The Royal Oak has seen countless evolutions over the years and recently, the Maison presented the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronograph “50th Anniversary”
Historically, at the Basel Fair on April 15, 1972, the legendary Gérald Genta unveiled the Royal Oak watch he had created for Audemars Piguet. With its enormous hand-finished stainless steel body, octagonal bezel secured by visible hexagonal screws, a highly styled integrated steel band, and extra-thin self-winding mechanism, this avant-garde timepiece made a splash. Despite its contentious beginnings, this watch’s blend of sportiness and ancestral’ know-how marked the start of a new fine watchmaking era that was in step with shifting lifestyles.
Since then, the Royal Oak has served as a platform for design innovation as a genuine synthesis of historical craftsmanship and modern technology. In the past 50 years, more than 500 distinct Royal Oak models have been produced, showing various sizes, materials, styles, and movements. Meanwhile, this year’s celebrations for the timepiece’s 50th anniversary also bring watch enthusiasts together to honor its unique history and young spirit, which continue to inspire people from a variety of creative disciplines.
“We are delighted to celebrate the Royal Oak’s 50th anniversary with our community and watch lovers worldwide. This icon is 50 years young today! It is this incredible youthful spirit that has driven its evolution since the beginning, keeping it ahead of its time,” explains François-Henry Bennahmias, Audemars Piguet’s Chief Executive Officer.
The most recent Royal Oak models pay homage to 50 years of continuous innovation and represent yet another turning point in the evolution of a collection that has transcended trends and eras. Particularly, with a variety of upscale and ergonomic materials, dial animations, and the newest movements, the 2022 offering surely expands the collection’s creative and technical boundaries.
Take, for example, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronograph “50th Anniversary.” Appearance-wise, this two-tone 41mm chronograph features an 18-carat pink gold case enhanced with the iconic Bleu Nuit, Nuage 50 hue in a “Grande Tapisserie” dial, and a matching alligator strap. This watch is endowed with the new Royal Oak design evolution as well as the “50-years” oscillating weight with a glare-proofed sapphire crystal, and case back, screw-locked crown.
Driven by the calibre 4401 with flyback chronograph, hours, minutes, small seconds, and date, the movement also boasts a power reserve of 70 hours. In short, enabling its wearer to take the watch off on a Friday evening and put it back on again on Monday morning without having to wind it.
As a whole, while retaining the aesthetic codes of the original model, the 2022 Royal Oak references present evolutions on the case, bracelet, and dial design. The size of the hour-markers and hands has also been standardized according to the different diameters as well as slightly sharpened to offer optimum legibility.
In the end, this new design keeps the fundamental aesthetics that have distinguished the Royal Oak for 50 years. At the same time, it also exemplifies how the collection may continually reinvent itself, with the possibility of additional surprises and innovation in the years and decades to come.
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