Although retaining the general aesthetic codes of the original Royal Oak model from 1972, the new selfwinding and selfwinding chronograph references in 34, 37, 38 and 41 mm present slight ergonomic adaptations in terms of case, bracelet and dial design. While most of the novelties are fitted with the dedicated “50-years” oscillating weight, the 37 mm references also see the introduction of a new selfwinding movement, Calibre 5900.
The case and bracelet encompass larger polished chamfers for a slenderer aesthetic offering stronger plays of light between the satin-brushed and polished surfaces. In addition, the caseback has been slightly more integrated into the case to sit more comfortably on the wrist.
50 years on, the Royal Oak has seen more than 500 models, turning this watch from iconoclast to icon. Yet, the Royal Oak's essential aesthetic codes have remained unchanged through time, such as the tonneau-shaped case, the octagonal bezel and the 8 visible hexagonal screws.
The first links of the integrated bracelet in stainless steel and other metals show a more pronounced decrease in thickness to better announce the tapering links. All the bracelet links are also thinner and therefore lighter for added comfort and visual appeal.
The bracelet’s first links, where the case and bracelet meet, are now trapezoid in shape when seen from the side. This decrease in thickness was first introduced on gold models in 2012.
The proportions of the hour-markers and hands have been harmonised across the 34, 37, 38 and 41 mm Royal Oak collection, while retaining their distinctive aesthetics.
The facetted hour-markers are part of the Royal Oak’s recognisable aesthetic codes. Filled with luminescent coating, the hour-markers and hands provide optimum legibility in the dark.
Many of the new models in 34, 37, 38 and 41 mm adorn the new applied 24-carat gold ‘Audemars Piguet’ signature achieved through galvanic growth, a chemical process akin to 3D printing. This long-form signature appears without the AP monogram for added elegance.
In tribute to the original model from 1972, a vast number of references across the Royal Oak collection now welcome the iconic "Bleu Nuit, Nuage 50" for their "Petite" or "Grande Tapisserie" dial.
Although originally achieved through galvanic bath, the dial’s "Bleu Nuit, Nuage 50" shade is obtained today through PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) to ensure a more homogeneous colour across the collection.
The guilloché "Grande Tapisserie" pattern is achieved through a complex manufacturing process based on a rare know-how no longer taught in horology school.
Selfwinding and Selfwinding Chronograph models in 37 and 41 mm are fitted with the dedicated anniversary openworked oscillating weight in 22-carat gold, which features the “50-years” logo and the engraved Audemars Piguet signature.
For the occasion, the oscillating weight has been matched to the colour of each case – a practice usually reserved to complicated timepieces.
The new selfwinding hour, minute and second movement, Calibre 5900, debuts in the 37 mm collection, while all chronograph models in 41 mm are now powered by Calibre 4401, the Manufacture’s latest integrated flyback chronograph. Calibre 5900 is thinner and endowed with a higher frequency compared to Calibre 3120, which it replaces. It also offers 60 hours of power reserve.
Calibres 5900 and 4401 are finished with refined Haute Horlogerie decorations visible through the sapphire caseback.