Early Thursday morning India time, the embargo on all new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and Code 11.59 launches was lifted, and released into the world were 19 new references for the year 2023. Here’s a distilled lowdown on them.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak ‘Jumbo' Extra Thin
Without a doubt, Audemar’s Piguet’s most loved model is the 15202, or the steel 39mm Extra-Thin Royal Oak Jumbo. Revealing a new version of it, Audemars Piguet has now introduced the Ref. 16202, which is a 39mm 18K white gold version with a blue, grained dial. This is boutique exclusive, which means that it will be available only at Audemars Piguet boutiques worldwide.
Ref. 16202 The grained dial design is inspired by the 20th anniversary of the Royal Oak collection made in 1992 in which a platinum Ref. 14802 featured a grained dial. The design is meant to be an interpretation of the night sky over Le Brassus, where the brand is headquartered - the fine, bright grained texture is achieved via PVD and then covered with a translucent coating that accentuates the relief. The dial features white gold hour markers and hands with a luminescent coating, along with the date window at 3 o’clock. The watch is powered by the Calibre 7121 that was launched last year for the Royal Oak’s 50th anniversary. It has a power reserve of 55 hours.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Self-winding - 34mm, 37mm, 41mm
The highlight piece in this design is the 37mm 18K yellow gold watch (Ref. 15550BA.OO. 1356BA.01) with a natural turquoise dial, which has been sourced from Mexico. The dial has been cut to form a slender disc, after which the turquoise has been ground, sandblasted, and polished before being integrated into a gilded brass outer casing. Given the natural disposition of the material, each dial is unique thanks to the composition, texture, and colour, reacting differently to machining operations or finishes.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding 37mm Ref. 15550BA.OO. 1356BA.01
The date window appears at 3 o’clock in the same colour as the stone, and the polished yellow gold applique "Audemars Piguet" signature has been fixed to the dial with the help of tiny feet specially designed to fit the thickness of the stone. The watch is powered by the Calibre 5900, which first appeared in 2022 on certain 37mm references. This movement has a 4Hz frequency and a 60-hour power reserve.
Now moving to the other two variants. Two new Royal Oak Selfwinding models in 34mm (Ref.77451BC.ZZ.1261BC.01) and 37mm (Ref. 15551BC.ZZ.1356BC.01) have been created in 18K white gold. The highlights of the timepieces are the Grande Tapisserie dial in a new smoked dark blue hue, while the hour markers and bezel are set with baguette-cut diamonds – the latter is a first for the 34mm. The dial’s colour is obtained by Physical Vapour Deposition (PVD), and the gradient effect achieved by spraying coloured varnish onto the dial’s periphery, while the dial is rotating.
Royal Oak Selfwinding 34 mm Ref. 77451BC.ZZ.1261BC.01
The dial features white gold hands filled with luminescence, while the embossed gold logo has been fixed by hand to the dial. There is a date window at 3 o’clock. The 34mm is powered by the automatic Calibre 5800 which has a power reserve of minimum 50 hours, and the 37mm, by the Calibre 5900, with 60 hours of autonomy. Both movements are fitted with the collection’s 22K pink gold oscillating weight.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding 37mm Ref. 15551BC.ZZ.1356BC.01
The last of the self-winding models launched is the 41mm white gold (Ref. 15510BC.OO.1320BC.02) with a light blue Grand Tapesserie dial. This is non-gem-set version with applied hour markers and Royal Oak hands in white gold with luminescent coating. The is powered by the Self-winding calibre 4302 with a minimum of 70 hours power reserve.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding 41mm Ref. 15510BC.OO.1320BC.02
The gem-set Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronographs – 38mm and 41mm
In keeping with the 34mm and 37mm smoked blue dials, Audemars Piguet has introduced the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronographs in 38mm (Ref. 26715BC.ZZ.1356BC.01) with a smoked blue dial. Retaining the same features as the non-chrono versions, the dial features white gold hands filled with luminescence, while the embossed gold logo has been fixed by hand to the dial. At 3 o’clock rests the 30-minute counter, at 6 is the small seconds, and at 9, the 12-hour counter; a date window rests at 4:30. The watch is powered by the selfwinding Calibre 2385.
Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronograph 38mm Ref. 26715BC.ZZ.1356BC.01
Other versions of the gem-set Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronographs include the 38mm 18K white gold (Ref.26715BC.ZZ.1356BC.02) and pink gold (Ref. 26715OR.ZZ.1356OR.02) versions with black onyx dials, and baguette-cut diamonds adorning the bezel and hour markers. At 3 o’clock rests the 30-minute counter, at 6 is the small seconds, and at 9, the 12-hour counter – the rings of the subdials match the material of the case. A date window rests at 4:30. The highlight of the timepieces are the black, onyx dials, whose sheen complements the gems on the watch. The timepieces are also powered by the Calibre 2385.
