When it comes to limited edition watches, I usually don’t really care much about the partnership or the purpose of them. In today’s hands-on review, we give you an Audemars Piguet, a watch made in collaboration with The Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) for the 17th Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II (QEII) Cup. Thus, something that I really don’t care about. However, what tickles my interest is clearly the watch in question, because what we have here might be one of the best looking modern AP Royal Oak Chronographs. it’s called the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph QEII Cup 2015 Limited Edition (sorry for the name) and here it is in the flesh.
The “new” Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph was introduced in 2012 with several improvements and updates: a new face, with thinner and longer indexes, a slightly more precise pattern on the dial with smaller “hobnails” but mainly a larger case, measuring 41mm vs. 39mm on the older edition. Surprisingly, it revealed to make the watch more comfortable and more balanced, due to a better diameter / height ratio, that virtually creates a thinner watch. Usually we, at Monochrome-Watches, tend to be all for downsizing but here, it wasn’t the case: upscaling is better. While the other chronograph of the collection, the Royal Oak Offshore, is a bulky and profoundly sporty watch, this RO Chrono remains more delicate and easy on the wrist – and that’s a feeling that is even more emphasized with this limited edition that features two important elements: a rubber strap and a titanium case.
Without being drastically different, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph QEII Cup 2015 Limited Edition (sorry for the name again) changes the taste of the watch used as a base. The shape remains identical but the use of a titanium case brings new feelings. First of all, the colour is slightly different. Grade 5 titanium is not as dark as the cheaper Grade 2 titanium we’re used to see in lower budget watches but it is still darker than stainless steel. This specific alloy also allows having both polished and brushed surfaces, just like in every other editions of the Royal Oak – meaning that the case is perfectly finished. All the flat surfaces are brushed and all the edges, both on the flanks of the case and on the bezel, are mirror polished. The other advantage of using titanium for the case is to create a lightweight watch – because it has to be said, the Royal Oak in stainless steel is rather heavy on the wrist. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph QEII Cup 2015 Limited Edition is on the other hand light and balanced. Finally, titanium is more resistant to scratches (something that is always good to know when you have a 20.000 + watch on the wrist).
Then you have this rubber strap, which I’ve always seen as a heresy on the AP RO (at least on the classical Royal Oak, not on the Royal Oak Offshore). The use of this strap was for me completely irrelevant and was kind of ruining the original design of the watch. This was true until I’ve tried this edition. It’s hard for me to admit it, but this titanium edition looks properly good on rubber. Guess it might be the colour combination. Combining the larger diameter with such a strap gives to this Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph an even more delicate and thin profile and even on my rather small wrist, it was perfectly in place and comfortable (and light of course).
What participate to the beauty of this edition is also the face of the watch, with a two-tone grey dial that matches the case and the strap. This edition plays on several shades of grey (not 50 shades, do no worry). The monochromatic look and the sub-dials / minute-track matching with the strap really work in the flesh. The rest remains 100% equivalent to the normal edition, with a classical tri-compax layout and a date window at 4h30. The work done on the dial is, like on all the Royal Oak watches, superb. This “grande tapisserie” pattern is obtained by hand guillochage (engine-turned), meaning a machine controlled by hand that is made to create circular patterns – and here is the strength of AP, that are able to obtain squares. The close-up below allows to see how this pattern is achieved.
Under the dial ticks the Calibre 2385, an integrated self-winding chronograph movement controlled by a column-wheel (based on a Frederic Piguet ébauche – and not the modular but in-house calibre 3126 that is used in the Royal Oak Offshore). This movement has a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour and a 40-hour power reserve. It is decorated with polished bevelled angles, a gold rotor, Geneva stripes and circular graining – something that you won’t be able to see, due the solid caseback.
Again, I must say that I’m not impressed or interested by the name of this limited edition or the partnership that is behind. It’s not my thing. However, this Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph QEII Cup 2015 Limited Edition itself is a beauty that somehow changed some of my bias about the use of rubber straps or larger diameters. Furthermore, the colours used are properly beautiful and make this superb watch even more desirable. Price: 27.400 Euros – limited to 200 pieces. www.audemarspiguet.com. (more details on the dedicated page of Audemars Piguet’s website – and more details about the partnership here, cause unlike me and my bad habits, some of you might – and should – have some interest in the reasons of this limited edition)
- Selfwinding Calibre 2385
- Total diameter: 26.20 mm
- Total thickness: 5.50 mm
- Number of parts: 304
- Number of rubies: 37
- Minimum power reserve: 40 hours
- Frequency of balance wheel: 21,600 vibrations / hour
- Hours, minutes, small seconds and date
- 41mm titanium case and bezel
- Glare-proofed sapphire crystal
- Caseback engraved with the legend “QE II Cup 2015 – Limited Edition”
- Screw-locked crown
- Water-resistant to 50 m
- Silver-tone dial with “Grande Tapisserie” pattern
- Grey ruthenium counters and outer zone
- White gold applied hour-markers and Royal Oak hands with luminescent coating
- Grey rubber strap with titanium AP folding clasp
- Comes with an additional grey alligator leather strap
Limited Edition of 200 – Reference Number: 26327TI.OO.D004CA.01