Founded by Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet in 1875, Audemars Piguet introduced the Royal Oak timepiece in 1972 and it helped the timepiece maker rise above the quartz crisis of the 1970s. Designed by ace artist Gérald Genta, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak is considered to be the world’s first luxury sports watch. Inspiration for this collection came from diving helmets. Therefore, it featured exposed screw heads as well as a unique case design.
Let us now look at what the 2023 Royal Oak collection has in store for us.
Royal Oak Concept Split-Seconds Chronograph GMT Large Date/43mm
This 43 mm (Ref.26650TI.OO.D013CA.01) watch has been created from titanium. It has the signature screw-down crown at 3 o’clock with two pushers at 2 o’clock and 4 o’clock to start and restart the chronograph function. There is also a black ceramic pusher at 9 o’clock for the split seconds. The openworked dial showcases most of the movement. Crafted from german silver, the dial gets sandblasted black PVD with rhodium bevels.
The white gold hands, hour-markers, date display and the GMT day/night disc are all finished with a luminous coating while small pops of bright red and yellow are used for the markings of the chronograph and those of the GMT function respectively.
Powering the watch is Calibre 4407, featuring a new oscillator, while the split-seconds mechanism has been integrated into the centre of the bearing mounting for the solid platinum oscillating weight. The power reserve is approximately 70 hours.
Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph/43mm
To mark the 30th anniversary of the Royal Oak Offshore, Audemars Piguet is set to unveil a 43 mm Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph (Ref. 26622CE.OO.D062CA.01) in black ceramic. The watch features new striking green accents and will be available in a limited edition of 100 pieces. For the first time in the 43 mm Royal Oak Offshore collection, these watches will feature ceramic casebacks with sapphire display windows that allow a full-blown view of the Calibre 2967 and the blackened 22-carat pink gold rotors, a perfect match with the case hue.
Atop the movement sits the PVD-coated titanium dial with anodised green accents and green anodised inner bezel. The two chronograph dials are open to allow a view of the movement beneath while the tourbillon sits at six. This 526-part flyback chronograph movement is regulated by a flying tourbillon, whose single underlying bridge holds the rotating cage at 6 o’clock. The new Offshore is driven by the Calibre 2967 movement that was first launched in 2021 with a 65-hour power reserve.
Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph in Black Ceramic and Yellow Gold Black Ceramic
To mark the 30th anniversary of the Royal Oak Offshore, Audemars Piguet has unveiled two Royal Oak Offshores. The first sports a 43 mm black ceramic case with gold accents (Ref. 26420CE.OO.A127CR.01) that feature on the dial, the bracelet and the case. The dial has a black Méga Tapisserie pattern, with an impressive array of textures, depths and lines. The applied AP monogram is in polished gold, and the hands and hour markers are of yellow gold and coated with black lacquer. Lastly, a black minute track stands out against a yellow gold background while the tachymeter scale is in white. Powering the watch is the self-winding Calibre 4401, with a column wheel and a flyback function. The case is flanked by a black alligator strap with golden stitching. The strap is interchangeable.
The second Royal Oak Offshore model sports a 42 mm first-ever black ceramic case (Ref. 26238CE.OO.1300CE.01) with a matching bracelet and a black Petite Tapisserie dial. This watch is powered by Calibre 4404, Audemars Piguet’s integrated chronograph movement with a flyback function. On the dial, there is a circular date at 3 o’clock, with the small seconds at 6 o’clock, chronograph minutes at 9 o’clock and chronograph hours at 12 o’clock — the layout highlights the famous vertical arrangement of the collection. Each comes with a 70-hour power reserve.
Royal Oak Selfwinding/37 mm
The standout piece in this design is the 37 mm 18 ct yellow gold watch (Ref. 15550BA.OO. 1356BA.01) with a natural turquoise dial — the turquoise has been sourced from Mexico. The dial has been cut to form a slender disc, after which the turquoise has been ground, sandblasted and polished before getting integrated into a gilded brass outer casing. Given the natural disposition of the material, each dial is unique, thanks to every stone’s unique composition, texture and colour, reacting differently to machining operations or finishes.
