The latest design evolution takes the iconic Audemars Piguet Royal Oak to new heights

With only the essential aesthetic codes of the collection remaining unchanged, the iconic Royal Oak design evolution marks a new milestone for Audemars Piguet

Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronograph in 38mm Ref. 26715OR.OO.1356OR.01

The Royal Oak from Audemars Piguet is undoubtedly one of the most famous icons in the field of fine watchmaking, and its introduction heralded a new watchmaking era. When the Gérald Genta-designed Royal Oak was first introduced back on April 15, 1972, at the Swiss Basel Fair, it broke accepted aesthetic standards and revolutionized the industry. Its large body made of hand-finished stainless steel, its octagonal bezel secured with apparent hexagonal screws, its highly stylized integrated steel bracelet, and its extra-thin self-winding mechanism marked the beginning of a new era in fine watchmaking that was in line with changing lifestyles of its day.

Over the years, more than 500 Royal Oak models in different sizes, materials, styles and powered by a wide variety of movements have been created, turning this watch into an icon within and beyond watchmaking. Fast forward to the present, the Royal Oak 50th anniversary collection introduces an array of new self-winding hour, minute, second and date models in 37mm as well as selfwinding chronographs in 38mm and 41mm, all endowed with the Manufacture’s latest design evolution. 

The new design evolution, which can be admired on the dial, case and bracelet, complements the Royal Oak’s original aesthetic codes while furthering the collection’s contemporary appeal. Case in point: The bevels adorning the top and bottom of the case have been enlarged to enhance the play of light while bestowing the watch with a slender aesthetic.

To accentuate the finesse of the new case design, the integrated bracelet’s first four links are now trapezoid in shape and no longer parallel. This more pronounced decrease in thickness brings forward the bracelet’s taper for more visual appeal. Furthermore, the links are thinner throughout the bracelet, and therefore lighter, offering added comfort and optimum ergonomics.

On the other hand, the logo has been reworked. A gold Audemars Piguet signature endowed with a unique topography now replaces the applied AP monogram and the printed “AUDEMARS PIGUET” at 12 o’clock. 

The proportions of the hour-markers of the new self-winding chronographs and self-winding hour, minute, second and date timepieces have also been standardized according to the different diameters. Aside from that, numerous references across the Royal Oak collection now welcome the iconic Bleu Nuit, Nuage 50 dial colour (“night blue, cloud 50”)—a faithful nod to the aesthetics of the original model from 1972.

This Selfwinding Chronograph perfectly showcases the new Royal Oak design evolution. The timepiece comes with an 18-carat pink gold case and bracelet, contrasted with a “Grande Tapisserie” dial adorning the iconic Bleu Nuit, Nuage 50 hue. While the chronograph counters match the dial’s hue, the pink gold hour-markers and Royal Oak hands with luminescent coating add a bright touch. 

“To celebrate the Royal Oak’s 50th anniversary, we wanted to pay tribute to its distinctive codes. These evolutions do not aim to revolutionize the collection, but to magnify its lines,” Audemars Piguet’s Product Director Sofia Candeias  elaborates.

This new design evolution perfectly demonstrates the brand’s continuous improvement approach which has enabled the Manufacture to consistently push the limits of design and mastery across generations. Paying tribute to 50 years of innovation, it marks another milestone in the development of a collection that has crossed eras and trends and brought the Royal Oak to new heights.