It might be smaller than your average Royal Oak, but there is no mistaking the lineage of these 34mm models. All the salient Royal Oak traits are now housed in a more condensed case, an ideal size for smaller wrists and a solid unisex proposal. Although 34mm might strike you as small in a line-up of watches represented in diameters of 44, 42, 41, 39, 38 and 37mm, there is another even smaller model with a 33mm diameter but fitted with a quartz movement. There must be demand for quartz models because the 33mm is not going to be replaced by the mechanical 34mm. Fitted with a specifically designed self-winding movement, the new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding 34mm comes in steel, pink gold and two-tone case options, with or without diamonds.
The full Royal Oak package
The new cases measure 34mm and have a restrained thickness of 8.8mm. A Royal Oak through and through, the dynamic angles of the case are surmounted by the iconic octagonal bezel with eight gold screws. With its brushed and polished finishes, the architecture of the case comes to life flowing in one continuous line all the way to the integrated bracelet. The crown is screwed-down and water-resistance rated at 50m.
The signature guilloché ‘Grande Tapisserie’ pattern on the dial provides an interesting textured background that is a key identity trait of the Royal Oak family. Unlike the silver-toned 41mm RO Selfwinding, we introduced a few weeks ago with its smooth-textured minute track, the minute tracks of the new 34mm are printed directly on the guilloché pattern.
The applied gold hour markers and hour and minute hands are treated with a central band of lume. The hour marker at 3 o’clock has been removed to accommodate the date with its bevelled rectangular window. In all four models, the background of the date window matches the dial.
The two stainless steel models of the new 34mm sub-family come with either a classic silver-toned dial or a blue-grey dial with 40 brilliant-cut diamonds set into the bezel. The applied hour markers and the hands on the steel models are made from white gold as are the eight hexagonal screws on the bezel.
While the diamond model will certainly more appeal to a feminine audience, the classic steel/silver version could easily be worn by men in the need for a smaller watch – since the Royal Oak has always had more presence on the wrist than its diameter would suggest, it will certainly feel like a 36mm watch.
Steel-And-gold and solid pink gold
A two-tone model combining steel with pink gold also joins the 34mm collection along with a luxurious solid pink gold model with a diamond-set bezel. Both have silver-toned dials and feature applied pink gold indices and hands. Here again, we can easily imagine the two-tone version being worn by both men and women.
A great improvement compared to the 33mm quartz models, a self-winding mechanical movement powers all four Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding 34mm models. The calibre 5800 keeps the hours, minutes, seconds and date running for stretches of up to 50 hours. It measures 23.30mm x 3.9mm, beats at 28,800vph/4Hz and can be viewed through the sapphire crystal caseback. The bridges are decorated with Côtes de Genève stripes and the rotor was specifically developed for this 34mm version with a frosted central area, brushed surfaces and polished bevels.
For those with deep watchmaking culture, this new movement, to the exception of the specific decoration and oscillating weight, will feel familiar. Quite rare for Audemars Piguet, the calibre 5800 isn’t produced in-house but by Vaucher (base VMF 3000), a movement constructor known for its high-end production – and thus totally in line with Audemars’ standards. This choice was guided by the need to have a movement thin enough to retain the proportions of the case, as well as by the need to fit inside this smaller case – the Calibre 3120 would have been too large and the date positioned too far on the edge of the dial.
Prices And availability
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding 34mm model in steel retails for CHF 18,400; the steel model with a blue dial and diamonds for CHF 23,200; the two-tone pink gold and steel for CHF 21,600; and the solid pink gold with diamonds for CHF 44,700. They are now available at boutiques and retailers.
For more information, please visit audemarspiguet.com.