AP's Royal Oak restarts from Bulk Metallic Glass

Audemars Piguet has unveiled a series of new versions of the Royal Oak. Let's discover them all, starting with the one that made the most noise, the Extra-Thin "Jumbo," which combines two high-tech materials: titanium and Bulk Metallic Glass.

Following the launch of the one-of-a-kind Only Watch in 2021, Audemars Piguet has unveiled a new 39-millimeter model that brings significant innovation to the collection. This watch features a case and bracelet made with a combination of titanium and precious metallic glass known as BMG (Bulk Metallic Glass), a cutting-edge material choice. This novelty was co-developed with the addition of a palladium base, a novel feature, to give the material greater luster and scratch resistance.

The heart of this new watch is Caliber 7121, which was first introduced in 2022 in the new "Jumbo" model references (ref. 16202). This movement offers high precision performance and reliable durability, representing a breakthrough in watchmaking technology.

In addition, the watch features a smoky burgundy dial that adds a touch of elegance to its overall design. This detail lends a refined aesthetic to the watch, undoubtedly a highlight for those seeking a timepiece with a sophisticated and distinctive appearance. With this new creation, Audemars Piguet once again demonstrates its commitment to innovation and watchmaking craftsmanship in the haute horlogerie scene.

Royal Oak's new "Jumbo" Extra-Flat model introduces Bulk Metallic Glass for the first time in the collection, which we find on the bezel, case back, and bracelet lugs. Combined with the titanium case, this material creates a fascinating play of light that is enhanced by the smoky burgundy dial. Photo © Audemars Piguet
Royal Oak's new "Jumbo" Extra-Flat model introduces Bulk Metallic Glass for the first time in the collection, which we find on the bezel, case back, and bracelet lugs. Combined with the titanium case, this material creates a fascinating play of light that is enhanced by the smoky burgundy dial. Photo © Audemars Piguet

 

The Manufacture presents a significant innovation in its collection, combining titanium and bulk metallic glass (BMG) for the first time. BMG is a material known for its use mainly in microelectronics and golf, characterized by glass-like properties such as amorphism and hardness when cooled rapidly. Audemars Piguet decided to co-develop a palladium-based variant of BMG, providing the material not only with remarkable wear and corrosion resistance, but also with greater brilliance. This is the first time a palladium-based metallic glass has been used in a watch collection.

 

The production process dedicated to this material begins with casting and pouring BMG into molds to achieve the desired shape, followed by a rapid cooling process to preserve its inherent characteristics. After extraction from the molds, the parts are processed to their final shape. Because of the fast cooling process, the size and thickness of the parts are limited, allowing production only in small quantities at a time.

BMG is used for the bezel, case back frame, and bracelet lugs, and is polished to a mirror finish to highlight its scratch resistance. This finish, combined with the brilliance of the material, creates a striking contrast with the titanium case and bracelet links, which alternate polished and satin-finished decorations that are distinctive features of the Manufacture's timepieces. The "Pd500" mark is on the case back, indicating that the BMG contains more than 50 percent palladium.

 

Smoked burgundy dial with soleil pattern, 18K rose gold Royal Oak indexes and hands with luminescent coating. Photo © Audemars Piguet

The smoky burgundy dial of this new Royal Oak "Jumbo" Extra-Flat model is embellished with a soleil pattern. The vivid burgundy color creates an interesting contrast with the metallic tones of the high-tech materials of the case and bracelet, giving the watch a mysterious atmosphere. The luminescent hour markers and hands are made of eighteen-carat rose gold, with the AP monogram polished and applied at six o'clock. The date appears in pink tones against a dark burgundy background, completing the watch's overall aesthetic harmony.

 

The Royal Oak "Jumbo" Extra-Flat is equipped with Caliber 7121, introduced in 2022 to replace Caliber 2121, which has powered "Jumbo" models since 1972. The exclusiveRoyal Oak "Jumbo" Extra-Flat Only Watch was the last timepiece to be equipped with Caliber 2121; the introduction of Caliber 7121 in 2022 marked the beginning of a new generation of timepieces with this reference. At 3.2 mm thick, Caliber 7121 was developed and manufactured by Audemars Piguet engineers and watchmakers to fit into the iconic 8.1 mm case without altering the aesthetics or thickness of the watch. In addition, the crown is now equipped with a rapid date corrector.

