As we start looking forward to 2018’s SIHH novelties, we thought it high time to have a closer look at some of the year’s favorites, which include the richly over-the-top 15202, rendered for the very first time as a contemporary, non-limited reference completely in 18-carat yellow gold. It is not merely the all-gold situation that lends the 15202 significance though — there are a couple additional (albeit much more subtle) visual cues that set this specific reference apart, and may make it more desirable for collectors in the long run. Perhaps most obvious, is that the simple time plus date-only dial configuration, done from the ‘AP’ emblem at 6:00, which pays direct homage to the initial steel 5402 published in 1972. This aesthetic also tips its hat towards the yellowish gold 5402BA Jumbo introduced five decades later — the first time Audemars Piguet rendered the Jumbo inside this valuable metal.However, more noteworthy is the depth — the brand new 15202 steps a hair over 8mm, 0.2mm thicker than the first 5402, and the closest we have seen to those pioneering ultra-thin dimensions because the 40th Anniversary editions from 2012 — hence the ‘Extra Thin’ naming convention. This new-but-really-old profile, coupled with the eminently wearable 39mm case size truly feels like the sweet place for your Royal Oak, also has much to do with why this iconic layout managed to become such a future-proof classic in the first place.The Jumbo Royal Oak in its most classic configuration is a wristwatch that historically, with dimensions, should wear tremendously thin. However, this new reference is one which still manages to leap off the wrist, thanks to its solid yellow gold case, and light-gobbling “Petite Tapisserie” tonal champagne colored waffle dial. People who are searching for a marginally more toned-down aesthetic nevertheless rendered within this metal will love the second of those 15202’s two new dial variations: a gorgeous blue, which, given the spate of blue-on-bronze sports watches we’ve seen this season, is as much on-trend, as it is a bit less ostentatious.
Using the parlance of at least one Audemars Piguet brand ambassador, if you want to be a real baller, then go ahead and find yourself a Royal Oak Tourbillon… in platinum. Audemars Piguet is already shy enough about distributing too many Royal Oak watches on bracelets in full gold, but Royal Oak watches with matching bracelets in platinum – well, that is another story altogether. I don’t even find myself particularly that attracted to the notion of platinum watches, but I salivate a bit when it comes to an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Tourbillon… in platinum. Two new versions in the larger 41mm wide Royal Oak case arrive at SIHH 2016 – either with or without a diamond-set bezel. They aren’t even the only Royal Oak Tourbillon-based watches in platinum to see a debut at the show. There is also the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Tourbillon Chronograph Openworked.
If you are familiar with the history of the Royal Oak, then you probably know that, in addition to being designed for Audemars Piguet by famed watch designer Gerald Genta, the Royal Oak was intended by the brand to be a luxury steel sports watch for (initially) the Italian market. In 1972 when the Royal Oak came out, it was just when quartz watches were coming in, and the notion of a luxury sports lifestyle watch for affluent playboys was becoming popular. The concept was to take emphasis away from the movement and instead focus on an interesting case and bracelet design. The Swiss watch industry wasn’t winning a lot of hearts and minds with traditional mechanical movements given the increasing popularity of quartz, so this new tactic allowed them an ability to separate themselves in a unique way by offering something visually rather distinct on the wrist.
I mention all of this because I always find it interesting when the Royal Oak gets rendered (case and bracelet) in a precious metal and not steel. A Royal Oak in gold makes sense because the color of the metal is so different that steel, but in metals like 18k white gold or platinum, the type of customer Audemars Piguet is likely reaching is easily very different that the man who wears a steel, 18k rose gold, or yellow gold Royal Oak.
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph 25th Anniversary and Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph are 3 new, pre-SIHH 2018 references that we will see in shops next year, when AP is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its Royal Oak Offshore line.When Audemars Piguet unveiled the very first Royal Oak Offshore some 25 years ago, I do not think they anticipated it to be the success it is today, though it mostly built on the first Royal Oak recipe: proceed very large, very daring, and pricey. Now, all this was to be taken to another level with all the Royal Oak Offshore.It was large and so forth, and purists who watched it in Basel back in 1993 cried that the Royal Oak was desecrated — probably the same people who jumped out to about the original Royal Oak desecrating luxury watches generally. Truth be told, the Offshore was a bold move by Audemars Piguet, but now most of us know how well it has repaid. Now, the Royal Oak and Royal Oak Offshore are Audemars Piguet’s best-selling collections — essentially synonymous with the manufacturer itself, which obviously is not a fantastic thing, but we’ll leave that discussion for a different time.
Moreover, the subtle and extremely non-pretentious “smoked gray” color of the “Mega Tapisserie” makes these platinum Royal Oak Tourbillon watches feel even more down to earth. Ignoring the diamonds on the gem-set model for a moment, and aside from the exposed tourbillons on the dial, these platinum Royal Oak watches almost look “reserved.” With that said, I think this gentle irony is something that a lot of collectors will appreciate. I have a sort of name for very expensive watches that don’t actually look that expensive, and that is an “F- you watch.” Why “F- you?” Because the timepieces goes against the traditional notion of conspicuous luxury, saying “most people don’t know I spent this much money on the watch, and even though it looks like something a bit less expensive, certain people around the world who are watch nerds like me will know what it is.” It is really saying “F- you” to the notion of at least being able to enjoy flaunting money a bit if you spend so much on an item like a wrist watch.
