Royal Oak Selfwinding
The word “audacious“ is invoked far too often in the world of watches, and although the Royal Oak may seem tame by today’s standards, it was really audacious when it debuted in 1972. It was a precious timepiece in a non-precious metal, carrying a luxury price. Over the years, AP left well-enough alone, and the rest, as they say, is history. Currently, the Royal Oak stands as a design icon, and it is by far the best known Audemars Piguet collection.
Our featured model, reference 15400, is the largest Royal Oak produced to date.Despite at 41 mm, the case would hardly be considered oversize by today’s standards. The blue Grande Tapisserie dial, referred to by some as the “waffle” dial, is perhaps as well-known as the octagonal bezel. Any watch enthusiast will instantly recognize this classic. Beneath the trademark dial ticks the automatic-winding manufacture caliber 3120 with 40 jewels, a solid 22k gold winding rotor, and a 60 hour power reserve.
Royal Oak Offshore Diver
If the Royal Oak is an icon, its big brother, the Royal Oak Offshore (“ROO” to those in the know) is a modern sensation. Offshores are Royal Oaks turned up to 11. Today the ROO seems like a natural development, but when the concept was first proposed, it shocked even AP management. Fortunately, the Offshore received a green light, and a new Royal Oak era was born.
Our featured watch is the Royal Oak Offshore Diver, reference 15703ST, and it is among the most popular members of the Offshore family. It features the “rubber-clad” accents often found on Offshore models, The case measures 42 mm x 13.9 mm and it offers 300 meter water resistance. The crown at 10 o’clock turns the internal bezel with the typical countdown markings. The Mega Tapisserie dial is a larger version of that found on the Royal Oak shown above, and the broad hands offer excellent legibility. The in-house caliber 3120 provides the power.
The Millenary 4101 is Audemars Piguet’s modern spin on the classic dress watch, and like the Royal Oak Offshore, the size and shape of the case set this watch apart immediately. Our featured model, reference 15350ST, measures 47 mm from 9 to 3.
Perhaps,the case the first thing that catches the eye, nonetheless the movement is the star of the show. Unlike many shaped watches, the Millenary’s in-house caliber 4101 movement fits the case and follows its form perfectly. Although at first glance this may look like a so-called skeleton watch, in reality it is not – no material has been removed from any component to enhance the view. The small dials leave plenty of room to enjoy the traditionally-finished movement beneath, and the sapphire display back offers visual enjoyment from that side as well.
The movement has been designed to create a deep, three-dimensional effect. The construction exposes the freesprung balance at 3 o’clock, and AP has thoughtfully inverted the escapement to improve the view from the dial side. The manufacture caliber 4101 features a solid 22k gold winding rotor spinning on ceramic bearings. Each part of the movement is decorated by hand. These time-consuming operations by highly trained specialists contribute significantly to the cost of the watch.