After five years of development, Caliber 7121 produces more energy than its predecessor thanks to its new structure and wider barrel. This gain enables the mechanism to achieve greater precision over a longer period of time. The central oscillating weight is mounted on ball bearings and is equipped with two inverters that provide bidirectional winding. The balance wheel has weights built into the shim to avoid aerodynamic friction that would slow the movement. Caliber 7121 also features a patented date mechanism that is extremely slim and energy efficient. 

True to the Haute Horlogerie tradition, Caliber 7121 features elegant decorations, such as Côtes de Genève, circular satin-finishing, snailed finish, circular veining, and corner polishing, which can be admired through the sapphire crystal case back. The latter also reveals the 22-karat rose gold oscillating weight dedicated to the collection, which perfectly matches the color of the indexes and AP logo on the dial. 

 

Royal Oak "Jumbo" Extra-Flat Skeletonized (ref. 16204) 18-karat yellow gold case. The luminous case creates a refined setting for the avant-garde movement enclosed within: the Caliber 7124. The refined skeleton architecture, whose yellow gold hue matches the color of the case and bracelet, takes center stage on both sides of the watch. Photo © Audemars Piguet

In 2022, on the occasion of Royal Oak's 50th anniversary, the Royal Oak "Jumbo" Extra-Flat Skeleton model presented a new look, adopting a refined 18K yellow gold body. In keeping with tradition, this watch, with a thickness of 8.1 mm, has retained the characteristic aesthetic elements of the original 1972 model. The 39 mm yellow gold case and tapered bracelet have been carefully finished with an elegant combination of satin and polished bevels, creating a highlighted play of light.

Themovement's skeletonized réhaut and bridges match the yellow-gold hue of the case and bracelet . The dial is enhanced by polished white gold hour markers and hands, matching the hexagonal white gold screws that attach the bezel to the case and the gear train, visible through the movement's skeletonized bridges. In addition, the movement's gemstones, visible on the side of the dial, add a touch of color and sophistication to the ensemble.

Finally, the Audemars Piguet signature in long version is printed in black on the sapphire crystal of the watch, lending a touch of authenticity and identity to the creation.

 

Caliber 7124, an extra-flat automatic skeletonized movement, masterfully combines precision, performance, and tradition in the art of skeletonizing. Only 2.7 mm thick, this movement offers hour and minute displays and was custom designed and manufactured by Audemars Piguet's engineers and watchmakers. This parallel work with Caliber 7121 was aimed at ensuring perfect integration into the extra-flat 8.1 mm "Jumbo" case without altering its aesthetics or thickness.

Caliber 7124 operates at a frequency of 4 Hz and offers a remarkable autonomy of 57 hours when the watch is not worn. This is made possible by its large barrel, which contributes to accuracy over time. In addition, the movement features a thin 22-carat rose gold-plated yellow gold skeletonized oscillating weight mounted on ball bearings and uses two in-house developed invertors to ensure bidirectional winding. To enhance performance, inertial blocks have been inserted inside the balance wheel to avoid unnecessary friction and improve performance.

The skeletonized structure of Caliber 7124 is visible both on the dial and on the sides of the case back. This sophisticated design was achieved through a combination of advanced technology and craftsmanship, along with great attention to detail. The position and geometries of each component were carefully planned from the beginning to create a harmonious and balanced skeletonized aesthetic. The main plate and bridges were initially cut by computer numerical control (CNC) machining and then carefully finished to achieve the desired shape. Each component was decorated with Haute Horlogerie techniques such as traits tirés, snailed finishes, and polished bevels. Finally, the 247 polished V-shaped angles in the movement testify to the exceptional craftsmanship of Audemars Piguet's artisans.

