Never change a winning team. In Le Brassus, Audemars Piguet came up with something even better — updating its winning team. When the Nautilus forfeited, it left the court wide open for the Royal Oak to sweep in and grab the gold. And that’s exactly what it does by pitching more updated versions in the 2022 Audemars Piguet Royal Oak watch family. There’s the revamped “Jumbo” of course, but the star player is supported by a wide range of capable teammates that all have their own special skills.

The ground-breaking Royal Oak is celebrating its 50th anniversary. And that’s why Audemars Piguet launched an updated version of the Gérald Genta-designed watch that was first released in 1972. But in the wake of the legend, AP also presents a slew of other Royal Oak models that prove the design is as fresh and relevant as ever.

2022 Audemars Piguet Royal Oak

The 2022 Audemars Piguet Royal Oak family — What’s in the line-up?

Since 2022 is a very special year for the Royal Oak, all new models produced this year will have a special rotor. It’s an open-worked oscillating mass showing “50 years” to commemorate the birth of the Royal Oak five decades ago. It will also always remind the wearer that this watch comes from a special year in horological history. It’s a bit gimmicky perhaps, but also a very clever idea if you ask me.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 37 — The crown prince closes in on the throne

Yes, the new Royal Oak open-worked tourbillon is stunning and impressive, but the biggest surprise of the new collection — apart from the updated “Jumbo” of course — is the 37mm version. The midsize shows large potential, especially the version outfitted with the Bleu Nuit dial. That’s the original dial color of the Royal Oak developed by famous dial-maker Stern Frères. The color in combination with the prominently textured Grande Tapisserie pattern on the dial bestows a great presence on what looks to me like the crown prince in the 2022 Royal Oak collection.

2022 Audemars Piguet Royal Oak

And if you don’t like blue, there are many other options available, from forest green to light gray and with either Petite Tapisserie or Grande Tapisserie dial patterns. A nice little change is that the minute track sits on the Tapisserie itself and is no longer on a flange around the dial. The Royal Oak 37 comes in steel, pink gold, and a two-tone combination of pink gold and steel. There are also versions with diamonds to meet all possible demands.

More presence, more comfort

What’s also new about the 37mm reference 15550 are the larger beveled surfaces on the top and the bottom of the watch. The result is a more visible distinction between polished and brushed surfaces, and that leads to a watch with more presence.

The bracelet also received a couple of tweaks. The shape of the first four links is now trapezoidal instead of parallel, resulting in a more elegant appearance. It also helps that the bracelet is actually thinner and lighter than the previous version. AP already made this bracelet in rose gold, but now the new steel models will also have this sleeker and slimmer bracelet. What also helps in the overall wrist feel of the 37mm Royal Oak is that the case back is now more integrated into the case. It results in a case height of 8.9mm.

The heart of the new Royal Oak 15550 family

Inside the case and visible through the sapphire case back beats the 29-jewel caliber 5900. It’s an automatic movement made by Vaucher, not by AP itself, and it replaces the caliber 5800.

Prices range from $24,100 USD for the steel references 15550ST.OO.1356ST.01 / 02 / 03/ 04, to $29,600 USD for the two-tone 15550SR.OO.1356SR.01., and all the way up to $60,300 USD for the gold-and-diamond references 15551OR.ZZ.1356OR.01 / 02/ 03. All watches are available now. They are not limited, but only the ones made this year will get the special “50 years” rotor.

Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronograph 38 and 41

The more sporty 38mm and 41mm Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronographs have undergone subtle changes that bring out the refined side of this luxurious sports watch. Both new chronographs have the minute track flush with the Tapisserie. It creates a bit more room for the textured and colorful dials to shine.

Under the dial of the Royal Oak 38 beats the trusted caliber 2385, a movement based on the Frédéric Piguet 1185. The 41mm chronographs are technically more interesting since they’re outfitted with the in-house Calibre 4401. It’s the latest-generation automatic flyback chronograph movement that AP (finally) introduced last year.

What’s your favorite number?

Audemars Piguet storms in with five new 38mm chronograph models and twelve 41mm versions. The reference numbers have changed, as you would expect. The new 38 × 11mm models use the base reference number 26715. And the 41 × 12.4mm models now have a number that starts with 26240. I’m giving you these numbers so you won’t get lost online once you’re in the market for either the 37mm “Crown Prince” or one of these chronographs.

2022 Audemars Piguet Royal Oak

Dialed in just right

Again, both new chronograph models show little updates, or refinements, if you will. They are updates that enhance the luxurious character of the Royal Oak. It’s like all of these 2022 RO watches constantly learn, develop, and evolve along the way, without changing the archetypal foundation they’re built on. Sometimes in the past, some dial colors from AP made me raise my eyebrows. But the variety of new dial colors you can choose from in the 2022 Royal Oak lineup is different. The new colors are impressive in a nuanced (color)way. The green stands out because of its natural appearance, and the re-introduced “Bleu Nuit” dial because of its historic significance. It also has a timeless beauty that is simply untouchable.

2022 Audemars Piguet Royal Oak

Frosty and contrasting

As the old saying goes, if you have to ask the price of the gold Royal Oak chronographs, you quite possibly can’t afford them. So let me give you the entry-level prices of both the steel 38 and 41 instead. The starting price for a 2022 Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronograph 38 in steel is $32,600 USD. And the “cheapest” Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronograph 41 has a price of $33,800 USD. If you need an extra incentive, only this year, the watches come with the special 50th-anniversary rotor.

For more information on all the versions in the 2022 Audemars Piguet Royal Oak watch family, please visit the brand’s official website.

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