Audemars Piguet Introduces Three New Complicated Royal Oak Models
After yesterday’s reveals of the regular Audemars Piguet models, today, the brand from Le Brassus graces us with seven new highly complicated timepieces. The different pieces are part of the four collections the brand currently carries. It starts with a spectacular Royal Oak Selfwinding Perpetual Calendar Ultra-thin, moves on to the Royal Oak Concept Split-Seconds Chronograph GMT, and through the Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph, we end up at the four Code 11.59 models featuring high complications. In this article, we will focus on the Royal Oak models specifically. We’ll highlight the spectacular new Code 11.59 timepieces in a separate article.
In the last year of leadership for current Audemars Piguet CEO François-Henry Bennahmias, we are showered with a string of new complicated releases. Understanding all the different models is just as much a matter of feasting your eyes on them as it is reading all the technical information about these spectacular timepieces. The three new timepieces in this article are additions to the three different Royal Oak Collections. And all three are proof of Audemars Piguet’s impressive in-house skills to make life a little more pleasantly complicated.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding Perpetual Calendar Ultra-thin ref. 26586TI.OO.1240TI. 01
Let’s start with the Royal Oak Selfwinding Perpetual Calendar Ultra-thin. It’s the standout release for me as it combines the classic Royal Oak aesthetic with highly impressive watchmaking. The new watch is the successor to the RD#2 model released in 2018 that has become a favorite among Royal Oak fans. The watch was first released as a prototype in 950 platinum in 2018, before seeing a commercial release in 2019 (ref. 26586IP.OO.1240IP.01). Upon release, it became the world’s thinnest self-winding perpetual calendar watch. However, some things changed between the 2018 prototype and the 2019 production model.
First, the materials changed. The new case was made of titanium and featured a platinum bezel. The brand also used titanium for the bracelet with the smaller intermediate links executed in polished platinum. Audemars Piguet also said goodbye to its iconic Grande Tapisserie dial in favor of a simpler blue dial. Despite the changes, it still had the same dimensions as the record-breaking thinnest automatic perpetual calendar watch from 2018. At 6.2mm thick, the watch was thinner than any of the other Royal Oak models available and, on top of that, a lot more complicated than the other slim models like the Royal Oak “Jumbo.”
The new Royal Oak Selfwinding Perpetual Calendar Ultra-thin looks better
The new Royal Oak Selfwinding Perpetual Calendar Ultra-thin that is introduced today is a limited edition of 200 pieces. It features a 41mm satin-brushed titanium case that is only 6.2mm thick. The watch comes on a satin-brushed titanium bracelet with a titanium folding clasp. Additionally, it features sapphire crystals in both the front and the back. The smoky dark blue dial with its sunburst pattern looks spectacular in combination with the black counters indicating the different functions of the perpetual calendar. There are nice hints of color in the moonphase indicator at 12 o’clock, and the 31 on the date sub-dial brings a hint of red.
Overall, the dial feels much more lively compared to its predecessor, and I love that. Many people think black and blue are a bad match, but I beg to differ. If you use the right shade of blue, it makes for a great color combination. And that’s exactly what Audemars Piguet has done. Whereas the previous model felt a bit flat, this new dial has a more vibrant appearance. The sunburst pattern combined with the black and blue colors is a winner. Kudos to Audemars Piguet for making this impressive piece look even better.
The record-breaking Calibre 5133
The perpetual calendar features indications for the day, date, month, astronomical moon, leap year, and day/night. Additionally, the two central hands indicate the time in hours and minutes. On the sides of the ultra-slim case, you will find the different correctors for the different functions. It’s a nice detail as they fit in perfectly with the overall industrial looks of the watch.
The sapphire crystal on the case back offers a view of the spectacular self-winding Calibre 5133 that makes it all possible. It comes in at just 2.9mm slim, which is very impressive, especially with a regular full-size rotor rather than a micro- or peripheral rotor. The automatic movement consists of 256 parts, operates at 19,800vph, has 37 jewels, and delivers a guaranteed 40 hours of power reserve. The movement was introduced in 2018 and hasn’t lost an inch of its impact five years later. It still is the foundation of this spectacular timepiece that the brand has managed to improve with this new full-titanium version. The brand will produce 200 pieces of the new Royal Oak Selfwinding Perpetual Calendar Ultra-thin ref. 26586TI. Price on request.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Split-Seconds Chronograph GMT ref. 26650TI.OO.D013CA.01
The second new release is the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Split-Seconds Chronograph GMT. I have always loved the Royal Oak Concept line for its combination of new materials and technical wizardry. Essentially, these watches serve as the ultimate manifestation of the brand’s Research & Development program. The results that we have seen over the last 20 years have been nothing short of impressive every single time. This new timepiece comes with a reasonably sized (for the Royal Oak Concept) 43mm titanium case that houses the completely new and spectacular Calibre 4407, the brand’s first self-winding split-seconds flyback chronograph movement.