The answer to this question is easy: everyone. What I mean with this is that there are two very distinct groups of high-end Audemars Piguet Watchfinder Replica buyers: the collector along with the basic “watch lover.” The collector would be the guy who spent the previous 15 years residing on TimeZone along with also the PuristS, the type of man who hears the title Walt Odets and understands exactly who I’m talking about. The collector is the type of man who knows the difference between hand handmade and polished. He has gotten well beyond the point of arguing about brands and knows enough to talk about individual projects. He reveres Patek Philippe for exactly what it intended to watches over the last 100 years, understands the importance and appeal of vintage Rolex, but purchases precisely what speaks to him. An eye lover, on the other hand, is someone who might be a little newer to high-end watches, and remains very brand conscious. He could be readily swayed by ambassadors, retailers, and promotion. Both buy watches from Audemars Piguet, but probably different versions, and certainly for distinct reasons.Let’s start with the collector. The collector purchases Audemars Piguet due to its own history in great complicated pocketwatches. The collector purchases AP since when Patek Philippe wanted some assistance on the complex repeater of this Henry Graves Jr.. Supercomplication, it turned to AP. The collector buys AP due to watches like this, this, and this.
One of the things I find interesting, or at least curious, is that the 950 platinum version of the 41mm wide Royal Oak Tourbillon is water resistant to 50 meters while 18k gold model of the same watch is only water resistant to 20 meters. Maybe someone can tell me why that is? In any event, I am actually more curious as to exactly how much the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Tourbillon Extra-Thin watch weighs. The Royal Oak has never had the thickest case or bracelet (by design), but there is nevertheless a fair amount of platinum metal in this timepiece.
If the standard reference 26510PT.OO.1220PT.01 Royal Oak Tourbillon at 41mm in platinum isn’t enough for you, then there is also the reference 26516PT.ZZ.1220PT.01 with the diamond-set bezel. Audemars Piguet didn’t want to ruin some of the characteristic traits of the iconic Royal Oak bezel, so the screws are retained and the 32 baguette-cut diamonds are placed between them. With roughly 3.04 carats of stones total, you get the increased luxury look of diamonds without interfering with the masculinity (or distinction) of the core Royal Oak design.
As 2018 will mark the 25th anniversary of the Royal Oak Offshore, Audemars Piguet will commemorate the occasion with three special Royal Oak Offshore offerings — with a couple more in the pipeline, waiting to be launched at SIHH 2018. 26237ST remains very much faithful to the original. It features a 42mm stainless steel case and bracelet plus a blue “Petite Tapisserie” dial. Like the original, the re-edition also has blue rubber pushers for the chronograph and a screw-down crown. The principal differences which we can see between this 2018 version and the first are very subtle, namely in the seconds monitor and ‘Swiss Made’ print on the periphery of the dial.Inside that the re-edition Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph beats the Caliber 3126/3840 exactly the same movement used in other contemporary Royal Oak Offshore chronograph watches. Besides this time, of course, this motion features chronograph and date complications, a 22k gold rotor, beats at 3Hz, also has a power reserve of 50 hours.
While Audemars Piguet has obtained quite a lot of flak in the past for what some collectors perceive as pushing the Royal Oak fame a bit too much, I believe the option available within the scope is a superb thing. Not everybody can manage a tourbillon chronograph, and not everybody wants only a time-only watch. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Tourbillon Chronograph Openworked Material Great watch includes a bracelet of the same substance as the case and an extra alligator leather strap. It’s accessible at Audemars Piguet stores as well as the Material Good shop in NY for $297,000 for its pink gold variation and $261,000 for the titanium model. Audemars Piguet has been creating some of the most technically intriguing watches in their Royal Oak Concept collection for the last few years. This past year, they showed off the Royal Oak Concept Laptimer, an exceptionally complex chronograph with three pillar wheels which could measure sequential lap times. And earlier this season, they introduced the equally complicated Royal Oak Concept Supersonnerie Tourbillon Chronograph watch, a second repeater exemplifying Audemars Piguet’s obsession with all sound clarity and quality.Of program, it would be cruel to show you pictures and tell you about this watch’s amazing noise with no video to let you hear that, and thus do play the video above to hear it for yourself. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Supersonnerie Tourbillon Chronograph watch is a bit that required Audemars Piguet eight long years to develop, and the goal was to make the supreme striking watch. The second repeater complication is frequently regarded as one of the most difficult and… well, complex to create – so imagine how difficult it is to create one from scratch. The next thing to keep in mind is that Audemars Piguet did not only wish to create a new minute repeater see, they desired to make one that would be the very best.
Inside the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Tourbillon Extra-Thin is the in-house made Audemars Piguet calibre 2924 manually-wound movement. While the movement does require hand-winding, it does have a power reserve indicator placed on the rear of the movement, and it offers 70 hours of power reserve operating at 3Hz (21,600 bph). Produced from 216 parts, the calibre 2924 is just 4.46mm thick.
Iconic, stately, undeniably super high-end, and also actually somewhat edgy, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Tourbillon Extra-Thin 41mm watches in platinum will not be adored by all for their unapologetic lavishness, but if you are in the bracket of people who can afford them and have the personality to pull them off, this is among the few more conservative watches at this price point that can actually get you a “cool” compliment. Price is $178,600 without diamonds and $213,800 with diamonds. audemarspiguet.com