The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, along with being some of the emblematic watches available on the market, the watch that created the luxurious sports activities watch class and one of many hottest items at present on the market, has hosted a wide range of issues in its complicated case. The tourbillon is not any stranger to the RO however has all the time been form of a rara avis on this watch. A couple of week in the past, Audemars Piguet launched the Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon, with a motion by no means used on this assortment, and a extra up to date method. Among the many three variations introduced, one caught our consideration. There was no metal case or blue guilloché dial right here, however as an alternative an unprecedented titanium case and sandblasted dial. Let’s have a more in-depth take a look at this shocking reference 26530TI.
Launched in 1972, the Royal Oak inaugurated a wholly new idea: the luxurious sports activities watch with an built-in bracelet. A strong and waterproof metal case, a fragile extra-thin motion, a refined guilloché dial and an informal total fashion… Gerald Genta’s creation broke the foundations and created what’s right now AP’s largest success and the market’s most coveted class of watches.
Initially outfitted with an automated time-and-date motion, it took some time for Audemars Piguet to incorporate a tourbillon on its celebrity watch. In actual fact, the tourbillon has not usually been built-in into the unique case of the Royal Oak and stays, even right now, fairly uncommon. The very first time this anti-gravity regulating organ was used within the RO was as a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the mannequin, in 1997, with the reference 25831, a extremely restricted watch produced in very low portions.
The Royal Oak Automated Tourbillon 1972-1997 was a shocking watch on many ranges. In line with Christie’s, it was “produced solely in 25 examples in stainless-steel, 5 in yellow gold, 5 in pink gold and 10 examples in platinum with a blue (5 items) or salmon dial (5 items)” and was, till very lately, the one Royal Oak tourbillon fitted with a self-winding motion. This skinny 40mm watch was additionally outfitted with a shocking motion for the reason that crown wasn’t situated at three o’clock, however built-in into the caseback. The show was additionally authentic, with off-centred minutes and hours, an influence reserve indicator and a date counter, all place on a finely guilloché “tapisserie” dial. The tourbillon at 6 o’clock was framed by an octagonal half, paying homage to the long-lasting bezel.
The opposite necessary date to recollect in the case of a RO tourbillon is 2012. As a part of the 40th-anniversary fashions launched by Audemars Piguet was a watch that’s nonetheless within the assortment right now: the Royal Oak Tourbillon Additional-Skinny, with its slender hand-wound calibre and traditional RO look.
Till now, this Royal Oak Tourbillon Additional-Skinny was the one choice for individuals who needed a tourbillon-only RO watch. This yr, Audemars Piguet provides a brand new watch to the gathering with a barely extra informal, extra strong and extra daily-wear oriented spirit.
The Titanium Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon
This new mannequin is launched in three completely different supplies and hues. First is a traditional stainless-steel mannequin with a smoked blue dial. The second mannequin, extra luxurious and opulent, is cased in 18ok rose gold and includes a smoked gray dial. Each are fitted with a guilloché dial and executed with a “Tapisserie Evolutive” sample, which radiates from the centre of the tourbillon – a motif that was first used on the Royal Oak Tourbillon Additional-Skinny and introduced in 2018.
There’s a third mannequin on this new sub-collection, a mannequin that appears quite particular and is made in a cloth that isn’t usually utilized by Audemars Piguet – not less than, a cloth that’s principally reserved to restricted version watches. And that is the mannequin we selected for this hands-on article, the Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Titanium 26530TI.
As talked about, titanium isn’t usually employed by Audemars Piguet in its Royal Oak assortment – not less than, not within the everlasting assortment. Stainless-steel, the fabric first utilized in 1972, is the norm, along with valuable metals and modern ceramic compounds. Titanium has been seen in restricted editions of the Royal Oak, just like the excellent Royal Oak Jumbo Extra-Thin 15202IP of 2018 mixed with platinum parts (bezel and centre hyperlinks). It is usually utilized in the Royal Oak Selfwinding Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin, however as soon as once more, we’re speaking a few very unique mannequin.
