The Royal Oak just got a lot more gilt.
Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak needs little introduction, but for those who are new to this holy grail watch business, this is one of them. Now, the brand’s most iconic watch gets not one, but two seriously gilded upgrades, making it the watch to get your hands on this year — if you’re quick enough, that is.
Available in extremely limited quantities of 70 examples in 950 platinum and 30 in 18K rose gold, the new watches are not only rare, but will also require a fair bit of connections to obtain, seeing as a large number of this scant quantity will be made exclusively available at Yoshida, a Tokyo retailer.
These “Jumbo” versions sport a 39mm case that would sit nicely on most wrists — even the ladies’. It’s also extra-thin at only 8.1mm thick, making it a versatile piece that would fare just as well under suits as it would with denim shirts on a casual day out.
What’s more interesting, however, is that Audemars Piguet has decided to forgo its signature Grand Tapisserie dial in favour of a more elegant black onyx dial. The obsidian stone — said to absorb and transform negative energy — provides the perfect backdrop for the 11 brilliant-cut diamonds that mark the hours. Royal Oak hands with luminescent coatings run the show here, and are delightfully minimal to keep the focus on the watch’s well-loved sophisticated-meets-industrial aesthetics.
Both the platinum and rose gold versions are powered by the in-house, self-winding Calibre 2121, with 40 hours of power reserve and a water resistance of up to 50m.
Even with all the hype surrounding the Royal Oak, it comes as quite a surprise that the watchmaker would adopt a strategy commonly used by streetwear labels to launch these. The watches were quietly dropped on its website instead of a launch with plenty of press fanfare, signalling that the Swiss brand might be exploring fresher, less formal ways of pushing its new wares in the future.
This article first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Singapore.