Then there are two gem-set chronos is 41mm. The first is the Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronograph (Ref. 26240BC.SS.1320BC.01) crafted in 18K white gold, its bezel paved with baguette-cut blue sapphires. The dial features the signature Grande Tapisserie pattern in blue, while the chronograph counters are in a contrasting light blue. The watch is powered by the selfwinding Calibre 4401 featuring a column wheel and a flyback function.
Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronograph 41 mm Ref. 26240BC.SS.1320BC.01
The second is the Ref. 26240BC.GG.1324BC.02 with a frosted 18K white gold case. The ‘frosting’ is inspired by a Florentine hammering technique, where tiny notches are created on the surface of the gold using a diamond-tipped tool. The watch features a smoked, light blue dial with “Grande Tapisserie” motif, light blue counters, applied hour markers and white gold Royal Oak hands with luminescent coating. It is also powered by Calibre 4401.
Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronograph 41mm Ref. 26240BC.GG.1324BC.02
Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon - 41mm
In keeping with the smoked blue dials, Audemars Piguet has also introduced a 41mm 18K white gold flying tourbillon watch (Ref. 26730BC.ZZ.1320BC.02). The watch features a light blue Grand tapisserie motif, with hour markers and the bezel set with baguette-cut diamonds, and white gold Royal Oak hands with luminescent coating. The flying tourbillon is set at 6 o’clock, and the watch is powered by the Calibre 2950.
Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon 41mm Ref. 26730BC.ZZ.1320BC.02
Design evolution of the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet
Amongst all its watches released, the biggest design update has happened in Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet. For the first time ever, the line has seen the introduction of steel – so far ceramic, white gold and pink gold have been the mainstay of the collection.
Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Selfwinding 41mm
With steel comes the challenge of machining the material as steel is harder to manipulate than gold. Using its expertise, Audemars Piguet has created stylised tumbled lugs and a thin bezel across its six new references. There are three 41mm time and date models – blue, green, and beige – with a new stamped dial of concentric circles. It has been developed by Audemars Piguet in collaboration with Swiss guilloché craftsman Yann von Kaenel. The pattern of waves on the dial that move outwards from the centre is decorated with hundreds of tiny holes that play with the light. This is then coloured via PVD.
Other updates include the introduction of elongated hour markers instead of Arabic numerals, and flattened, faceted and polished hands that stand out against the textured dial. The hour-markers and hands are coated with Super-LumiNova. There is also an inner bezel, closer to the dial now, featuring a detailed seconds scale. The steel crown is now more rounded and the two beige models have black ceramic caps, and the bracelet has the AP monogram instead of the engraved Audemars Piguet. The watches are paired with a matching rubber strap decorated with a textile pattern and lined with calf leather. The ceramic case middle of the beige variant
The colours that appear on the new Code 11.59 are Bleu Nuit, Nuage 50, green moving towards khaki, and beige, with the colour scheme being followed in the chrono models as well. The biege in specific is contrasted with a black ceramic case middle and crown. The six models are driven by the Calibre 4302 with a seconds and date indication, and Calibre 4401, with an integrated self-winding chronograph movement with a column wheel and flyback function.
The new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph
On the occasion of 30th anniversary of the Royal Oak Offshore, Audemars Piguet has unveiled two Royal Oak Offshores. The first is a 43mm black ceramic case with gold accents (Ref. 26420CE.OO.A127CR.01), which features on the dial, bracelet and case. The dial has a black Méga Tapisserie dial, with an array of textures, depths and lines. The applied AP is in polished gold, and the hands and hourmarkers are formed of yellow gold and decorated with black lacquer. Lastly, a black minute track stands out against a yellow gold background, while the tachymeter scale is in white. Powering the watch is the selfwinding Calibre 4401, with a column wheel and a flyback function. The case is flanked by a black alligator strap with golden stitching. The strap is interchangeable.
Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph 43mm Ref. 26420CE.OO.A127CR.01
The second Royal Oak Offshore models is the 43mm first-ever black ceramic case (Ref. 26238CE) with a matching bracelet and a black Petite Tapisserie dial. This watch is powered by Calibre 4404, Audemars Piguet’s integrated chronograph movement with a flyback function. On the dial, there is a circular date at 3 o’clock, with the small seconds at 6 o’clock, chronograph minutes at 9 o’clock and chronograph hours at 12 o’clock – the layout highlights the famous vertical arrangement of the collection.
Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph 42mm 26238CE.OO.1300CE.01
Images: Courtesy Audemars Piguet