Ask any watch collector about Holy Grail timepieces, and one of the first names out of his or her mouth will be the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. This watch, first launched in 1972 as the first stainless steel luxury timepiece, was designed by the legendary Gerald Genta. With its distinctive design and alluring looks, it fast became an immediate hit.
Now, to celebrate this iconic timepiece, Audemars Piguet goes all out with a superb lineup of different Royal Oak watches that will have collectors’ heads spinning. From simple three-hand date watches, to self-winding chronographs, ultra-thin pieces, skeletonized versions, tourbillons, and even a skeletonized tourbillon, the Royal Oak watches of 2022 – while reminiscent of the past – are all about modernity.
Slight evolutions in case, bracelet, and dial are evident in some models, while totally new evolutions are being released throughout this year. Some of the new timepieces house all-new calibers – signifying another advancement for the brand. Meanwhile, almost all of them (except the 38mm chronographs) are equipped with a new Royal Oak 50 Years oscillating weight.
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Royal Oak 50 Years Evolution Watches
For the 50th Anniversary Royal Oak watches, there are several versions of a self-winding 37mm three hands with date and several self-winding chronographs in 38mm and 41mm. Later in the year, these will be joined by 34mm and 41mm versions. The new timepieces house one of three different calibers, including the all-new Caliber 5900 that replaces the Caliber 3120. It is thinner and endowed with 60 hours of power reserve.
These updated pieces are not about revolutionary changes but instead are about underscoring the Royal Oak details. They offer better ergonomics in the case and bracelet fit and feel thanks to beveled case edges and a sleeker integration of the thinned-down bracelet, whose links are now trapezoid instead of parallel for added comfort. The hour markers, faceted and coated with a luminescence, are appropriately scaled for the dial size. The logo is reworked using a new topography that is achieved using thin layers of 24-karat gold applied via a chemical printing process.
Of particular note in this collection is a new hue of blue, Bleu Nuit, Nuage 50, which is a return to the original “night blue/cloud 50” color used decades ago. Instead of being created in a galvanic bath, though, it is achieved via PVD. Versions include a white dial, a dark blue or light blue dial, and a silver dial. There are also diamond-adorned variations.
Royal Oak Jumbo Variations
This year also witnesses two new evolutions of the Royal Oak Jumbo, including Extra-Thin and Openworked pieces. The Extra-Thin watches house the brand’s new self-winding extra-thin Caliber 7121 and are offered in some intriguing colorways. The four models are crafted in either stainless steel, platinum, 18-karat pink gold, or 18-karat yellow gold. While certain versions boast the Tapisserie dial, two offer an updated twist. The Yellow gold version boasts a gradient brown-to-gold Tapisserie dial, while the platinum version showcases a brilliantly gradated green dial.
The Royal Oak Jumbo Extra-Thin Open-worked watch brings together two arts, skeletonization, and ultra-slim prowess. The movement within, Caliber 7124, is derived from the aforementioned Caliber 7121, but its components are meticulously carved to their barest minimum to display the beauty of the movement. It is offered in stainless steel as a homage to the original steel Royal Oak, or in 18-karat rose gold.
Royal Oak Tourbillons
Just as it did with its Jumbo watches this year, Audemars Piguet offers the famed Flying Tourbillon in several versions, including a skeletonized option. There are three versions of the 41mm Royal Oak Self-winding Flying Tourbillon (steel, titanium, or pink gold) that house the Caliber 2950 and boast dials with the tourbillon aperture at 6:00. Some of the same design evolutions of the 50th Anniversary three-hands with date watches are evident in these pieces, including harmonized and optimized ergonomic cases and bracelets. Dial shades include blue with the beloved Grande Tapisserie motif or a sandblasted blue dial.
The more complex 41mm Royal Oak Self-winding Flying Tourbillon Openworked is a first of its kind. Monochromatic in color scheme, the new timepiece boasts the Caliber 2972, the first-ever self-winding flying tourbillon openwork mechanism. While each of the 271 components is meticulously hand-finished to perfection, it is the stunning openness of the constantly moving flying tourbillon that captures the eye—and the heart. This watch is also crafted in steel in homage to the original and in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Royal Oak.
Find out more on www.audemarspiguet.com