Hot Take: The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin In BMG And Titanium
Last week, we received word about additional releases from Audemars Piguet. We’ll cover what I think is the most interesting of the bunch with a brief overview of the new Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin in BMG and titanium. Among all those words, if you failed to pick out the key piece, it’s the “BMG.” Let’s peel back the onion…
In preparation for this article, I had a look at the Royal Oak section on the official Audemars Piguet site, and I must confess that I was surprised. There are a lot of models in this line. For a watch that borders on unattainable, it blew me away. Well, with today’s Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin in BMG and titanium, we can add another reference (16202XT.OO.1240XT.01, to be exact) to the catalog, and this one differs significantly from other models.
The Royal Oak Extra-Thin in BMG and titanium
The watch you’re looking at above appears to have a conventional white metal case, but there’s more at work here. At Only Watch 2021, Audemars Piguet brought yet another relatively standard-looking Royal Oak as seen above (okay, it had a lovely vintage typeface on its dial). In fact, the watch debuted a new material for the bezel, bracelet studs, and case back. This material is called Bulk Metal Glass (BMG) and is made of at least 50% palladium. The rest of the case metal is titanium. Now, with the new BMG/titanium Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin, the company is offering it as part of its serial production collection. (As an aside, the Only Watch piece sold for CHF 3,100,000.)
BMG is an interesting material because of its properties. Essentially, the process allows it to behave somewhat like glass in terms of its amorphous structure and hardness. However, it has high elasticity (good for wear and knocks) and is produced in a relatively net-near shape. There is final machining and polishing done on the material to perfect the geometry and give it a proper luster. I found a nice article on BMG that even references the university I attended. BMG materials are often used in sports equipment, military, and medical applications. Audemars Piguet states that this latest Royal Oak is the first serial-production watch application to use a palladium-based form of the material.
The newest release
The new production BMG and titanium Royal Oak mimics the one-off piece in many ways but does bring some changes. It uses the Extra-Thin case with both satin and polished surfaces, which comes in at 39mm in diameter and just 8.1mm thick. The dial moves away from the Tapisserie style and to a smoked burgundy color with a sunburst pattern. AP chose to use 18K pink gold for the hour indices and hands and included luminous material. The date is at 3 o’clock and matches the dial in color. Inside, whereas the 2021 special piece used the original 2121 automatic movement, this new piece has the updated 7121 caliber that debuted in 2022. This movement is just 3.2mm thick, runs at 28,800vph, and has a power reserve of 55 hours. Finally, the watch is water resistant to 50 meters.
Thoughts and pricing
I always mention that I have a real interest in advanced materials and, therefore, this new Royal Oak BMG caught my eye. I enjoyed reading about the process and that this is the alloy’s first “widespread” use on a watch. As far as the looks, it’s hard to complain about a large Royal Oak. That said, I don’t think I’d choose a model from this family without a Tapisserie dial. Those dials alone are art. Then there’s the pricing. A Blog To Watch uncovered the price because AP oddly chose to list this watch as “Price on Request.” At a whopping US$96,400, this feels incredibly expensive versus other models (gold is $78,300, and steel is $35,000). Furthermore, it’s a lot of money for a watch with relatively few details fashioned in this advanced material. Still, I am sure that affluent Royal Oak collectors will see past all of this, and it should become yet another model that doesn’t exist within display cases.