Category Archives: Audemars Piguet

How the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak became an icon guide

In 1970, the entire world was groovy, and people were investing in classic mechanical watches for ones with light-up displays. Radical! Of course, things were less radical for Swiss watch manufacturer Audemars Piguet, which was scrambling to work out a counterpunch ahead of the brand new quartz watches put it out of business. Executives threw a hail mary to Gerald Genta, a watch designer who was going to cement his status as a legend. An AP executive went to Genta with a brief one day at 4 p.m.:”Mr. Genta, I require a steel sports watch which has never been done before, I need it to be something totally new and waterproof,” he said, according to the designer. The subtext: develop a watch that will save the company. Oh, and the design was due the following morning.
That night, drawing inspiration from deep diving diving helmets, Genta sketched and designed the stop-sign-shaped Royal Oak. It turned out Audemars Piguet watches into one of the most prosperous watch brands in the world.

quartz watches


Image may contain: Wristwatch It was a different age: in the early 1970s, when guys still had to wear watches to keep an eye on the moment, they chose between stainless steel watches and dressy pieces built for black-tie soirees. The Royal Oak bridged those two worlds, making a luxury watch out of the more durable steel. When it was first introduced, the AP was more expensive than Patek Philippe bits made from gold and 10 times the price of many steel Rolexes.
People needed the time to adjust to the concept of a new luxury-priced sport watch. It took three decades for Audemars to sell 1,000 bits – but, luckily, that initial run went to the proper people. Famously, the Shah of Iran was the first-ever Royal Oak customer. Audemars relied on powerful customers–influencers! –such as the Shah to place the tone, and not long after that first period of lackluster sales, curiosity shot way, way up. Now, the Royal Oak is Audemars’s flagship product.
Picture may comprise: Wristwatch

Audemars Piguet watches

Audemars has benefited from the success of its own tentpole merchandise for decades. The Royal Oak now comes in versions encrusted in diamonds, constructed with tourbillonscooked and cooked up with endless calendars. And in 1993, Audemars introduced the Royal Oak Offshore, which beefed up the iconic layout and came standard with a chronograph and the trio of pushers that complication demanded. (The watch’s designer Emmanuel Gueit afterwards said that when the watch surfaced at Baselworld,”Genta invaded the booth shouting that HIS Royal Oak had been completely destroyed.”) When earlier this year Audemars introduced a totally new collection that went away from the Royal Oak, a number of the pieces were met with skepticism by AP fanboys.
The Royal Oak and its offspring will also be in charge of attracting new customers into the world of watch collecting. In 2006, the newest then-American-president François-Henry Bennahmias allow Jay Z have a crack at designing his own Royal Oak Offshore. In 2013, Bennahmias extended the exact same chance to LeBron James, who frequently wears Audemars Piguet watches. It might not be a huge surprise to find out that Bennahmias has become the brand’s CEO.
However, the watch’s most famous urge just might be a fictional character: Ari Gold, the abrasive agent in Entourage, who obtained a Royal Oak from his boss on the series.

audemars piguet royal oak perpetual calendar skeleton caseback

ROYAL OAK PERPETUAL CALENDAR OPENWORKED

EMBRACING THE DARK SIDE

Royal Oak will soon be 50 years old. Yet its silhouette outlives fashions. The Brassus-based manufacture transcends it with an attractive evolution blending ceramic and fine-watchmaking engineering.

From the moment it was unveiled back in 1971, Royal Oak, designed by Gerald Genta for Audemars Piguet, has forever been proposing variations and integrating complications yet pursuing its ever-so recognizable lines. Although this new Perpetual Calendar Openworked still boasts the octagonal bezel, its dial features no “Petite Tapisserie” checkerboard motif whatsoever! Its openwork design offers us a spectacular composition. This model reproduces the attires of the 2017-revealed black ceramic Perpetual Calendar. Its 41 mm-diameter, 9.9 mm-slimline case, along with its strap and folding clasp, invite us to admire their fine-brushed black shade obtained using the yttria oxide compound.

audemars piguet royal oak perpetual calendar skeleton casebackThe ensemble is driven by the 5135 caliber (40-hour power reserve). Many of this self-winding movement’s components, admirable on both sides of the watch, highlight the strong style of the Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Openworked.

