A year after its grand 50th-anniversary celebrations, Audemars Piguet releases a 41mm white gold edition of the Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronograph embellished with blue baguette-cut sapphires and light blue panda sub-dials. Corresponding to the latest design evolutions applied to the Royal Oak family last year, the spirit of Gerald Genta’s 1972 Royal Oak lives on in tones of blue ticking to the sophisticated in-house integrated flyback chronograph movement. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph 26240BC with Sapphire will be available exclusively in Japan from May 2023 before being released globally in July 2023.
The facelift practised on the Royal Oak in 2022 – for the 37mm Selfwinding and 38mm and 41mm Selfwinding Chronographs – was subtle and did not alter the iconic features of the watch. The tonneau-shaped case, octagonal bezel with eight screws, integrated bracelet and Tapisserie pattern on the dial were all respected. What it did involve, however, was a more sophisticated finishing on the case with enlarged polished bevels to enhance the play of light contrasting with the brushed surfaces and a redesigned case middle and caseback that sits better on the wrist. Other tweaks included the tapering profile of the bracelet, thinner, lighter links and harmonised hour markers and hands across all the self-winding models, a new 3D gold applied AP logo and tone-on-tone date wheels.
White gold case and panda dial
Responding to the design upgrades of 2022, the new 41mm white gold Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronograph displays brightly polished bevels and contrasting brushed surfaces. With a height of 12.4mm, the asymmetrical case features two piston-style pushers on the right with angular crown guards flanking the crown to ensure the 50m water-resistance of the case.
The iconic octagonal bezel still boasts the eight white gold screws but is now set with 32 blue baguette-cut sapphires. Blue, as Royal Oak fans know, is a signature colour of this collection and Bleu Nuit, Nuage 50 was the first colour to appear on the dial of the 1972 forebear. The tone of blue selected for the Grand Tapisserie pattern is not exactly Blue Nuit but a shade that matches the blue sapphires. The three snailed sub-dials and the minute track are a light blue colour for contrast, and the date has a background to match the colour of the dial and white numerals. The applied white gold hour markers and the white gold Royal Oak hands are all treated with luminescent material. The new, more elegant gold signature results from a chemical process known as galvanic growth, a feature used on Code 11.59 and applied by hand to the dial.
Powering this model is AP’s latest-generation chronograph movement, calibre 4401. A fully integrated movement with a column wheel and flyback function, the chronograph can be stopped, reset, and started in one simple action. In collaboration with a vertical clutch, the column wheel avoids the hands jumping when starting or stopping the chronograph, and the push-pieces respond smoothly. A solid gold openworked rotor reveals the elegant finishings of the automatic movement – Côtes de Genève, circular graining and circular satin and polished chamfers. Beating at a frequency of 4Hz, the automatic movement delivers a 70h power reserve.
Availability & Price
As mentioned, this Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronograph 41mm with Baguette Sapphires (reference 26240BC.SS.1320BC.01) will be sold exclusively in Japan from May 2023 and the rest of the world from July 2023. The price will be given upon request (in excess of CHF 100,000). For more information, please visit audemarspiguet.com.