When we received the whole bunch of novelties that AP was about to launch at the SIHH 2018 (and there was a lot), one watch stood apart from the rest. Strangely enough, this watch is far from being a true revolution. Not that the RD#2 isn’t a stunning development, but we were all, at the MONOCHROME redaction, focussed on this new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo Extra-Thin 15202IP. Already stunning on the official images, we needed to see it in the metal. And boy, what a beauty it is.
I know I might sound quite enthusiastic, but I’ve always had a soft spot for the Royal Oak, especially the Jumbo Extra-Thin 15202. For various reasons, it is, to me, the one to have – if you’re into modern watches, otherwise the original 5402ST is a no-brainer. With its 39mm case, its thin automatic movement, its time and date display without seconds hand and its finely guillochéd dial, it is in many aspects the version that is the most faithful to the original 1972 watch, a sort of natural lineage in the current collection. Already existing in steel and in various gold options, this year AP introduced a new version, which combines new materials and a new style for the dial, the Royal Oak Jumbo Extra-Thin 15202IP.
What’s new here? Well, in terms of dimensions, mechanics and specifications: nothing. It is the same watch that we all know and that many love. We could argue for hours on AP’s conservatism and how it almost entirely relies on the Royal Oak collection, however, the Royal Oak Jumbo Extra-Thin is an icon… And you don’t mess with an icon. No surprises then, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo Extra-Thin 15202IP feels and looks familiar. Same shape, same style, same movement.
There are some evolutions though. First are the materials used to bring this watch to life. This 15202IP (note the change of reference, from ST to IP) relies on a titanium case and bracelet, with several platinum accents. Platinum is used here for both the octagonal bezel and for the small links on the bracelet. All these platinum elements are mirror polished, contrasting with the rough brushed finishing of the titanium. The rest of the case is the same as the steel version, with its 39mm diameter and 8.1mm thickness, the same chain-like bracelet, the same polished chamfers on the sides of the case/bracelet, and the same crown. Yet, the metals used here drastically change the look and the feel of the watch on the wrist.
Because of the fully metallic construction of the Royal Oak and despite its ultra-thin profile, it is quite a heavy watch – even in steel. It usually has a strong wrist-presence. The change from steel to titanium is immediately felt when strapping this new 15202IP version around the wrist, with a pleasant feeling of lightness – which will bring comfort on a daily basis. Also, titanium is more resistant to scratches. Yet, the addition of a platinum bezel does alter the look of the Royal Oak Jumbo. Entirely mirror polished and not brushed on the upper surface, the 15202IP plays differently with light and reflections and changes from a bright shine to almost black reflections, depending on the angle. The polished surface of this platinum bezel is, at first, quite surprising. The only downside is scratching… A true magnet.
The second main novelty on this Royal Oak Jumbo Extra-Thin 15202IP is the dial. Still guillochéd with the signature “Petite Tapisserie” pattern, still featuring the applied rounded baton indexes, still displaying the AP logo placed where it should (at 6 o’clock), it now features a new smoked blue gradient colour. In effect, the dial of this 15202IP is darker on the periphery and pure blue in the centre. This gradient tone matches the polished platinum bezel and its black reflections perfectly. It might not be revolutionary, yet the result is superb.
Inside the titanium case of the Royal Oak Jumbo Extra-Thin 15202IP is the legendary calibre 2121, an evolution of the movement that was originally fitted in the 1972 reference 5402. Automatic with a central rotor, ultra-thin, well decorated and reliable, it still retains its two hands and date display as well as its original 2.75 Hz frequency. It is visible through the case back.
All in all, this new Royal Oak Jumbo Extra-Thin 15202IP will be seen by some as just another evolution of the RO concept… Which, in a way, is true. Yet, the result is great – both to look at and to wear. The comfort of the titanium case, the surprising reflections of the platinum bezel, the beauty of the smoked blue dial, all of that combined with the signature RO Jumbo style, make it very desirable. However, it has a price (USD 34,800) and a limitation (250 pieces, boutique edition only). More details on www.audemarspiguet.com.