Price: CHF130,000

By Dan Diaconu

audemars piguet royal oak offshore camo green and blue versions

ROYAL OAK OFFSHORE CAMOUFLAGE

STILL ON TREND

Three Royal Oak Offshore pieces are sporting a camouflage design with blue, green, and brown ceramic bezels that casually adapt to any terrain.

Military fabrics make it possible to be practically invisible in any combat zone, on land or at sea. The desired effect when putting on the new Royal Oak Offshore launched during SIHH 2019 is however very different. The muscular chronographs by Audemars Piguet do not go unnoticed on the wrist. Although they feature the collection’s characteristic aesthetic codes, such as the “Mega tapisserie” pattern on the dial, the vertical positioning of the counters and the small seconds dial, and of course the octagonal bezel inspired by the Royal Oak designed by Gérald Genta, other decorative elements set them apart.

audemars piguet royal oak offshore camo green and blue versionsAll the Royal Oak Offshore Camouflage pieces are powered by a self-winding movement with a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour. Once wound, the caliber guarantees a power reserve of around 50 hours, the perfect amount of time to adapt to any occasion in our urban lives.

Price: on request

By Dan Diaconu

audemars piguet code 11 59 qp closeup

CODE 11.59 PERPETUAL CALENDAR

SHOWPIECE

In this essential model, the brand based in Le Brassus makes use of geometric shapes to provide a striking new visual design.

Bowing out with panache: this was Audemars Piguet’s aim at its last SIHH – the brand has opted not to take part in the major watchmaking event from next year. So this year was marked by a new collection, the Code 11.59. Its strong points? An original case, first of all, although it is based on the iconic Royal Oak. The outline follows the famous octagonal case drawn by Gerald Genta’s inspired pencil in 1972. This geometric shape is sandwiched between a round extra-slim bezel and sapphire crystal caseback. The open-work horns set up rounded lines to harmonise with the wrist. The polished and satin finishes on the 41mm-wide case catch the light in an attractive way. Light also flourishes on the dial of the Code 11.59 Perpetual Calendar. The time elements are set against a background decorated with aventurine in a midnight blue colour. Three small hands in the same number of sub-dials show the day, date and month. A realistic reproduction of the moon is housed at 6 o’clock and shows the moon phases. Lastly, the dial is encircled by a chapter ring with a white hand to indicate the week number.

audemars piguet code 11 59 qp closeupThe Code 11.59 Perpetual Calendar is an elegant model, worn with a blue alligator leather strap to perfectly match the rose gold case.

Price: 69,500 CHF

By Dan Diaconu

audemars piguet millenary 2018 closeup

AUDEMARS PIGUET – MILLENARY

OVAL FINESSE 

The Millenary watch by Audemars Piguet is built on different levels, modestly unveiling its mechanical core and bringing the Milanese mesh and Florentine finish into the collection

Although less well known than its sister watches, the Royal Oak and Royal Oak Offshore, the Millenary has nonetheless enjoyed great success with a clientele interested in its mechanism and above all its atypical design. This model made by Audemars Piguet was born in 1995 and attracts the eye with the oval shape of the case and the architecture of the dial. The dial, in fact, is made on different levels, unveiling part of its mechanism while giving it a unique three-dimensional aspect.

audemars piguet millenary 2018 closeup

In 2015, the collection expanded with the introduction of several pieces, including two models made of white gold and pink gold with a bezel and horns set with diamonds. The precious stones highlighting the rim of the case, measuring some 40mm in diameter, accentuate the curve and the brilliance of the two white mother-of-pearl dials displaying the hours and minutes (off-set at 3 o’clock) and the running seconds (at 6 o’clock). For 2018, the pair have been given two straps made of white or pink gold and Milanese mesh, as soft as silk.

