timepieces to bring focus to the wearers, not what they’re wearing. In doing so, AP says the watches merge the watchmaker’s aesthetic codes with Williams’ “refined touch” to appeal to “fashion lovers and allow them to express their individuality,” whatever that means. These four new references come in 18K gold (yellow or white) and include two regular Royal Oak models and two Offshores. I can see the yellow hold versions certainly attracting some attention, but vertical satin finishing on these watch dials does indeed adhere to that more serious, almost Teutonic aesthetic. Even so, these are watches that others will notice. They range from 37mm to 42mm in case size, providing options for most tastes and wrists. This means that both the Royal Oak and Royal Oak Offshore versions will feature the same design, a first for the Haute Horlogerie watchmaker. They also house AP’s latest generations of movements and beautiful hand finishing with alternating satin and polished surfaces. These add a little light play to what are, supposedly, somber watches. While the major news will be the release of these four new limited-edition models by AP, Williams and the brand also created a unique Royal Oak Chronograph to be auctioned for charity. The funds raised will go to NGOs Kids in Motion and Right to Play, who conduct projects aimed at supporting play-based learning initiatives for disadvantaged children. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 1017 ALYX 9SM Replica Watch itself is a 41mm two-tone model in 18K yellow gold and stainless steel. Its dial is a black PVD-coated gold number decorated with the same vertical finishing seen in the limited edition series. On and above it sit the signatures of both brands and yellow gold chronograph hands. The three central hands in yellow gold have lume, while the watch is powered by the previously mentioned caliber 4409. Audemars Piguet said the auction of this unique piece was to take place during the launch party of the collaboration between Audemars Piguet and Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 1017 ALYX 9SM Replica Watch on August 24th in Tokyo.
These watches will allow their lucky wearers to admire a superb series of movement decorations, including Côtes de Genève, sunray and satin finishing, circular graining, as well as polished bevels. I particularly like the 37mm Royal Oak in this series of bold releases, and the idea to remove the chronograph counters on the 41mm version looks cool. What are the only things I don’t like about this release? I’ll never own the 37mm one, and all of the others look too large for my wrist.

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