The Royal Oak Ref.15202ST might be on its way out, but that isn’t stopping Audemars Piguet from sending the line off with a bang. Not only has the Swiss horological icon announced a new variation of the classic integrated bracelet timepiece, it has bolstered it with the kind of technology watch fans have long been yearning for. Feast your eyes on the new Audemars Piguet RD#3, a modern marvel emblazoned with the stunning Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Extra-Thin movement. Forget big, this announcement is Jumbo, in every sense of the word.
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Unveiled to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the signature line, the new RD#3 arrives brimming with nods to past iterations. From the outside, the new Royal Oak looks every bit as impressive as its predecessors, highlighted by the signature satin-brushed and polished hand finishes, and adorned with a Bleu Nuit, Nuage 50 Petite Tapisserie dial. Slim by nature, the 39mm stainless steel model measures just 8.1mm in thickness, however, it’s what is inside that should have AP fans excited. The brand claims that the impressive anniversary edition is the first “Jumbo” in history to be equipped with a selfwinding flying tourbillon, the pinnacle of modern watchmaking excellence. What’s more, the watch itself is endowed with a sapphire caseback, meaning the new ultra-thin calibre 2968 movement and dedicated oscillating weight are on full display.
According to Michael Friedman, head of communications at Audemars Piguet, the timepiece is the culmination of over five years of research and development. Traditionally reserved for 41mm watches, the powerful movement was never designed to fit in such a slim case, however, some creative ingenuity on the part of AP’s craftsmen has birthed something truly unique.
“The Royal Oak continues to evolve and cut through the timeline 50 years after its creation and will do so for the next 50 years and beyond,” Friedman said. “It remains a platform for both technical and aesthetic development, as demonstrated by the new ultra-thin flying tourbillon making its debut on both the classic 39 mm and the celebrated 37 mm Royal Oak models. The movement architecture was designed to offer a unique view of the smaller cage while showcasing an engaging contrast of hand-finishing techniques throughout.”
The Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Extra-Thin has been tinkered with significantly, with a new escapement added to accentuate the aesthetic details while also revealing part of the movement’s workings. Further to that, AP also revised the geometry and positioning of the balance wheel arms, an update that now sees the flying tourbillon placed at the dial level for the first time.
It must be noted that recognising an esteemed anniversary for a watch as iconic as the Royal Oak is no mean feat, particularly in light of recent interest. Over the past few years, collectors have been snapping up Royal Oaks at will, meaning the task of creating something entirely new to mark 50 years was always going to be a challenge, and yet, Audemars Piguet has surpassed all expectations. The Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Extra-Thin takes the very best of the iconic timepiece and reimagines it with a completely new experience, both visually and mechanically. If ever there was a fitting tribute to an influential release, this would be it.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Extra-Thin Specs
Brand: Audemars Piguet
Model: Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Extra-Thin
Functions: Flying tourbillon, hours, minutes
Case: Stainless steel case, glareproofed sapphire crystal and caseback, water-resistant to 50m.
Case thickness: 8.1 mm
Dial: Bleu Nuit, Nuage 50 dial with Petite Tapisserie pattern, white gold applied hour-markers and Royal Oak hands with luminescent coating.
Bracelet: Stainless steel bracelet with AP folding clasp.
Calibre: Selfwinding Calibre 2968
Number of parts: 226
Number of jewels: 33