Tag: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Mini Quartz Frosted

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Mini Quartz Frosted

Today, Audemars Piguet launches the new 23mm “Mini Oak” collection. Self-referential in its re-interpretation of the 20mm Mini Royal Oak from 1997, but brand new in its 2024 packaging. It comes in three iterations: yellow, pink, and white, all with the Frosted Gold finish. Inspired by an ancient Florentine jewelry technique, the frosted gold finish was previously implemented by jewelry designer Carolina Bucci and adapted by Audemars Piguet in 2016 to adorn her collaboration with Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Mini Quartz Frosted.
The new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Mini Quartz Frosted models pack a lot of design into the small 23mm sizing. The diamond-dust effect of the frosted gold contrasts with the polished bevels that outline the octagonal bezel and the individual links of the tapering bracelet. There is a satin finish on the case and bracelet flanks, adding even more texture to this tiny piece. The solid caseback combines sandblasting, satin brushing, and polishing to echo the case design. The watches feature a tone-on-tone Petite Tapisserie dial with lume-coated gold hour markers that match the color of the case. The hands are also slightly thicker, reminiscent of AP’s Offshore diver watches, presumably for legibility and balance. The Audemars Piguet signature at 12 o’clock is printed in black on a cartouche, while the date indication and seconds function have been omitted, again likely to enhance both legibility and to keep the tiny dial as clean as possible.
The trio of Royal Oak Mini watches are powered by Calibre 2730, a quartz movement with a battery life of over seven years. In addition, the Calibre 2730 is equipped with a “switch”: by simply pulling on the crown, the wearer can temporarily deactivate the battery. The Mini is water resistant up to 50 meters.

In theory, “shrinking” down a Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Mini Quartz Frosted might not seem so revelatory, but the Mini is not shrunken down Jumbo, nor is it a rehashing of its 20-29mm 20th-century predecessors. The smaller specs are a direct response to current consumer demand, and the design has been updated to work in a modern context. AP has taken elements of one their most successful modern “women’s” releases (Carolina Bucci’s 37mm Royal Oak Frosted Gold Selfwinding LE) and implemented the same frosted gold finishing, which is achieved through tiny indentations made on the gold surface using a diamond-tipped tool, creating a sparkly effect similar to that of precious stones. Furthermore, there is nary a gemstone in sight. These are thoroughly modern in their execution.
Small watches are trending. This statement shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody in the watch enthusiast space. And, evidently, the brands are listening to what the consumers are asking for. Brynn Wallner, founder of Dimepiece, a platform dedicated to all things women and watches, contributed significantly to the small watch revolution. Wallner should be credited for making giant strides in the teeny tiny watch revival. Her approach was playful, and her TTRO (Teeny Tiny Royal Oak) acronym has stuck, but she was also extremely astute in realizing that there was a gap in the watch market for a size that younger, more fashion-forward types were eager to wear.

If we ask the question: who is this watch for? It becomes a pointless push and pull between an extremely antiquated gender binary mindset and today’s fluid fashion vernacular. Frankly, anybody should wear what they damn well please, and one certainly shouldn’t be chastised for promoting such a sentiment. Despite the comments section fatigue surrounding the “all watches should be unisex argument,” jewelry and adornment are deeply reflective of wider cultural mores. It is the 2024 reality, and the question of size and fluidity exists on a much larger scale in the fashion industry; we are simply seeing a trickle-down effect. And to be blunt, this is exactly what we asked for. And so, the conversation remains relevant.
Perhaps if you peel away the layer of gender, the real issue is the homogeneity in watch design. Too many brands look the same. Are we then surprised that pop stars and actors turn to smaller “ladies'” design-driven watches to stand out? And there’s an ease to throwing on a small watch. Spiritually, it’s much closer to jewelry. The point isn’t to focus on the inside of the case here but to embrace a more frivolous and decorative side to watch-wearing. Ultimately, this watch (and any watch, for that matter) is an accessory. Which is perfectly ok to admit. You can love and respect heritage and technical intricacies, and you can also appreciate small quartz-powered design watches. We aren’t picking sides.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Mini Quartz Frosted acolytes will no doubt embrace the introduction of a mini size. The Royal Oak is an enduring symbol of Genta design, but beyond that, it’s a widely recognized design among those who are completely outside of the watch enthusiast community. I have friends who are far removed from the watch space and send me pictures of potential purchases they are considering. I would say about 75% of those pictures include a small-sized vintage Royal Oak. The mini is not just a fun release, it’s also a smart business decision. I say keep the small watch fire burning.