Audemars Piguet Extra-Thin Jumbo Royal Oak Ref. 15202 Gold Watch Hands-On
I was further inspired by Audemars Piguet along with the Royal Oak Offshore Diver Chronograph when thinking about my recent article on matters I’d like to see more of and less of from the watch business in 2017 and talking my own expectation for more daring colors in watches by leading brands. It appears like Audemars Piguet shares my enthusiasm. You will find five “vibrant” Funky Colour Edition styles of this Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver to pick from this season including the mention 15710ST. OO.A027CA.01 in dark blue, 15710ST. OO.A070CA.01 in vivid orange, 15710ST. OO.A051CA.01 in acid yellow, 15710ST. OO.A010CA.01 in white. The latter is extremely similar in layout to the white ceramic Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver from 2014. Every one of the models comes at a finely finished 42mm-wide steel case that is water resistant to 300 meters. A hallmark layout element of this Royal Oak Offshore Diver is your inner rotating timing bezel which is operated by the crown located at 10 o’clock. It appears that the blue-colored crowns are coated from vulcanized rubber. Attached to the cases are extremely high quality rubber Royal Oak Offshore tapering straps in colours to coordinate with the bold colors of their watches. Interestingly, the blue is the common color across all of these new versions, and in order to provide a more “safely conservative” option, Audemars Piguet comes with an extra blue-colored strap with every watch. The version that already comes on a blue strap has an additional yellow strap to go with it. This 15710ST. OO.A027CA.01 piece may actually be the trendiest model in the event the yellow strap.
The first watch is a re-edition of the very earliest Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph from 1993. Yup, “The Beast” is back, and this re-edition Ref. 26237ST stays very much loyal to the first. It features a 42mm stainless steel case and bracelet and a blue “Petite Tapisserie” dial. Water-resistance is 100m. The principal differences that we can see between this 2018 version and the original are extremely subtle, namely in the seconds monitor and ‘Swiss Made’ print on the periphery of the dial.Inside the re-edition Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph beats the Caliber 3126/3840, the exact same movement used in other contemporary Royal Oak Offshore chronograph watches. Apart from this time, needless to say, this motion features chronograph and date complications, a 22k gold rotor, beats at 3Hz, and has a power reserve of 50 hours.Fortunately, it isn’t all teary-eyed past-reviving that is occurring at this anniversary — kudos to AP for it. Therefore, alongside the re-edition Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph, we see the Introduction of the new Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph, specifically Ref. 26421ST and 26421OR, which possess a completely new layout in two different case materials.
Regardless of whether or not you’re into all things that glitter, it can’t be denied that 2017’s SIHH trends were punctuated by heaps of the 79th element in yellow, white, and frosty hues. And no one had more to show in this camp than Audemars Piguet, whose Extra-Thin Jumbo Royal Oak (reference 15202) in gold didn’t quite steal the spotlight from the showstopping Perpetual Calendar in ceramic, but it certainly came awfully close – especially for those who’ve been following the last 40 or so years of the Royal Oak.
As we already start looking forward to 2018’s SIHH novelties, we thought it high time to take a closer look at some of this year’s favorites, which include the gloriously over-the-top 15202, rendered for the first time as a modern, non-limited reference entirely in 18-carat yellow gold. It’s not just the all-gold case that lends the 15202 significance though – there are a few other (albeit much more subtle) visual cues that set this particular reference apart, and might make it more desirable for collectors in the future. Perhaps most obvious, is the simple time and date-only dial configuration, completed by the ‘AP’ logo at 6:00, which pays direct homage to the original steel 5402 released in 1972. This aesthetic also tips its hat towards the yellow gold 5402BA Jumbo released five years later – the first time Audemars Piguet Couple Watches rendered the Jumbo in this precious metal.
However, more noteworthy is the thickness – the new 15202 measures a hair over 8mm, 0.2mm thicker than the original 5402, and the closest we’ve seen to those pioneering ultra-thin measurements since the 40th Anniversary editions from 2012 – hence the ‘Extra Thin’ naming convention. This new-but-really-old profile, coupled with the eminently wearable 39mm case size truly feels like the sweet spot for the Royal Oak, and has much to do with why this iconic design was able to become such a future-proof classic in the first place.