The real novelty in the Millenary collection this year, however, is to be seen in the opal – a fine stone with iridescent reflections – on the double dial and the technique of hammering known as Florentine finish – present in the Royal Oak family since 2016 – on its white gold case. As in the above-mentioned models, the hours and minutes are shown with two pink-gold lancine-shaped hands on a large opal disc without indices; a second, smaller disc, also carved from this iridescent mineral, displays the seconds.

All three Audemars Piguet timepieces are driven by the calibre 5201, running at a gentle frequency of 3Hz (21,600 vibrations an hour) and with a power reserve of 49 hours.

Price on request

By Sharmila Bertin

audemars piguet royal oak offshore 25 anniversary lifestyle

AUDEMARS PIGUET – ROYAL OAK OFFSHORE 25th ANNIVERSARY

CELEBRATING A QUARTER OF A CENTURY

Audemars Piguet is celebrating 25 years of its Royal Oak Offshore with two remarkable timepieces, including a new, futuristic looking one.

2018 will mark Royal Oak Offshore’s 25th anniversary. During the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, the brand from Le Brassus will unveil two timepieces to celebrate the quarter-century of the iconic collection imagined by Emmanuel Gueit: a reissue of the original Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph, as well as a brand new Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph with a futuristic look. Audemars Piguet strikes hard and ever-so precisely!

audemars piguet royal oak offshore 25 anniversary lifestyle

The Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph, designed for the quarter centenary of the Audemars Piguet collection, boasts a 45 mm-diameter stainless steel or rose gold case. The 2947 calibre, developed exclusively for the occasion, is hand-wound and offers a 173-hour power reserve. It features a tourbillon, a chronograph, 30-minutes counter as well as a seconds, hours and minutes counter.

Audemars Piguet has designed a timepiece which will tempt collectors for the next 25 years thanks to its highly-elegant, futuristic style. As such, the somewhat rigid case has been revisited, softened, and complements the black rubber, ardillon-buckled strap. The Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph pursues the risky yet rewarding venture of the original model, viewed as groundbreaking back in the day and which continues to be a best seller even now.

 Price on request

 By Isabelle Guignet

audemars piguet royal oak offshore closeup

AUDEMARS PIGUET – ROYAL OAK OFFSHORE

IN THE PRIME OF LIFE

Collectors, watch out! For the 25th anniversary of the Royal Oak Offshore, Audemars Piguet is perpetuating the legend of its exceptional chronograph with an ideal re-release.

Since Audemars Piguet first launched its flagship sports chic chronograph, the 25721ST, over 120 models machined in a wide range of materials – steel, titanium, platinum – have been added to the Royal Oak Offshore collection. What do they have in common? They all have a 41mm-wide case, an octagonal bezel with visible screws and, for many of them, a dial with the tapisserie pattern. So at first sight, the extra-robust version of the iconic Royal Oak designed by Gérald Genta was easily recognisable!

audemars piguet royal oak offshore closeup

The re-release of the original model includes all its aesthetic attractions down to the last detail. So, the chronometer and the running seconds sub-dials are in their original place, as is the date counter topped with a magnifying glass. The crown, push pieces and dial come in the same deep blue colour. The hour and minute hands have also kept their original design, and point towards round indices. They are all coated in luminescent material for optimal readability in all conditions.

The timepiece is still driven by a self-winding movement. This is not the original calibre, however, but the 3126/3840 (50 hours of power reserve), first introduced in 2012 for the 20th anniversary of the chronograph.

This Royal Oak Offshore 2018 vintage is worn on the wrist with a steel strap that perfectly matches the case, which is also made of steel, and is watertight down to 100 metres. This anniversary edition will delight all fans of the brand from Le Brassus.

Price on request

By Dan Diaconu

audemars piguet royal oak tourbillon chrono squelette closeup

AUDEMARS PIGUET – ROYAL OAK TOURBILLON CHRONOGRAPH SKELETON

GARMENTS OF LIGHT FOR A TOURBILLON

Audemars Piguet provides a luxury setting to its most spectacular watch complication, with an exclusive version (in more than one sense) of the Royal Oak.

