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The Craft

For over a century, Audemars Piguet has devised endlessly inventive horological masterpieces. Discover the intricacies of the craft - the ways history influences design, the methods by which components are handcrafted, and the ever-present focus on excellence.

The openworked extra-thin Royal Oak Tourbillon epitomizes the expression of our savoir-faire.

Part I

Designing & Developing

Envisioning the future of a classic.

We set out to evolve the classic Royal Oak DNA through a bold new expression in the Openworked Extra-Thin Royal Oak Tourbillon.

Bringing visionaries and virtuosos together

Housed under one roof, our design and development teams work in concert over the course of 3-5 years to turn an idea into a perfect, functioning timepiece.

  • Octavio Garcia, Audemars Piguet's Art Director, sketches out his vision of the
    Openworked Extra-Thin Royal Oak Tourbillon.

  • Computer designers and art directors collaborate to evolve the sketch into a more concrete vision.

    • A 10:1 scale model is produced from the CAD model. This draws attention to any issues before the smaller prototype version is made.

    • Depending on the complexity of the movement, one to five prototypes are performed to validate the caliber.

    • It takes on average one month for watchmakers and 3D engineers to create a finished prototype.

We put as much thought into building our work environment as we do into producing our timepieces.

Every part requires a setting that is uniquely designed to produce perfection.

Part II

Making The Components

Hand-crafted inside and out.

In our pursuit of perfecting timepieces by hand, we meticulously craft each piece with precision and expertise.

The Royal Oak
Main Plate

Several steps are involved in finishing every skeletonized mainplate, each carried out by hand: flanking & beveling, perlage and polishing.

  • The purpose of openworking is to enhance transparency and aesthetic appeal. Openings are made in certain parts of the watch to reveal the beauty of the mechanism, without touching the vital parts that ensure smooth running.

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      Beveling is a meticulous finish that greatly contributes to the beauty of the mainplate by highlighting the rim.

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      This process eliminates the edges between the surface and flanks to form a bezel that will subsequently be polished.

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      High-end watchmaking employs the process of flanking to ensure the quality of the beveling.

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      The sides of the mainplate are retouched by hand to eliminate any trace of imperfection.

  • BeforeAfter

    Perlage is a type of decoration used on bridges, bars, plates, recesses and dials. A turning rod marks the surface with extremely close concentric or even overlapping lines to form the motif.

    • Linear Graining 1

      The mainplate is held into place while a slate stick or buff is guided across the surface.

    • Linear Graining 2

      Linear graining creates fine lines and enhances brilliance.

Additional Openworked Extra-Thin Royal Oak Tourbillon Components —

The CaseMaking a Royal Oak case blends the accuracy of modern machinery with the expertise of meticulous hands.
The BraceletThe bracelet is distinguished by its tapered construction featuring links arranged in decreasing order of size to avoid making the watch too heavy. No two links are identical, and the results are evidenced in the perfect integration and extremely precise fit between case and bracelet.
The HandsThe surface and the bevels of the hands and hour-markers are polished to give them a special shine. Adding the final touch of refinement, the hourmarkers of the Royal Oak dials are riveted, meaning inserted and not stamped onto the dial.
    • The Case

      This decoration begins by sandblasting the case-middle to a desired texture.

    • The Case

      Lapping is next applied to reveal the facets.

    • The Case

      The bezel is then polished with a special paste, revealing the luminosity of the Royal Oak.

    • The Case

      The facets are varnished for protection against the elements.

    • The Case

      Finally, a satin decoration is applied to the top of the bezel to give the Royal Oak its distinguished look.

    • The Case

      When the case-middle, the angles, and ridges are matched with its bezel, the watch can be judged for perfection.

  • The comfort of the bracelet is guaranteed by the shape of the intermediate links
    and the mastery with which they are made.

  • AfterAfter

    The distinctive “bathtub” shape of the hands and hour-markers means the luminescent material may be poured rather than applied, thus ensuring a more attractive finish.


Classic Royal Oak

  • Tapisserie Dial

    The dial’s square and lozenge motif is created by machines which perform guillochage, a highly intricate way to capture the light and accentuate a timepiece’s geometric relief.

  • Materials

    Audemars Piguet's constant quest for innovation has propelled it to the forefront of brands using high-tech and avant-garde materials.

  • Bezel

    The Royal Oak bezel undergoes 28 operations before reaching its final emblematic octogonal shape.

  • The Historical Evolution of the Royal Oak

    From Avant-Garde to Icon, take a journey through time to discover a spirit that endures.

  • The brass dial is engraved by a burin (a precision metalwork chisel) that reproduces the motif on a disc attached to the machine, like a pantograph.

Materials Used in the Royal Oak Collection

  • Steel


    Composed of iron, chromium, nickel and molybdemum, steel boasts excellent corrosion resistance. To perfect the aesthetic appeal of stainless steel, Audemars Piguet has developed an exclusive surface treatment endowing the metal with a luminous appearance.

    Hand-wound Royal Oak


    Audemars Piguet launched the world’s first stainless-steel luxury watch. In an era when gold was considered the only high-end option, it was a gamble. But it paid off with the birth of one our most iconic watches.

    Extra-thin Royal Oak

  • Pink Gold

    Pink Gold

    Precious metal has always been a staple material in fine watchmaking. Pink gold is composed of 75% fine gold, along with 5% silver and 20% copper, the latter proportion varies according to the desired color intensity. Audemars Piguet also uses two other forms of gold: yellow and white.

    Hand-wound Royal Oak

    Selfwinding Royal Oak

  • Platinum


    Platinum is 30 times more rare than gold, in fact it is the most exclusive metal in the field of fine watchmaking. It is also used in its purest form, at 95%. Its malleability makes it particularly difficult to handle.

