By now, it shouldn’t be a secret anymore that Audemars Piguet’s famous Royal Oak is turning 50 this year and that the brand has unveiled a new Jumbo Extra-Thin version, the 16202. The brand has made a serious effort to mark this occasion with a new collection with special rotors, new models and a slightly retouched look. One model that combines all three of those elements is the all-new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Openworked, a homage to the first-ever self-winding tourbillon wristwatch: the 1986 Audemars Piguet Calibre 2870.
When talking about revamping the overall look of the Royal Oak, this, of course, implies only small touch-ups. It’s not that we’re witnessing a radical departure of design and architecture all of a sudden. Following in line with novelties like the 16202 and the Jumbo Openworked 16204, the overall shape is retained, yet refined. The changes are minimal at best and sometimes even hard to identify unless you have both old and new references at hand. However, just as we saw with the Royal Oak Offshore updates last year, it results in a more harmonized collection altogether.
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Openworked has a 41mm wide and 10.6mm thick stainless steel case. As always, it features the signature octagonal shape with an octagonal bezel and functional fasteners (held in place from the back), so nothing new to report here. The changes include wider polished chamfers on the bezel and caseback, with the latter sitting more flush with the middle case for improved ergonomics.
Considering this is an Openworked version of the Royal Oak, there’s no real dial. Instead, all we see is a sloped inner flange finished in slate grey with a minute track and applied white gold indices. Time is indicated through a pair of white gold hour and minute hands with a luminescent central spine. For the rest, you are allowed an up-close and unobstructed view of the movement. The rhodium-toned components reveal a surprisingly symmetrical architecture, with, of course, the flying tourbillon sitting proudly in the bottom half of the “dial”.
Powering this stellar new version of the mighty Royal Oak is Audemars Piguet’s new in-house 2972 calibre. It is an evolution of the Calibre 2950, launched in 2018 as part of the Code 11.59 collection. This was one of the first-ever flying tourbillon movements for Audemars Piguet, which made the transition to the Royal Oak family in watches such as the 26530PT and 26530TI – which are basically the closed-dial edition of the watch we’re looking at today.
The star attraction is the large flying tourbillon in the bottom half, suspended only from the back. Incorporated into the fully openworked construction, even more details of the whirlwind escapement can be seen. It is quite a complex calibre with 271 components, including 27 jewels. It runs at a frequency of 3Hz, or 21,600vph and has an autonomy of 65 hours when fully wound. Everything has been finished according to Haute Horlogerie standards.
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Openworked uses the special 50-year anniversary winding rotor, which can be seen through the sapphire crystal. This rotor will only be fitted during 2022 to mark the 50th birthday of the Royal Oak.
Of course, this new high-end variation of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak comes on the iconic bracelet, executed in stainless steel. Following suit with the latest design evolution for the Royal Oak, the bracelet has larger polished chamfers, thinner and therefore lighter links, and tapers a bit faster from the case. The AP folding buckle ensures a secure fit to the wrist. The price of the new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Openworked will be EUR 218,200.
For more information, please visit AudemarsPiguet.com.