Most of you’re nicely conscious that the Royal Oak, Audemars Piguet’s emblematic and (in all probability) most important watch ever, celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in 2022. An array of recent fashions had been launched for the event, with the star of the present being the brand-new Jumbo Additional-Skinny 16202ST.
One other watch, launched a few months later, didn’t actually get the eye it deserved… Perhaps it was the overload of recent RO watches originally of the yr? Nonetheless, the Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Additional-Skinny RD#3 is a watch with lots of curiosity.
Why? As a result of it’s all the pieces, we love a couple of traditional Royal Oak Jumbo, however, fitted with a tourbillon. And it additionally exhibits that AP may be discreet, elegant, and technical and nonetheless has a phrase or two to say with regard to extra-thin watchmaking.
The brand new chapter within the RD# Collection
Whereas this new Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Additional-Skinny appears to be, at first, only a gap punched within the dial of a Jumbo, the model is definitely fairly happy with its watch. A lot in order that this has been categorized as an RD# mission. Often called Analysis and Improvement fashions, the RD# assortment began daring and loud (actually) with the Royal Oak Idea Minute Repeater Supersonnerie prototype of 2015, which materialized in business type in 2016.
A powerful watch, visually and technically, that redefined the idea of a minute repeater and chiming watches at Audemars Piguet, with intensive work carried out on all components – case, resonator, governor, chimes – to boost the sound of the watch, whether or not for its musicality or its stage. In 2018, AP unveiled its RD#2 idea, a Royal Oak Selfwinding Perpetual Calendar Extremely-Skinny prototype with a 2.89mm motion that made it the world’s thinnest computerized calendar wristwatch of its time, taking house the highest prize on the GPHG in 2019. Though Bulgari has surpassed it in the meantime, it’s, however, a shocking watch.
The newest watch within the RD# Collection, the Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Additional-Skinny, is definitely not as loud or spectacular at first sight. It’s a discreet tackle innovation however one that’s significant within the model’s historical past. For a few years, Audemars Piguet was a horological UFO on the watchmaking scene with an ultra-thin tourbillon mannequin with the in-house computerized caliber 2870.
Introduced in 1986 (when mainly nobody was doing developments like this anymore), this watch/motion was the thinnest computerized tourbillon available on the market (4.8mm thick) till 2018, when Bulgari introduced the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automated. With the Royal Oak RD#3, the model pays tribute to a singular legacy within the subject of skinny tourbillon watches.
The second essential factor to notice is that: RD#3 isn’t only an analysis and growth watch. It’s the first “Jumbo” in the historical past to be geared up with a self-winding flying tourbillon. Certainly, up till now, the Jumbo featured two-hand and date shows. And nothing else. Lastly, the watch is a flying tourbillon.
Nothing new, proper? Properly, for a few years, AP has used the identical tourbillon module, held in place on either side (so not a flying tourbillon) with an inverted V-shaped bridge. It was solely in 2019 and onboard a female mannequin that the model moved to a flying structure. However, within RD#3, it’s not even the identical module anymore… Thinness obliges.
Jumbo in the beginning
Let’s discuss this Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Additional-Skinny. A very powerful factor to bear in mind is that we’re wanting – most unequivocally – a Jumbo mannequin; it has all of the attributes of the reference 16202ST plus a gap within the dial, minus the date.
The Jumbo, whether or not the older 15202ST or the present 16202ST, is the closest you may get to Gérald Genta’s unique chrome steel Royal Oak. Distinguished by its octagonal bezel with eight white gold screws and a built-in bracelet, the unique 39mm metal case of the Royal Oak was thought-about large and nicknamed Jumbo.
With the present era, the case retains its 39mm, the peak remains to be very a lot below management at 8.1mm, and the dial has not solely the symbolic Petite Tapisserie sample but in addition, the identical color because the 1972 mannequin: Bleu Nuit, Nuage 50.
