I think we can all agree that the fastest way to ruin an iconic watch is by completely redesigning it. It seems that Audemars Piguet subscribes to this idea too and in fact has gone as far as to print it out in massive letters and put it everywhere in the design department. Don’t change the Royal Oak, it will only end in tears and with a final result that is nowhere near as good at what you started with. Still, the market is a sucker for novelties and some fresh air is needed, from time to time. With this in mind, Audemars Piguet introduces the Refreshed Royal Oak Chronograph at the SIHH 2017. No major changes of course, just some tiny little updates to make it even more appealing, including a two-tone dial design.
Overall, we’re talking 7 new versions of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph; four versions in pink gold which are available on a matching, pink gold bracelet or an alligator strap and three versions in steel fitted with stainless steel bracelets. The choice is wide and this is basically a renewal of the entire collection. We’ll have to confirm but it seems that the current three steel versions (silver, blue and black dials) as well as the four pink gold versions (silver and black dial, both on gold bracelet or leather strap) will be out.
A bit of background: the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph was first introduced in 1997 in a 39mm version. This means that this exact model is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Later, in 2012 to be precise, Audemars Piguet chose to increase the size of the case to 41mm – a diameter that was also shared with the 3-hand ref. 15400 version. Surprisingly, while being larger, this watch became more balanced and more comfortable to wear, while the 39mm version always felt bulkier. For once, up-sizing has been beneficial. Thankfully the new SIHH 2017 models are based on the 41mm case.
While the case, bracelet and the movement (calibre 2385, an automatic, integrated, column-wheel movement with tri-compax layout) remain the same as before, the changes can be seen on the dials. All seven models in the new series of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph feature a fresh, two-tone dial design with several new yet subtle details: chronograph counters of increased size that expand at 9 o-clock and 3 o’clock, shorter but wider hour-markers, additional luminescent coating for a better readability of the hour and new typeset and transfers. The AP logo is slightly larger than before.
The main change of course is the choice of colors. All dials have a two-tone style (of crows with the “Grande Tapisserie” guilloche pattern), with contrasting sub-counters. For the pink gold versions, whatever you choose brown or blue dial, the sub-counters match the case. For the steel versions, both the black and blue versions feature contrasting silver sub-counters, while the silver-dial edition shows black sub-counters and a black second track. In all cases, the date is printed on a disc matching the dial.
Price to be confirmed during SIHH 2017. Prices should be close to the current collection, meaning around 24,000 / 25,000 Euro for the steel editions, around 38,000 / 40,000 Euro for the pink gold / leather strap editions and around 57,000 Euro for the full pink gold editions. audemarspiguet.com.
Specifications of the 2017 Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph
- Case: 41mm diameter x 10.8mm thick – stainless steel or 18k pink gold – sapphire crystal on the front, plain caseback – 50m water-resistance
- Movement: Calibre 2385 – automatic chronograph – 40h power reserve – 3Hz frequency – hours, minutes, small second, chronograph, date
- Strap / Bracelet: steel bracelet / alligator leather strap / pink gold bracelet (depending on the versions)