Audemars Piguet introduced not one but six new references in its Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph collection in a new 42mm size, called the 26470 collection. I say new, because more recent ROOs have been 44mm, with some special editions even larger, but the original ROO launched in 1993 was 42mm, and today that size seems appropriate once again as watches are increasingly being scaled back. The new collection is more refined, with downsized, sculpted hour markers and faceted hands.
The new pieces also indicate AP’s commitment to ceramic. The crowns and pushpieces are now black ceramic instead of rubber, and the new ROO Diver watch is made entirely of white ceramic. Most striking of all about the new ROO collection is the sapphire caseback, through which the movement can now be seen, including a 22-carat gold engraved rotor. New models include navy, black with red highlighting , all-grey (a favorite that is being dubbed “the elephant”), ivory and brown, and a stunning pink gold version.
Also on display was the new white ceramic version of the Royal Oak Concept watch, a GMT Tourbillon in titanium that includes a striking white ceramic upper bridge, crown and push buttons. It contains the caliber 2930, with two barrels for a 10-day power reserve, with a linking system that reduces pressure in the gearing, offsets torque variations, and gives increased running precision, greater power reserve and enhanced reliability. The H (Hour), N (Neutral) and R (Remontage) indications correspond to the three positions of the winding stem, meaning time-setting, neutral and winding respectively.
Audemars Piguet’s Guilio Papi says, “For us, the Concept watch is like a laboratory to test new technology, shapes, materials and ergonomics. And it’s a good laboratory; it helps us to observe the reaction of the market.” Papi says market response has been favorable; indeed, ceramic, the Concept watch’s most obvious feature, is used throughout the new ROO collection.
Another highlight was an18k red gold version of the Millenary Minute Repeater, which is fitted with the brand’s proprietary lubricant-free escapement. And a new ladies’ self-winding Royal Oak Jewelry, in a scaled back 41mm, set with just over 4 carats of diamonds (of which there is also a chronograph version), and a diamond-bezel Royal Oak Offshore in a 37mm case.
Papi’s favorite every day watch in the AP line? The Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar – “but the numerals are too small,” he says. Look for changes to that model within the next two years, he says.