In the early 1970s, Audemars Piguet set Gerald Genta the task of creating a new timepiece. Crowned with his previous successes, the brilliant watchmaker handed in his work in 1971. Its main aesthetic feature? An octagonal bezel screwed to a case made from a single piece, case middle and back. The Royal Oak was born! For the 40th anniversary of this model – today an icon – the company from Le Brassus introduced a prestigious version of the model, the Extra Thin Royal Oak Tourbillon. Released in January 2016, the platinum Royal Oak Tourbillon Chronograph Skeleton (reference 26347) is a worthy descendent of the original model, just like the titanium version.

audemars piguet royal oak tourbillon chrono squelette closeup

Although it has a generous diameter of 44 mm, the case has kept the collection’s unique style. But unlike other models equipped with a dial with the famous tapestry pattern, this one is open-worked, revealing the workings of the self-winding mechanism. Once wound, the calibre 2936 provides 72 hours of power reserve. The subsidiary second counter is at 9 o’clock, and is used to check that the watch is working normally. The hour and minute hands with their Royal Oak shapes point to the applied indices. The large central hand and the minute totaliser at 3 o’clock provide readings of subsidiary times with the help of the chronograph complication. A tourbillon at 6 o’clock contributes to this exclusive timepiece’s cachet.

The Royal Oak Tourbillon Chronograph Skeleton is worn with a perfectly matching alligator leather or titanium strap, depending on the version.

Price: €288,750 (platinum) – €250,000 (titanium)

By Dan Diaconu

audemars piguet royal oak offshore summer edition caseback

AUDEMARS PIGUET – ROYAL OAK OFFSHORE CHRONOGRAPHE SUMMER EDITION

SUMMER TIME FOR THE ROYAL OAK

The Royal Oak Offshore collection has switched to summer time with a new sun-kissed model and all its signature features: a stylish and sporty design.

This summer saw Audemars Piguet unveil a new pair of limited edition watches to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the brand’s partner, Hôtel Byblos, in style: the Royal Oak Offshore Summer Edition. A model for women, alongside its mechanical counterpart for men, has launched in sun-kissed hues. The Brassus-based brand has focused heavily on art de vivre and joined forces with the legendary luxury hotel to put their passion and sophistication into this watch.

audemars piguet royal oak offshore summer edition caseback

Three blue-rimmed counters stand out on the 44mm dial and give the watch a racy look. The white rubber bracelet and rose gold deployment clasp give the rose gold case an extra glow and also comes in blue to give the Royale Oak Offshore Summer Edition a real summer feel.

Price: CHF 46,500

By Isabelle Guignet

audemars piguet royal oak perpetual calendar closeup

AUDEMARS PIGUET – ROYAL OAK PERPETUAL CALENDAR

THE POWER OF CERAMICS

Audemars Piguet made its first perpetual calendar wrist watch in 1955. A limited edition of nine gold pieces opened the way for this useful complication and has led, over 60 years later, to the Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar.

Launched at the beginning of the year at the Salon international de haute horlogerie (SIHH) in Geneva, this new Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar has an all-black case and dial.

audemars piguet royal oak perpetual calendar closeup

True to the aesthetic codes of the Royal Oak collection, the watch features the famous octagonal bezel equipped with eight screws to crown the black ceramic watch case. The case is 41mm wide, is waterproof down to 50m and has a sapphire glass back. This means part of its mechanism is visible – namely, the calibre 5134, designed and made in Audemars Piguet’s Vallée de Joux workshops. The self-winding mechanical movement has a gentle rhythm of 19 800 vibrations an hour (2.75Hz) and provides a power reserve of about 40 hours.

On the anthracite grey dial, we naturally also find the famous relief “Grande Tapisserie” chequerboard pattern dial. On the disc adorned with small squares are four round bevelled silver counters. The perpetual calendar is laid out as follows: the day of the week is at 9 o’clock, the date at 3 o’clock and the months, including leap-years, at 12 o’clock. A hand with an arrow tip is placed at the centre to show the week number (out of 52) on the black chapter ring, while at 6 o’clock is a shining moon phase. The hours and minutes are displayed by two central hands travelling round an hour rim with white gold indices.

Prix: 85,000 CHF

By Sharmila Bertin