Back in 2012, Audemars Piguet celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Royal Oak with this superb time-only, extra-thin tourbillon. Aesthetically, it brought back everything that made the original Royal Oak such an icon, including its unmistakable tapisserie motif on the dial. So when the brand showed us a new arrival from the Manufacture, we just had to take it for a spin on the wrist.
Inside, the Extra-Thin Tourbillon pays homage to the brand’s pioneering work in the field of miniaturization, which became so pivotal in the 1980s during the Quartz Revolution. In 1986, the brand from Le Brassus captured the industry’s attention with the world’s thinnest automatic tourbillon, measuring only 7,2mm wide and 2,5mm thick, and housed in the wristwatch shown below (made in 1988).
The new caliber 2924 of the Audemars Piguet Extra-Thin Royal Oak Tourbillon looks like a giant next to that, measuring 31,50mm wide and 4,46mm thick, but in today’s market, it also ranks very high as one of the thinnest tourbillons in prodcution. What it does with its extra millimeters is increase the tiny engine’s power reserve to a whopping 70 hours. No complaints there.
On the wrist the Audemars Piguet Tourbillon Royal Oak Extra-Thin feels incredibly comfortable once more, thanks to the iconic bracelet that Gerald Genta designed the watch around. Contrary to the popular tale that Mr. Genta drew the Royal Oak overnight after a vintage diver’s helmet, it was a trip to an Italian bracelet-maker which inspired Audemars Piguet’s flagship model, according to Audemars Piguet sources.
Purists may point to his original model when talking about the perfect Royal Oak, but we’ve seen quite a few of them wearing the Extra-Thin Tourbillon just as happily. Besides lowering the effects of gravity on the movement, the tourbillon also adds a bit of movement to the model. There’s a lot to see at the back as well, including a ¾ bridge, Cotes de Genéve decoration, and a very small power reserve indicator.
The Extra-Thin Royal Oak Tourbillon is available in stainless steel and in pink gold, prices at $170,900 and $229,800 respectively.
Photo Credit: Marion May for Haute Time. For more information, please visit the official Audemars Piguet website.