The date window appears at 3 o’clock in the same colour as the stone and the polished yellow gold applique ‘Audemars Piguet’ signature has been fixed to the dial with the help of tiny feet, specially designed to fit the thickness of the stone. The watch is powered by Calibre 5900, which first appeared in 2022 on certain 37 mm references. This movement has a 4Hz frequency and a 60-hour power reserve.
Royal Oak ‘Jumbo’ Extra-Thin/39 mm
Without a doubt, 15202 or the steel 39 mm Extra-Thin Royal Oak Jumbo is Audemars Piguet’s most loved model. Revealing a new version of it, Audemars Piguet has now introduced Ref. 16202, which is a 39 mm 18 ct white gold version with a blue, grained dial. This is boutique exclusive, which means that it will be available only at Audemars Piguet boutiques worldwide.
The grained dial design is inspired by the 20th anniversary of the Royal Oak collection, made in 1992, in which a platinum Ref. 14802 featured a grained dial. The design is meant to be an interpretation of the night sky over Le Brassus, where the brand is headquartered. The fine, bright grained texture is achieved via PVD and then covered with a translucent coating that accentuates the relief. The dial features white gold hour markers and hands with a luminescent coating. The date window is at 3 o’clock. The watch is powered by Calibre 7121 that was launched last year for the Royal Oak’s 50th anniversary. It has a power reserve of 55 hours.
Royal Oak Selfwinding Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin/41 mm
The latest version of the Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin (Ref.26586TI.OO.1240TI. 01) is presented in a 41 mm titanium case with a satin-brushed titanium bracelet. The main difference, compared with the 2019 model, is the sunburst, smoky-blue dial with three black snailed counters, created exclusively for this reference. The previous edition had a matte, vertically brushed dial with tone-on-tone sub-counters. Almost nothing else was touched (more on that in a bit), and frankly, it is hard to imagine any design improvements to this stunning watchmaking opus.
The month and leap year are at 3 o’clock, the date at 6 o’clock and the day of the week and day/night indicator at 9 o’clock. The moonphase at 12 o’clock remains the same as that in the previous model. Powering the new Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Automatic Ultra-Thin is the self-winding Manufacture Calibre 5133 introduced in 2018 with 40 hours of power reserve.
Gem-Set Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronograph/38 mm
Other versions of the gem-set Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronographs include the 38 mm 18 ct white gold (Ref.26715BC.ZZ.1356BC.02) and pink gold (Ref. 26715OR.ZZ.1356OR.02) versions with black onyx dials and baguette-cut diamonds, adorning the bezels and the hour markers. At 3 o’clock rests the 30-minute counter, at 6 is the small seconds and at 9, the 12-hour counter – the rings of the subdials match the material of the case. A date window rests at 4:30. The highlight of the timepieces involves the black, onyx dials, whose sheen complements the gems on the watches. The timepieces are also powered by Calibre 2385 with a 40-hour power reserve.
Royal Oak Selfwinding
Ref. 26240BC.GG.1324BC.02 comes with a frosted 18 ct white gold case. The ‘frosting’ is inspired by a Florentine hammering technique, wherein tiny notches are created on the surface of gold using a diamond-tipped tool. The watch features a smoked, light blue dial with a Grande Tapisserie motif, light blue counters, applied hour markers and white gold Royal Oak hands with luminescent coating. It is also powered by Calibre 4401 with 70 hours of power reserve.
In keeping with the smoky blue dials, Audemars Piguet has also introduced a 41 mm 18 ct white gold flying tourbillon watch (Ref. 26730BC.ZZ.1320BC.02). The watch features a smoky blue Grande Tapisserie motif, with the hour markers and the bezel set with baguette-cut diamonds. The white gold Royal Oak hands have a luminescent coating. The flying tourbillon is set at 6 o’clock and the watch is powered by Calibre 2950 with 65 hours of power reserve.