Watch enthusiasts are a difficult bunch to please. So when a brand announces a big year ahead, they’ve learned to lessen their expectations. But no one could have predicted how well Audemars Piguet would deliver in 2014. The independent brand made the perfect homage to a classic, the Royal Oak Offshore, while also introducing the highly complicated and novel Tourbillon Chronograph, cased in 950 platinum. We took a look at some of the new pieces, which were receiving the finishing touches at the manufacture during our visit.
Audemars Piguet revisited the Royal Oak Offshore 42mm range in 2014, and one of our favorite new models was the new Safari (pictured below). So we were delighted to see a few of them inside the manufacture before they went to their future owners.
Instead of introducing a radical redesign, Audemars Piguet made subtle changes to the new Safari, re-sizing the crown, push pieces, and guards, and replacing the black rubber used for the push pieces and crown, with black ceramic. The numerals were made more pronounced, and the sub-dials are now framed with polished raised borders. The iconic “Méga Tappiserie” dial also has a sharper cut.
Of course, the new Safari wasn’t the only novelty in the new 42mm line, and, of the four stainless steel models also bearing the reference 26470, we found the Black model with black ceramic screw-locked crown and pushpieces (pictured below).
The black “Méga Tapisserie” pattern dial contrasts with the white Arabic numerals, and white gold Royal Oak hands. The luminescent coating on the numerals and hands also makes it one of the sportier models in the new 42mm line. This timepiece comes with a hand-stitched “Hornback” black alligator strap (not pictured), and is priced at $26,000.
Parallel to the new Offshore 42mm collection, Audemars Piguet released the equally impressive Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph, in platinum (pictured above). While the manufacture conservatively calls this timepiece a “sophisticated chronograph,” it’s nothing but exceptional. This chrono-tourbillon is housed in a solid 950 platinum case and features a wealth of opulent detailing.
It features an openworked dial at 6, 9 and 12 o’clock, with a silver-toned counter, Arabic numerals and white gold Royal Oak hands with luminescent coating. Inside, it houses the Calibre 2933, a manually- wound movement made from 291 components, and boasting a monster 10 day power reserve. It’s price is also a monster at $313,900.
The third model in Audemars Piguet’s winning ‘trifecta’ this year, was the Royal Oak Tourbillon Concept GMT (pictured above). The latest timepiece in the Concept collection features a 44mm titanium case with white ceramic bezel, crown and pushpieces. Just like the manufacture’s previous Concept watches, the dial is open-worked, sending the eye directly to the tourbillon carriage, while a GMT time zone is displayed at 3 o’clock. The watch houses the Calibre 2930, a newly developed manually-wound movement which incorporates ceramic into the actual movement. The model also comes in white ceramic (pictured below).
During the tour, we also caught a glimpse of the Audemars Piguet Millenary 4101 (pictured below). Released in 2011 during that year’s SIHH, it’s one of the most sought after AP timepieces, especially among young collectors, because it offers such a contrast to the iconic Royal Oak Offshore.
The Audemars Piguet Millenary 4101 reveals the beating heart of the watch without compromising the look of its anthracite and silver-toned dial. Both are visible inside the Millenary’s iconic oval case. The Millenary 4101, model 15350, features the caliber 4101, a selfwinding movement which the watch is named after (pictured below). It has a whopping 60 hours of power reserve, and features a 22-carat gold oscillating weight.
Hours and minutes are displayed on an off-centered disc at 3 o’clock, while the balance, lever, and escapement feature on the other side, at 9 o’clock. In the middle, a black small seconds counter offers some balance to the busy dial. The Millenary 4101 is priced at $20,600 in steel, and comes in a rose gold version for $33,900. This is what it would look like on your wrist, should you feel tempted.
Last, but not least, was the ladies’ Royal Oak Quartz, a rose gold Royal Oak with 40 brilliant-cut diamonds set on the bezel, and a date function at 3 o’clock (pictured below). It’s a very delicate design, with a bit of brilliance.
For more information, please visit Audemars Piguet.