Watches & Jewellery / Watches

Audemars Piguet unveils two new Royal Oak models

Stunning pieces continue the 50th anniversary celebrations of the iconic watch…

Sep 29, 2022 | By

With so much history, so many brands, and so many models, the world of horology seems to celebrate an anniversary of one kind or another most weeks. Many of these anniversaries pass by with little fanfare but the 50th birthday of Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak is one worthy of celebration.

One of the most iconic watches of all time, the Royal Oak has enjoyed a 50th anniversary with several new releases, giant billboards around the world and VIP events in London, New York, Singapore, Bangkok, Shanghai and Zurich. During these momentous celebrations, the brand were keen to reinforce its Royal Oak motto: from iconoclast to icon.

The latest arrivals at the Royal Oak birthday party are two new iterations of the beloved steel watch: a titanium selfwinding flying tourbillon and an all-black chronograph made from ceramic.

On the former, the tourbillon is of course the most eye catching feature of the 41mm watch, but let’s not forget the dazzling blue/green Grande Tapisserie dial and the updated, larger bevels on the case and strap.

The latter piece in black ceramic is satin brushed and hand polished to give it a beautifully sleek appearance. The hour markers, hands, sub-dials and Audemars Piguet logo in playful pink, meanwhile, pop out against the black Grande Tapisserie dial on this 41mm masterpiece.

Audemars Piguet CEO François-Henry Bennahmias, who announced he will step down from the top seat in 2023, says of the Royal Oak, “This model is universally recognisable, we are fortunate to have it.”

The Royal Oak began its remarkable journey in April 1972 when Audemars Piguet approached watch designer Gerald Genta to craft a sporty yet luxurious wristwatch in stainless steel. Working to a tight deadline, Genta found inspiration in the hexagonal screws that attached a helmet to a deep sea diver’s wetsuit and designed the distinctive watch in just one night.

The Royal Oak divided opinion upon its launch at the Basel Fair on April 15, 1972 and was the target of harsh criticism from watch critics. But its revolutionary, angular features and comfortable bracelet strap soon built a fanbase and, today, it is one of the most adored watches in the market. Most recently, DJ and music producer Mark Ronson became a brand ambassador, highlighting the brand’s cool factor.

Since its launch in 1972, more than 500 Royal Oak models have been sent out into the world from the brand’s manufacture in Le Brassus in the tranquil Vallee de Joux in Switzerland. These two most recent pieces in 2022 are fitting additions to an extraordinary watchmaking legacy.

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