 

Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph Automatic / 43 mm. Black ceramic case, blue ceramic bezel, sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating, titanium case back and sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating, blue ceramic screw-down pushers and crown, titanium pushers and bracelet lugs protectors, water-resistant to 100 m. Photo © Audemars Piguet

Audemars Piguet also recently introduced two new 43mm Royal Oak Offshore Automatic Chronograph models, marking the 30th anniversary of the collection. These variants join the references previously announced earlier this year, and are distinguished by the use of different materials, including ceramic, titanium, and gold.

Both models offer an ergonomic design and feature calfskin leather straps with fabric effect. They are powered by the latest self-winding chronograph movement produced in-house by the Manufacture, Caliber 4401.

The first model features a black ceramic case with a blue ceramic bezel, pushers, and crown, creating an eye-catching contrast. The ceramic components are skillfully finished with Audemars Piguet's distinctive handmade finish. Button guards and titanium lugs further enrich the design. The dial sports a deep smoky blue Méga Tapisserie pattern, gradually fading to black towards the outside. This dial houses three black subdials positioned horizontally at 9, 6 and 3 o'clock, with white gold baton hour markers and luminescent hands for optimal legibility.

 

Unlike a regular chronograph, the flyback function allows the model to be reset and restarted with a single push of the button. The column wheel works symbiotically with the vertical coupling system. When the chronograph starts or stops, the second hand responds immediately and smoothly. IN PHOTO THE 26420OI.OO.A015VE.01 RFERENCE 18K rose gold case, titanium bezel, sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating, 18K rose gold case back. Photo © Audemars Piguet

The second variant of this 43 mm Royal Oak Offshore Automatic Chronograph features a luminous design that combines an 18K rose gold case with titanium details, such as the bezel, bracelet lugs, and push-button guards. To maintain a consistent color balance, the crown and pushers are made of black ceramic, which echoes the color of the chronograph counters on the gray dial featuring the Méga Tapisserie motif. The dial is further embellished with rose gold baton hour markers and hands with luminescent coating to ensure good readability in all conditions.

Both models of the 43mm Royal Oak Offshore Automatic Chronograph are equipped with the strap replacement system introduced by Audemars Piguet in 2021. Woven-effect calfskin straps, coordinated with the color of the dials, add a touch of elegance and sophistication. These straps feature black stitching surrounding them. In addition, each watch comes with a second black rubber strap, offering a sportier and more versatile option for buyers.

As for the movement, both models are powered by Caliber 4401, the latest integrated self-winding chronograph movement produced in-house by Audemars Piguet. This movement features a column wheel and flyback function, ensuring a fully integrated chronograph with reliable performance.

 

Royal Oak Minute Repeater Supersonnerie, 42 mm black ceramic case and black dial with Grande Tapisserie pattern, black rubber strap. © photo Audemars Piguet

Audemars Piguet introduces the first editions of its Royal Oak Minute Repeater Supersonnerie watches with a case made of black ceramic. These two timepieces feature an all-black ceramic case back, a first for Audemars Piguet. The caseback is designed with numerous side openings that aim to amplify the sound of the minute repeater when the watch is worn. The creation of this caseback requires meticulous fabrication and finishing of the ceramic components to highlight their nuances and faceted shape, which echoes the distinctive design of the Royal Oak case.

 

The ceramic used in these watches contains Zirconium Oxide (ZrO2) powder mixed with a bonding agent, and achieves its final uniform color through a high-temperature sintering process exceeding 1000°C. Each ceramic component is pre-polished and pre-satinized before being carefully hand-finished to achieve Audemars Piguet's distinctive alternating satin and polished bevels. The casebacks of these watches are also engraved with sound waves, in homage to the extraordinary acoustic performance guaranteed by the Supersonnerie mechanism.

The monochromatic black design continues on the dials with Grande Tapisserie motif, which house the minute train and small seconds counter at 6 o'clock, both decorated with snailed finishes. The first version features white gold hour markers with luminescent coating to ensure good legibility, while the second variant is embellished with 13 baguette-cut diamond hour markers, creating a sparkling contrast. Both models feature white gold Royal Oak hands with luminescent coating for excellent readability. The white gold details on the dial echo the eight hexagonal white gold screws that attach the octagonal bezel to the case.

Each watch is complemented by a black rubber strap, embellished with titanium lugs, and a new three-blade AP folding clasp, also made of titanium.