    Hand-wound Royal Oak

    Openworked extra-thin Royal Oak Tourbillon 41mm

  • Carbon


    No watchmaker uses carbon like Audemars Piguet. Based on an innovative method, 1mm diameter carbon wire strands are molded by extreme pressure and heat. Beyond its lightness, forged carbon offers the advantage of making parts with straight edges and sharp angles.

    Hand-wound Royal Oak


    Audemars Piguet launched the world's first carbon luxury watch, the Royal Oak Offshore Alinghi Team.

    Royal Oak Carbon Concept

  • Titanium


    Grade 5 titanium, the most resistant and robust variety on the market, is ultra-rugged and twice as light as steel. Titanium boasts strong chemical stability and is hypoallergenic.

    Hand-wound Royal Oak

    Royal Oak Concept GMT Tourbillon

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Five Iconic Royal Oaks

  • It Was to Change the Face of Modern Watchmaking

    Designed virtually overnight by the brilliant and experienced stylist Gérald Genta, the Royal Oak was a bold response to a request for an “unprecedented steel watch.” Initially met with a blend of astonishment and contempt, the Royal Oak soon established itself as an iconic model that was to change the face of modern watchmaking.

    Royal Oak
    Perpetual Calendar Pocket Watch from 1918

    The Original Royal Oak

    Watch Specs


    • Case Width 38.8 mm


    Hours, minutes
    Stainless Steel Case
    Dark blue dial with "Petite Tapisserie" pattern
    Stainless Steel Bracelet


    Selfwinding Calibre 2121
  • The World’s Thinnest Model of Its Kind

    The first Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar caliber 2120/2800 was designed to be the world's thinnest model of its kind. Endowed with a mechanical memory taking account of all calendar variations including months and leap year, it requires no manual intervention before the year 2100.


    Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar

    Watch Specs


    • Case Width 39 mm


    Hours, minutes, Perpetual calendar with day, date, moon phases, months
    Stainless Steel Case
    Opaline rhodium plated dial, applied hour-marker, white gold hands
    Stainless Steel Bracelet


    Selfwiding Calibre 2120/2800
  • The Original Platinum-Iridium Selfwinding System

    When launching the first Royal Oak selfwinding tourbillon watch, Audemars Piguet introduced a larger and lighter titanium tourbillon cage ensuring additional precision and a larger 54-hour power reserve. This model has a caseback-side winding crown and a platinum-iridium hammer-winding system to guarantee full visibility of the tourbillon at all times.

    Royal Oak
    Selfwinding Calibre 2875

    Royal Oak Tourbillon

    Watch Specs


    • Case Width 40 mm


    Hours, minutes at 12 o’clock, pointer-type date display at 3 o’clock, tourbillon at 6 o’clock, power reserve at 9 o’clock.
    18-carat pink gold case
    White dial with "petite tapisserie" pattern
    18-carat pink gold bracelet


    Selfwinding Calibre 2875 with hammer system
  • The Perfect Blend of Performance and Sophistication

    The Royal Oak Concept was an avant-garde tribute to Royal Oak's 30 years of defining a watchmaking revolution. It was an authentic "lab watch" embodying absolute performance through a blend of technical sophistication and extreme resistance. The case was the first ever to borrow a superalloy from the aeronautical industry: alacrite 602, the hardest material available at the time.

    Royal Oak
    Hand-wound Caliber 2896

    Royal Oak Concept Watch

    Watch Specs


    • Case Width 44mm


    Hours, minutes, power reserve in units around the barrel circumference at 3 o’clock, function selector via an additional pushpiece at 4 o’clock and function indicator at 6 o’clock, tourbillon at 9 o’clock and dynamograph at 12 o’clock.
    Case-middle and caseback in 602 alacrite, bezel in titanium
    Dial composed of the mainplate, inner bezel ring with minute track and hour-markers
    Kevlar® strap


    Hand-wound calibre 2896
  • An Evolved Equation of Time

    Ten years after releasing the first Equation of Time watch, Audemars Piguet presented this exceptional timepiece combining four celestial high complications: a perpetual calendar, a precision display of the lunar cycle, the equation of time (which displays the difference between “true” solar time and conventional time), and civil sunrise and sunset times.

    Royal Oak
    Selfwinding Calibre 2120/2808

    Royal Oak Equation of Time

    Watch Specs


    • Case Width 42 mm


    Hours, minutes, sunrise and sunset times, equation of time, perpetual calendar, astronomical moon,
    18-carat pink gold case, Glareproofed sapphire crystal and casbeack, screw-locked crown
    Silvered dial with "Grande Tapisserie" pattern, gold applied hour-markers with luminescent coating, gold Royal Oak hands with luminescent coating
    Brown strap, hand-stitched "large square scale" crocodile with 18-carat pink gold AP folding clasp


    Selfwinding Manufacture Calibre 2120/2808

Part III

Assembling The Watch

The final touch.

Several hundred parts come together under the eye of a skilled watchmaker. Putting them together is just the beginning of this precise and meticulous finishing effort.

Meticulous Attention to Detail, Defined

Each watchmaker starts by putting the timepiece together, testing it, taking it apart, polishing the sections, putting it back together and then doing it all over again until it is worthy of leaving the factory.

  • Only highly skilled and dedicated watchmakers achieve unparalleled results, like assembling the Royal Oak Grande Complication or Openworked Extra-Thin Royal Oak Tourbillon.

  • Casing up a Royal Oak timepiece is a decisive activity. Dial and hands are fitted on the movement before disappearing inside the case.

Part IV

The Finished Embodiment Of Passion

Tradition, excellence and savoir-faire realized in the Openworked Extra-Thin Royal Oak Tourbillon, with a Calibre 2924 Openworked Manufacture.

View the gallery See the layers of Calibre 2924

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