Audemars Piguet Reinvents the Royal Oak for the Watch’s 50th Anniversary

There’s iconic and then there’s Royal Oak iconic. The famous timepiece was designed by Gérald Genta back in 1972 and turned the watch world on its head with its gorgeous thin design, unique silhouette, and status as the first luxury sports watch. Since then, the Royal Oak has been heralded as one of the most important contributions to horology as well as one of the most sought-after watches in the world. To celebrate its 50th anniversary, Audemars Piguet has tweaked the design and is introducing several new lines of Royal Oak watches.

The Swiss watchmaker’s regal collection includes a slew of new versions of the Royal Oak. The most notable, however, is the latest “Jumbo” — the thin 39mm automatic that’s considered the quintessential example of the Royal Oak form. The new reference 16202 replaces the outgoing 15202 after more than two decades, and is available in stainless steel with a special anniversary blue dial, along with pricier versions in platinum and 18-carat pink or yellow gold. The new “Jumbo” maintains the same case dimensions as its predecessor, but it houses a brand-new movement, the Calibre 7121, which took the Swiss brand more than five years to develop. The new engine beats at a higher frequency and offers an extra 15 hours of power reserve over its predecessor, all without adding any thickness to the case. In other words, it’s a worthy upgrade. Rounding out the 16202 is a special 50th Anniversary rotor commemorating this momentous achievement.

Another head-turning addition of the collection is the first-ever Royal Oak Openworked Flying Tourbillon reference. Fully showing off its new Calibre 2972 through the dial, the movement is meticulously decorated with a mix of satin, circular, and sunray brushing and polishing. Continuing the openworked motif, AP is also releasing an openworked Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin that comes in stainless steel or 18-carat pink gold and is powered by the new, self-winding extra-thin openworked movement, Calibre 7124. The brand has also announced a trio of new Flying Tourbillon Royal Oaks, as well as new 37mm time-and-date models and 38mm and 41mm automatic chronographs, with the latter three all featuring slight design updates to the Royal Oak’s iconic case, bracelet, and dial.

Pricing for the new Royal Oak models starts at $24,100 for the 37mm model in steel, with releases set to occur throughout 2022.

Purchase: $24,100+

Photo: Audemars Piguet
Photo: Audemars Piguet
Photo: Audemars Piguet