Audemars Piguet’s latest and greatest. Essentially the same Royal Oak, but in a rainbow plethora of colors. From black to lime green, some may question if their design ideas were a result of offshoring. That said, there is one piece that turned heads at SIHH. The Frosted Gold collection for ladies.
Back to Black – The Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar
In 1955, Audemars Piguet introduced a world first – a perpetual calendar wristwatch with the essential leap year indication, made in only 9 examples, all in 18 carat yellow gold. Since then Audemars Piguet has launched many more perpetual calendar wristwatches, among which the latest 2016 Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar, combining yellow gold, the iconic Gérald Genta design and the ultra-classic complication in all of watchmaking.
Audemars Piguet enriches its line of Royal Oak Perpetual Calendars with a full black version, made of hand-finished black ceramic. Day, date, month, astronomical moon, week of the year displayed on the dial’s outer chapter ring and the essential leap year indication hold pride of place on the “Grande Tapisserie” decorated dial. Housed in an assertively sized 41 mm case, the selfwinding watch’s larger calibre 5134 is fully visible through the glareproofed sapphire crystal caseback.
Challenging to master but virtually unscratchable, black ceramic withstands high temperatures and thermal shocks, and is consequently extremely resistant to ageing. Numerous operations demanding extreme patience and skill are required to achieve a uniform, compact and ultra-hard material that can then be machined and hand-finished. Audemars Piguet’s specialists required more than 600 hours of research to develop this new wristwatch: whereas it takes six hours to machine, polish, hand-finish, assemble and control a stainless steel Royal Oak bracelet, it takes thirty hours to accomplish these exact same procedures for the black ceramic bracelet.
Burst of colors – The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver
Following the success of the 2016 launch of the Royal Oak Offshore Diver Chronograph in a range of fizzing bright and vibrant dial colours, Audemars Piguet now introduces the non-chronograph model in similarly exciting hues. Proposed in white, dark blue, acid yellow, lime green and bright orange, the new Royal Oak Offshore Diver models are fitted with rubber straps in matching colours and an additional blue rubber strap for each version. Some may love these unnatural dash of colors, but others sadly, especially owners of the earlier forged carbon and ceramic models, may be grimacing in pain.
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Frosted Gold
A shining reinvention of an iconic design, this contemporary timepiece available in both white gold and pink gold has been created in collaboration with Florentine jewellery designer, Carolina Bucci. The defining feature of the Royal Oak Frosted Gold resides in its shimmering sparkle, which in turn comes from a surface treatment process rooted in an ancient gold hammering technique, also called the Florentine technique.
The Florentine finish has been used in Carolina Bucci’s workshops for decades, predominantly on smaller pieces. By beating the gold with a diamond tipped tool, it creates tiny indentations on the surface that give a sparkle effect similar to that of precious stones, like diamond dust.
The effects of the finish on the end product is simply quite beautiful. As compared to simply throwing out color variations on straps and dial, the ‘novel’ bracelet frosting is for sure a hit among AP’s female clientele.
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Tourbillon Extra-thin Openworked
Introduced in 2012, the original Royal Oak Tourbillon Extra-Thin marked the Royal Oak’s 40th anniversary and was originally available only in platinum, followed by the launch of a yellow gold version in 2016.
Demand from connoisseurs around the world has led to the creation of two new limited edition versions in 2017 – one in brushed 18-carat pink gold with matching bracelet, the other in stainless steel. Just like their platinum and yellow gold predecessors, each model features the Audemars Piguet in-house caliber 2924 hand-wound skeleton movement, comprising 216 components.
The pink gold model (available in 50 examples) features a pink gold mainplate and bridges, while the movement of the steel version (available in 100 examples) is rhodium plated in cool, understated tones. These will be the very last Royal Oak Extra-Thin Openworked watches featuring this exact skeleton design to be produced.
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph
This year’s new range of chronographs harks back to a much-loved look first seen in 2008. All seven models in the new series feature a fresh, two-tone dial design with several new yet subtle details: chronograph counters of increased size that expand at 9 o-clock and 3 o’clock, shorter but wider hour-markers, additional luminescent coating for a better readability of the hour and new typeset and transfers.
The new dial configuration with non uniform subdial sizes are surprisingly attractive. The contrasting subdial colors, which allude to the popular panda theme with a contrasting seconds marker periphery is a fine detail for an upgrade. The steel versions of the watch are offered with a choice of “Grande Tapisserie” dials in black, silver or blue and are fitted with stainless steel bracelets.
The chronograph is also available in four versions in pink gold with either a bracelet or an alligator strap and with a choice of brown or blue ‘Grande Tapisserie’ dials.