The new Royal Oak Concept’s glorious, slightly curved 43mm case measures 17.4mm thick. As with all the Royal Oak Concept cases, it is a piece of art. The futuristic, angular shapes of the case and the characteristic bezel contrast nicely with the curved overall shape. The case follows the curvature of the wrist, making the watch easier to wear. The combination of finishes and the different angles give it a spectacular overall presence. Additionally, the watch features black ceramic pushers that add to the industrial and stealthy looks. Lastly, the front and back feature sapphire crystals with special attention given to the case back. The design of the case back with its eight bolts and a view of the Calibre 4407 is simply awe-inspiring.
The new in-house Calibre 4407
Calibre 4407 is based on the brand’s in-house Calibre 4401, which was introduced in the Code 11.59 collection in 2019. This integrated, column-wheel chronograph movement with a vertical clutch comprises 638 parts, has 73 jewels, operates at 28,800vph, and provides 70 hours of power reserve. If you think that’s not impressive, the caliber also offers flyback, split-seconds, and 24-hour GMT functions. Of course, it also displays hours, minutes, and small seconds, and it has a large date display on the open-worked dial.
This dial is made from German silver and features a black PVD coating. The hands and hour markers are executed in white gold and filled with white lume. But that’s not where it ends because the counters, large date, and GMT day/night disc also feature a luminescent coating for great readability in the dark. The hints of color indicate the different functions. Yellow is used for the GMT, whereas the red accents indicate the chronograph functions.
Speaking of which, the large pusher at 9 o’clock activates the split-seconds mechanism. It is a small nod to the Royal Oak Concept Laptimer that Audemars Piguet developed for Michael Schumacher and released in 2015. The watch comes on a black and gray interchangeable rubber strap with a titanium AP folding clasp, completing its stealthy look. I have to say that this new addition to the Royal Oak Concept line is super impressive and both visually and technically stunning. Price on request.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph ref. 26622CE.OO.D062CA.01
Now we move on to the Royal Oak Offshore collection, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. The newest release in the Offshore line is the Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph. It’s a model we have seen before, but the brand decided to inject the second version with a healthy dose of color. We saw the introduction of the ref. 26622 in titanium back in 2021. As a follow-up, this new ref. 26622 is made with different materials and introduces new colors. Like its predecessor, the watch features a 43mm case, but instead of titanium, Audemars Piguet used black ceramic this time. That makes the 43 × 15.5mm case substantial but easy to wear thanks to its lightweight material. Furthermore, it is water resistant to 100 meters. The pushers are also made of black ceramic, while the push guards covering them are made of brushed titanium.
The technical-looking dial of the watch features black PVD-coated titanium bridges and black open-worked counters. The olive-green anodized bridge inserts and anodized inner bezel give the watch a healthy injection of color. They correspond nicely with the green interchangeable rubber strap. The colorful presence is further enhanced by the pink gold hands, crown, and logo, as well as the red chronograph hands. The green and red colors work really well together with the black overall presence. The little hints of pink gold are nice touches that are the cherry on top.
The movement complements the overall look of the watch
If you turn the watch around, you are greeted by the automatic Calibre 2967. This movement consists of 526 parts, operates at 21,600vph, has 40 jewels, and provides 65 hours of power reserve. It is regulated by a flying tourbillon and features a flyback chronograph and a central hours and minutes display. The movement is executed with a black PVD coating to match the stealthy presence of the case. As always with Audemars Piguet’s movements, it’s not just the architecture that is impressive. The level of detail in both colors and finishing is also stellar. This new piece celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Royal Oak Offshore in style. Price on request.
Initial impressions of the new complicated Royal Oaks
There you have it — three new impressive Royal Oak timepieces that show the incredible levels of technical wizardry that Audemars Piguet is capable of. And as I said, it’s not just the movements that are impressive, but the overall level of detail in these pieces is also stellar. The way the color schemes are chosen and how certain parts are color-matched shows that the brand has a great eye for the small things. On top of that, the level of finishing of the cases and the movements is among the absolute best in the industry. My favorite out of the three is the Royal Oak Selfwinding Perpetual Calendar Ultra-thin. Seeing that watch come alive in a full-titanium version with a great new dial makes this an absolute standout. That said, all three pieces are impressive in their own way.
For more information, visit the official Audemars Piguet website. Let us know in the comments section which of these three releases you like best.