So this yr, for its new Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon, Audemars Piguet will provide a grade 5 titanium mannequin within the everlasting assortment. And that’s not the one novelty right here, as we’ll see later. The motion and dial are additionally unprecedented. However again to the case. By way of proportions, AP stays traditional, with a 41mm diameter. All the weather are, when it comes to design, devoted to the remainder of the gathering, with the octagonal bezel and its eight gold screws, the alternation of brushed surfaces and polished accents, the hexagonal crown and, in fact, an built-in bracelet (additionally in titanium).
In comparison with the hand-wound Tourbillon Additional-Skinny, the thickness stays pretty nice. Integrating a self-winding motion solely added 1.4mm to the peak of the case; this new mannequin has a thickness of 10.4mm whereas the hand-wound model has 9mm. All in all, it doesn’t drastically change the sensation on the wrist. What does change the watch is the usage of light-weight titanium. Whereas a Royal Oak Selfwinding 15500ST in steel, a watch with precisely the identical dimensions (41mm x 10.40mm), is a considerable piece on the wrist, this new Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon advantages from this materials to be lighter and extra comfy – however nonetheless with sufficient weight to have that desired feeling of luxurious and robustness.
The mixture of this strong materials, the marginally lighter however thicker case, the usage of an automated motion… All of that offers this new mannequin a much less valuable, much less delicate feeling on the wrist than the Tourbillon Additional-Skinny. It’s a extra “daily-oriented” imaginative and prescient of the Royal Oak Tourbillon.
The opposite uncommon and placing half on this new mannequin, along with its titanium case/bracelet, is the dial. Whilst you’d anticipate a Royal Oak to have a tapisserie sample, which is the case for the metal and gold variations, the titanium model comes with one thing we’ve by no means seen earlier than. Smooth, monochromatic, textured… and in reality, an important match with this full-metal apparel.
For this model of the Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Titanium, Audemars Piguet has opted for a slate-coloured dial with a sandblasted ending within the centre, whereas the chapter ring is adorned with a snailed sample. And whereas it definitely is a good departure from the long-lasting Tapisserie sample, the result’s completely gorgeous within the steel. Fashionable and discreet, it performs with the sunshine and modifications relying on the angle. The tourbillon, in a big aperture at 6 o’clock, can also be highlighted by the glossy environment. Apart from this new color/texture, the weather of the dial are traditional, with rounded baton arms and utilized indexes, each full of luminous materials.
One element to notice is the presence of an utilized Audemars Piguet emblem at 12 o’clock, ensuing from a fancy 3D printing course of known as galvanic progress. Executed in 24ok gold, every letter is related with skinny hyperlinks nearly invisible to the attention. The signature is then fastened on the dial by hand with minuscule legs. This system was first utilized in Code 11.59 and now finds its method onto the dial of the Royal Oak.
Lastly, there’s the motion, the in-house Calibre 2950. This motion is new to the Royal Oak however not new to Audemars Piguet, because it debuted in 2019 within the Code 11.59 Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon. Giant, robustly constructed and automated, it was additionally one of many first flying tourbillons of the model – which solely began to make use of it in 2018, in this Royal Oak Concept watch. Quite the opposite to a conventional tourbillon, held in place by a bridge on each side, a flying tourbillon is cantilevered from the decrease facet of the motion and dial-side seems to drift because of the absence of a bridge – leaving an unimpeded view of its rotations.
The calibre 2950 is a contemporary motion, with a 30.9mm diameter that fills the case properly. It has a cushty energy reserve of 65 hours. The ornament, executed within the conventional Haute Horlogerie fashion, is particular to the Royal Oak and differs from Code 11.59, the place the Geneva stripes usually are not radiating however vertical. The rotor, seen by the caseback, is openworked and completed with a number of inward angles, in addition to a discreet evocation of the long-lasting octagon.
Availability & Value
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon in Titanium (reference 26530TI.OO.1220TI.01) is now obtainable from boutiques and retailers and provided within the everlasting assortment, with out limitation of manufacturing. It’s priced at CHF 129,000.
Extra particulars at www.audemarspiguet.com.