AUDEMARS PIGUET, ONE OF MY FAVOURITE WATCH BRANDS AS I HAVE 3 SOLID GOLD WATCHES FROM THIS MARQUE, IS NOW CELEBRATING ITS 40TH ANNIVERSARY AND OF COURSE IT IS NECESSARY AND ABSOLUTELY VITAL THEY SHOULD PRODUCE A CELEBRATORY ROYAL OAK WATCH TO MARK THE OCCASION.
DESIGNED BY THE LATE AND GREAT GERALD GENTA ( I HAVE QUITE A FEW OF HIS WATCHES TOO), 'ROYAL OAK' IS SYNONYMOUS WITH AUDEMARS PIGUET THE SAME WAY HERMES IS NOTHING WIWTHOUT ITS BIRKIN HANDBAGS WHICH I BET IS ITS BREAD AND BUTTER. DITTO FOR THE REVERSO WATCHES OF JAEGER LECOULTRE!
AND SAME FOR WRITING AND KEE HUA CHEE----THESE TWO ARE ENMESHED.
OPENWORKED EXTRA-THIN ROYAL OAK
LIMITED EDITION 40th ANNIVERSARY
An exceptional model
for the 40th anniversary of a legendary watch
The Royal Oak is 40 years young in 2012. This spectacular non-conformist watch that has always been ahead of its time has made an indelible imprint on the history of Audemars Piguet. As the first luxury sports watch ever, the Royal Oak has become a legend. To celebrate this anniversary in due style, the Manufacture in Le Brassus now unveils the Openworked Extra-Thin Royal Oak, an interpretation combining horological mastery and modernity with a sporting temperament. In light of its exceptional nature, this platinum anniversary edition is issued in a limited series of just 40.
The year 1972 saw a decisive turning point in the history of modern watchmaking. There is indeed a before and after the Royal Oak. The introduction 40 years ago of an entirely unprecedented sports watch corresponding to none of the design codes prevailing in traditional watchmaking was to bring a real paradigm shift. A prestigious ultra-thin movement housed in a steel case priced like a gold watch: the challenge was daring enough to ensure that few observers were prepared to bet on the success of this exceptional watch designed by Gérald Genta for Audemars Piguet and presented by the brand in the spring of 1972. Forty years later, the soundness of this approach has been amply demonstrated. Not only is the Royal Oak an ongoing success, but it is more vibrantly alive than ever – witness the latest newcomer to the collection.
A closer look at the Openworked Extra-Thin Royal Oak celebrating the 40th anniversary shows that it is at once a concentrated blend of the history of this legendary collection, as well as of Audemars Piguet itself and its numerous realms of expertise. As a specialist in ultra-thin movements, the Manufacture in Le Brassus chose this complex horological mechanism to power the very first Royal Oak in 1972. It was thus the famous Calibre 2121, one of the world’s thinnest mechanical selfwinding models at just 3.05 mm thick, that beat at the heart of the first versions of the Royal Oak. This distinctive expertise, consisting in engraving and hollowing out the movement to give it an airy character and play on its transparent effect, is an art still mastered by very few artisans. Combining within a single timepiece the constraints imposed by an ultra-thin movement and the demands of skeletonisation or openworking represents an impressive feat indeed. That is exactly what is offered in the Openworked Extra-Thin Royal Oak watch presented to mark the 40th anniversary in a 950 platinum 40-piece limited edition.
Powerful signature codes
The ultra-thin selfwinding proprietary Calibre 5122 revealed through this anniversary model stems from a sophisticated technical and aesthetic accomplishment. This 3.05 mm thick is entirely openworked, including its hanging barrel. In addition to this skeletonisation performed in a very modern spirit, the anthracite colour achieved by galvanic treatment lends a resolutely contemporary aesthetic. All the finishing operations on the bridges and mainplate (polishing, satin-brushing, circular-graining, circular satin-brushing and drawn flanks) are done by hand. The monobloc oscillating weight entirely made in 22-carat gold bears the raised inscription “AP Royal Oak 1972-2012”. Its external segment is adorned with a “tapisserie” motif reminiscent of the characteristic decoration of the dials in the Royal Oak
collection. The slate grey dial provides an impressive view of the openworked Calibre 5122. The date disc is made from sapphire in order to preserve the transparency of this movement. The date numbers are transferred in black, and the day is revealed against the grey background of the date aperture made in metallic sapphire with a vertically drawn motif.
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the first high-end steel sports watch in due style, the Openworked Extra-Thin Royal Oak watch introduced in 2012 naturally reflects the powerful design features that contributed to imprinting this collection firmly in the collective consciousness. These notably include the octagonal bezel and its eight polished hexagonal screws – consistently made in white gold – held on the case-back side by eight recessed nuts. Fitted between the bezel and case, the visible joint inspired by diving bells, remain a distinctive characteristic of the collection. Nonetheless, the Royal Oak also owes its reputation to the total integration of the case– a definite rarity in 1972 – with the tapering bracelet composed of non-identical links arranged by decreasing order of size. This set of signature features has been inherent in the collection right from its origins and is still sported by all the current Royal Oak models, naturally including the Openworked Extra-Thin Royal Oak.
Conveying a legendary history
The 39 mm diameter of this Openworked Extra-Thin Royal Oak is identical to that of the 1972 Royal Oak. Considered outsized and extravagant at the time of its launch, it shaped the trend for larger watches and now represents a medium-sized diameter. The platinum case is water-resistant to 50 metres and fitted with glareproofed sapphire crystals front and back. All the refined finishing and decoration of the movement may be admired at leisure. The new folding clasp, also in 950 platinum, is distinguished by a double safety fastening system.
The Openworked Extra-Thin Royal Oak reinterprets the original codes and values of the collection, the better to transcend them. This engraved and numbered model conveying a legendary history is issued in a 40-piece limited series. It vividly expresses the evolution that has transformed an avant-garde watch into a truly iconic model.
Openworked Extra-Thin Royal Oak
Limited edition of 40 pieces for the 40th anniversary of the Royal Oak’s model.
- Selfwinding Manufacture Calibre 5122
- Total diameter : 28.40 mm (12 1/2 lignes)
- Thickness : 3.05 mm
- 36 jewels
- 247 parts
- Power reserve : approx. 40 hours
- Cadence of balance : 19’800 vibrations/hour
- Finishings: manual finishings of the bridge (polished bevels, satinbrushed edges, perlage on the recesses), 22K gold monobloc oscillating weight stamped with the raised inscription “ AP Royal Oak 1972-2012 and with “tapisserie” motif on it external segment.
950 platinum case, glareproofed sapphire crystal and caseback
Water-resistant to 50 m
Openworked slate-grey dial, white gold applied hour markers
Royal Oak hands with luminescent coating
950 platinum bracelet with AP folding clasp