In a year of transition and of mild creativity, many luxury brands have played on the safe side and released only minor new models, or simply evolutions of existing watches. Think new colours, new materials, the addition of complications, but not much was groundbreakingly new. Yet, in these days of conservatism, some brands have shown audacity and haven’t held back their launch schedule. Among them was Audemars Piguet, which has clearly been on the active side of things this year. And new models are to be seen in every collection, from the classic Royal Oak to Code 11.59, but the focus of the year has certainly been the Royal Oak Offshore range, with evolutions to be seen all over the place. Here are what the MONOCHROME team thinks are the most notable new models of Audemars Piguet in 2021.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo Extra-Thin 15202PT Smoked Green
One of the first watches launched by Audemars Piguet in 2021, this smoked green RO Jumbo in platinum might also be one of the most desirable… and one of the least accessible too (yes, don’t even imagine entering a shop and ordering one…) Based on the classic 15202, which will be replaced in 2022 by a new Royal Oak Jumbo Extra-Thin, this full platinum edition is somehow the last of the series and is mostly notable for its material, and for its unprecedented dial without the traditional tapisserie pattern. Instead, AP opted for a gradient green base colour with a classic sunray-brushed pattern. And it looks stunning. The rest of the watch, including the calibre 2121, is identical to other 15202 models – proportions too, with a 39mm diameter. This “swan song” will be remembered as one of the best editions of the current Jumbo.
Quick facts: 39mm x 8.1mm – 950 platinum case – Smoked green dial with sunray-brushed pattern – Calibre 2121, in-house – extra-thin automatic – platinum Royal Oak integrated bracelet – 15202PT.OO.1240PT.01 – 100 pieces produced in 2021 – CHF 90,150 (excl. taxes)
The new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver Collection
A fresh new look (that still looks familiar), a new movement, more refined details and interchangeable straps. This is what you should expect from the revamped Royal Oak Offshore Diver Collection. A long-lasting model and a pillar of the ROO collection, the Diver has been entirely redesigned in 2021, with subtle yet welcome updates. The dials, as well as the colours, are also new and more refined than before, yet this watch remains a perfect example of ultra-robust luxury watch – it can even withstand 300m of depth. Under the blue, grey or khaki dial is the new calibre 4308, which has first been presented on Code 11.59. It beats at 4Hz and boasts 60 hours of power reserve. And the collection now includes interchangeable straps with a clever system, and all watches come with a pair of rubber straps – and many more colours are available in stores. A great update that retains the beloved elements of the first editions.
Quick facts: 42mm x 14.1mm – stainless steel case, 300m WR and internal rotating bezel – Dial with Méga Tapisserie pattern – Calibre 4308, in-house, automatic – Interchangeable rubber strap with additional rubber strap included – 15720ST.OO.A052CA.01 Khaki green, 15720ST.OO.A027CA.01 Navy blue, 15720ST.OO.A009CA.01 Grey – CHF 21,650 (excl. taxes)
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph 26238ST “The Beast”
2021 marks the return of one of the most powerful designs ever created by AP, in a form that recalls the early 1990s. In 1993, the brand launched the Offshore, a watch that brought impressive boldness to the classic Royal Oak and the first watch to inaugurate this look was a blue chronograph that gained the nickname “the beast”. This year, AP pays tribute to this important watch (it clearly defined a new genre) by releasing the Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph 26238ST. Visually, it is almost identical to the 1993 version, only altered by small modifications. And it still looks as fresh as new. Inside, however, that’s a completely different story as the old modular movement has been replaced by a modern in-house, integrated flyback chronograph, the calibre 4404 – first found in Code 11.59, adapted here with an adequate 3-6-9 layout. It also comes with a new interchangeability system and an additional blue rubber strap is included.
Quick facts: 42mm x 15.2mm – stainless steel case with blue rubber accents – blue dial with “petite tapisserie” pattern – calibre 4404, in-house, integrated automatic flyback chronograph – integrated stainless steel bracelet and blue rubber strap included – 26238ST.OO.2000ST.01 – CHF 34,500 (excl. taxes)
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding 34mm Black Ceramic
The full black ceramic Royal Oak is one of the most desirable looks that the brand launched in recent years. Not only it is visually stunning but it also requires impressive skills to achieve such precise manufacturing on the angular case and bracelet. Inaugurated in 2017 in a perpetual calendar, until now the full ceramic style has been reserved for complicated watches. In 2021, AP released the first black ceramic RO without high-end complications, and in a feminine size. And the result, a 34mm black watch with gold-coloured accents, will make a few men jealous – even though it could look equally good on a man’s wrist. And because it’s the 34mm edition, it is powered by a time-and-date automatic movement, the Calibre 5800, which isn’t produced in-house but by high-end movement maker Vaucher. And now, imagine this look with the 39mm Jumbo Extra-Thin configuration…
Quick facts: 34mm x 8.8mm – black ceramic case with 18k rose gold screws and titanium caseback – Black dial with “Grande Tapisserie” pattern and pink gold accents – Calibre 5800, Vaucher base VMF 3000, automatic – Black ceramic bracelet – 77350CE.OO.1266CE.01 – EUR 45,600 (incl. taxes)
Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Selfwinding Chronograph Gold & Ceramic
If the first years of Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet have been a bit difficult, it must be said that the brand is regularly correcting the complaints regarding this collection by adding new, bolder colours and new materials to enhance the beauty of its case – yes, it truly is a magnificent case, like it or not. For 2021, AP created what we think is the best version of the Selfwinding Chronograph, a watch that combines an 18k rose gold bezel and caseback with a middle case made of black ceramic. And it truly emphasizes the architectural design of this case. It is paired with a gradient, vertically brushed grey dial that looks great with the warm gold alloy. Under the sapphire caseback is the brand’s modern, integrated and in-house flyback chronograph calibre 4401. And for a casual look, it is worn on a black, rubber-coated textile strap. Also available in white gold.
Quick facts: 41mm x 12.6mm – 18k gold and black ceramic case – Smoked grey dial with vertical satin-brushed finish – calibre 4401, in-house, integrated automatic flyback chronograph, column wheel and vertical clutch – Black textile strap, rubber-coated – 26393NR.OO.A002CA.01 pink gold, 26393NB.OO.A002CA.01 white gold – CHF 38,650 (excl. taxes)
For more details, please visit www.audemarspiguet.com.