 

Caliber 2953 hand-wound movement. Total diameter 30 mm (13 lines). Total thickness 6 mm. Number of rubies 32. Number of components 362. Minimum guaranteed power reserve 72 hours. Balance frequency 3 Hz (21,600 vibrations/hour).

The two timepieces are equipped with the Manufacture's latest hand-wound minute repeater movement, the patented Caliber 2953, which combines advanced technology with refined traditional finishing. Despite the limited sound conductivity of ceramic, the two timepieces feature remarkable acoustic performance thanks to the Manufacture's Supersonnerie technology, introduced in 2015. 

Developed by Audemars Piguet and launched in the Royal Oak Concept collection, the Supersonnerie mechanism gives the Manufacture's latest minute repeater models the volume and resonance usually associated with pocket watches. This patented technology is the result of eight years of research in collaboration with the Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne (EPFL). Inspired by the sonic power of the oldest minute repeater watches and the harmony of musical instruments, a select group of watchmakers, technicians, academics and musicians revised the case structure to produce a new chiming technology. 

Acoustic performance, sound quality, and harmonic tone are outstanding and guaranteed by the patented gongs, case structure, and sound signaling mechanism developed at the time. One of the major developments concerns the case structure: the gongs are not attached to the main plate, but to a titanium membrane that acts as a soundboard and improves sound transmission. Combined with a solid case back with small side openings for air to pass through, the titanium membrane allows the minute repeater notes to resonate perfectly when the watch is on the wrist, regardless of the materials used for the external parts. 

In fact, the acoustics of Supersonnerie technology are such that Audemars Piguet has been able to combine it with a variety of different materials for the cases in its collections, from titanium to 950 platinum to 18-karat white and rose gold. Each watch thus offers a powerful and unique hue. This year the Manufacture pushed sound experimentation even further, presenting its first Supersonnerie Minute Repeater models in black ceramic. The casebacks, which play a key role in creating a resonance chamber together with the Supersonnerie membrane, are also made of black ceramic. Because the titanium membrane on which the gongs are attached enhances the sound transmission of the ceramic, the result is a powerful and crystal clear. 

 

Royal Oak Selfwinding / 37 mm - 15552OR.ZZ.1358OR.01

Audemars Piguet also presented new Royal Oak models set with diamonds using a "snow" technique. These 34- and 37-mm Haute Joaillerie watches are designed for smaller wrists and are made of 18-karat white or rose gold, embellished with brilliant-cut diamonds of various sizes. The rare and highly technical "snow-set" setting technique creates a luminous effect that highlights the multifaceted architecture of the Royal Oak, ricking up the atmosphere of a winter landscape..

 

Royal Oak Selfwinding / 34 mm - 77452OR.ZZ.1365OR.01

The new 34 and 37 mm Royal Oak Selfwinding watches combine fine watchmaking and fine jewelry. These four watches are fully covered with brilliant-cut diamonds ranging from 0.5 mm to 2.2 mm in diameter, using the artisanal technique of snow-setting, a first in the Royal Oak collection. In addition, the 34 mm models represent the first watches fully set in this size. While the two 34 mm models count a total of 2,255 brilliant-cut diamonds (~6.6 carats), the 37 mm models show 2,123 (~7.2 carats), all meeting the Manufacture's high standards in terms of clarity, cut and color.

The snow setting that adorns each piece is an expression of the gem setter's talent. Diamonds of different sizes are individually selected and carefully placed on the dial, bezel, and case, as well as on each bracelet link and clasp, creating an irregular but uniformly sparkling design. Each clasp is also individually crafted to accommodate the dedicated diamond. The brilliant-cut stones are then carefully arranged so that the gold components holding them in place are almost invisible to the eye, creating a diamond mosaic reminiscent of freshly fallen snowflakes dancing in the light.

Given the influence of gem setting on the geometry and strength of the watch, the design and production teams worked closely with the gem setter throughout the manufacturing process to ensure the water resistance, reliability, sturdiness, and repairability of each watch, as well as maintaining the distinctive aesthetic codes of Royal Oak.

 

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