What’s outstanding about this new RD#3 is that the addition of the tourbillon hasn’t affected the proportions. The traditional case specs of the brand new Jumbo 16202 – 39mm diameter, 8.1mm peak, and 50m water resistance – have been retained within the new Royal Oak RD#3. Naturally, it’s barely thicker than the 7mm unique, however, it’s now fitted with a sapphire case back.
I can dwell with one further millimeter to have the ability to see the motion that beats on this watch; there are concessions I’m keen to make. The chrome steel case and bracelet function the gathering’s signature satin-brushed and polished hand finishes the white gold hexagonal studs and is… nicely, a Jumbo Royal Oak from head to toe.
The opposite notable hyperlink with the traditional Jumbo is the dial. Whereas the brand new tourbillon aperture is apparent, the Jumbo Tourbillon 26670ST has a Bleu Nuit, Nuage 50 Petite Tapisserie dial. Nonetheless, the color is now obtained utilizing a PVD course, making certain a uniform and lasting tone throughout all dials.
The white gold utilized bathtub-shaped hour markers and fingers, handled with luminescent coating, are a nod to the unique. The Audemars Piguet signature at midday and the minute monitor is printed in white, not utilized or gold like a number of the more modern and bulkier watches.
Lastly, as you’ve guessed, the bracelet of this Jumbo RD#3 ref. 26670ST is identical to the traditional Jumbo 16202ST. This implies it retains the traditional, extremely fascinating design of the gathering, nevertheless it lacks the quick-release system or fine-adjustment gadget.
An ultra-thin Flying tourbillon Calibre
The case back reveals the open-worked bridges and rotor of the automated 2968 caliber. The motion is predicated on the trendy 7121 calibers fitted inside the automated Jumbo 16202 with a prolonged energy reserve and a ball-bearing mounted rotor. Composed of 226 elements, the motion measures 29.6mm throughout and has a peak of simply 3.4mm (simply 0.2mm greater than the simple computerized).
The mannequin we photographed has the 50Y rotor, which gained be accessible anymore if you learn this text because it was solely reserved for the watches made in 2022. The ornament, with open-worked bridges, is kind of spectacular, with sharp interior angles and polished bevels. The flat surfaces are completed with trendy traits tirés (line-cut) changing the standard stripes.
The problem with this motion was to implement a tourbillon regulator without altering the case of the Jumbo. This concern was addressed with completely different options. A primary for AP, the automated flying tourbillon needed to be revisited to scale back its thickness by repositioning particular elements.
One of many options was to equip the titanium tourbillon cage with a peripheral drive. The mix of titanium and a peripheral drive implies that the regulating organ is lighter, and the distribution of vitality is improved. Visibility was additionally a key concern; the flying tourbillon is positioned at the dial stage, and the steadiness wheel arms have been redesigned and positioned to permit a view of the watch’s beating coronary heart.
Conclusion, (Un)Availability & Worth
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Additional-Skinny RD#3 reference 26670ST.OO.1240ST.01 is a paragon of discretion. It’s completely devoted to thinness and to creating a Jumbo with a Tourbillon. Certainly, it’s, surely, a Royal Oak Jumbo by means of and thru. And that’s precisely why it’s so interesting. It’s delicate, conventional, and elegantly sporty, identical to a traditional Royal Oak must be, and it provides a restrained dose of Haute Horlogerie to the equation. I applaud AP for not overdoing it, and for delivering a really well-executed and well-balanced mannequin. And that is exactly why it has been one of the crucial “below the radar” novelties of AP in 2022…
This Royal Oak Jumbo Tourbillon is a boutique unique and retails for CHF 157,500 earlier than taxes. Now, relating to availability, it is going to certainly be a problem. In the event you thought acquiring a daily Jumbo was robust, getting your fingers on one in every one of these 26670STs shall be a veritable mission… For extra particulars, please go to AudemarsPiguet.com.