SIHH 2012 – the new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph

calendar | ic_dehaze_black_24px By Frank Geelen | ic_query_builder_black_24px 3 minute read |

By now it should be no secret anymore that Audemars Piguet revamped the Royal Oak collection and I’ve already shared my enthusiasm about the Royal Oak Jumbo. Another one that, in my humble opinion, looks absolutely superb, is the new Royal Oak Chronograph. 

The new Royal Oak Chronograph is 2 mm larger than its predecessor, that measured 39 mm in diameter. While I usually cheer for downsizing, I was amazed to feel how incredibly comfortable the RO Chrono is and how perfect the fit is.

Last year I tried a friend’s Royal Oak Jumbo for a week and my conclusion was that it just was not my kind of watch. He also has a RO Chrono, that looks magnificent, but again, not my choice. So imagine my amazement when trying the new Royal Oak Jumbo and the new Royal Oak Chronograph. When I put it on my wrist, it was like everything fell into place. The diameter, thickness, the bracelet and clasp, and the finer ‘hobail’ pattern on the dial. It was as if every small detail that slightly bothered me, had been improved.

The biggest improvement is the dial. The old dial’s 12 o’clock marker is a triangle with super luminova and all other hour markers are quite thick markers, also with applied super luminova. On the new dial the 12 o’clock marker has been replaced by a double applied stick marker and all other hour markers are now thinner and longer. Somehow this give the new Royal Oak Chronograph a more refined look.

Another big improvement and something that held me back from buying the previous RO Chrono, is the ‘hobnail’ pattern on the dial. The ‘hobnails’ are slightly smaller than before, but it looks much different. And although the tapisserie pattern is smaller, Audemars Piguet calls it ‘grande tapisserie’. The reason for this is probably that the even finer pattern of the new Royal Oak Jumbo  and the original Royal Oak Jumbo from 1972 is called ‘petit tapisserie’.

Audemars Piguet now makes all Royal Oak dials in-house, using the historical machines to apply a ‘ramolayé’ or pounced ornament technique.

The diameter has increased from 39 mm to 41 mm. Usually I’m all for downgrading size, however the 41 mm Royal Oak case with its gorgeous integrated bracelet fits perfect. So no complaints, its good! Another thing that Looks and feels great is the new deployment clasp, that now comes with a locking push-button.

Inside is still the Audemars Piguet caliber 2385, an automatic chronograph movement. Unfortunately it’s not visible because the RO Chrono does not have an exhibition caseback.

The Royal Oak Chronograph is available in stainless steel and 18k pink gold. At the SIHH I’ve seen white and black dials and I wouldn’t be amazed if Audemars Piguet will release the odd Limited Edition from time to time 😉

The steel version of the RO Chronograph retails at € 19.290 (including tax). The 18k pink gold version starts at CHF 38.600 (excl VAT) on a leather alligator strap and with 18k gold deployant clasp; the version on 18k pink gold bracelet costs CHF 60K.

More information… at the Audemars Piguet website.

 

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