What’s left of the “dial” is basically a satin-brushed, ruthenium-toned ring around the edge and both anthracite sub-dials. There is a rehaut printed using a minute chapter ring as well. In my experience, legibility is not the strongest suit to get a skeletonized watch, but that is less of a problem in the case of the watch. The usage of pink gold applied hour markers and pink gold baton-shaped hands, both full of lume, should provide sufficient legibility in most lighting conditions. The “Audemars Piguet” logo is printed onto the surface of the sapphire crystal on the front, which gives it a nice floating effect.The sub-dials are simple with white printed text and white baton-shaped hands. The sub-dial at 3:00 suggests chronograph minutes and the one at 9:00 shows constant seconds. One potential issue with legibility has to do with the chronograph seconds hand, which can be black with a lumed white hint. Between how thin the seconds hand is and the colour, studying the chronograph elapsed time may be more cumbersome than individuals may like. It is hard to say for sure until we get our hands on a tangible example of the watch.I’ve left the case and bracelet description to the last because those are some of the most recognizable areas of the watch. This is the exact same Gerald Genta layout that’s so popular among many collectors but with 44mm by 13.2mm case dimensions. This is a somewhat large watch with a wide bezel on both the front and back. Each of the straight lines and sharp angles also give it a larger look. There are the obvious visual differences in the two substances but what I find more intriguing is that ceramic is generally a light material with high tensile strength, while gold is a compact but soft material. What this means is that the expertise of wearing every variant should be significantly different, and that I personally find this interesting.
The answer to this question is simple: everybody. What I mean with this is that there are two very different groups of high-end watch purchasers: the collector along with the fundamental “watch lover.” The collector is the man who spent the past 15 years residing on TimeZone and also the PuristS, the kind of guy who hears the title Walt Odets and understands exactly who I’m talking about. The collector is the type of guy who understands the difference between hand polished and handmade. He’s gotten well past the point of arguing about brands and understands enough to discuss individual projects. He reveres Patek Philippe for exactly what it meant to watches over the previous 100 decades, understands the importance and appeal of classic Rolex, but purchases just what talks to him. An eye buff, on the other hand, is somebody who may be a bit newer to high-end watches, and remains very brand conscious. Both buy watches from Audemars Piguet, but probably different models, and certainly for different factors.
The Jumbo Royal Oak in its most classic configuration is a watch that historically, by all measurements, should wear exceptionally thin. However, this new reference is one that still manages to jump off the wrist, thanks to its solid yellow gold case, and light-gobbling “Petite Tapisserie” tonal champagne colored waffle dial. Those looking for a slightly more toned-down aesthetic still rendered in this precious metal will appreciate the second of the 15202’s two new dial variations: a gorgeous blue, which, given the spate of blue-on-bronze sports watches we’ve seen this year, is as much on-trend, as it is slightly less ostentatious.
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver Is Most Likely the Audemars Piguet I would want to next own. Since that time, Audemars Piguet has released a variety of models in various case materials which range from steel to forged carbon, and ceramic (see all of them within our Royal Oak Offshore topic page or search “Audemars Diver” onto aBlogtoWatch). For 2017, the new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver watches are all in steel, but celebrate a host of daring visual styles which replicate other goods already produced by the brand, as well as a color theme which you may find in additional new-for-2017 Audemars Piguet watches like the considerably more expensive Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph Selfwinding Limited Edition pieces.Not that any of those watches are inexpensive, but if you’re likely to decide on a sporty timepiece in largely electric green, my suspicion is that spending circa $20,000 (the Royal Oak Offshore Diver) feels a bit more appropriate for something that isn’t going to be a daily wear instead of circa $300,000 for a pure collector’s piece (the Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph Selfwinding Limited Edition). The majority of people will probably err on the more conservative side and elect for the very same watches in much more “classic” colors offered by Audemars Piguet. What I found to be interesting is that they debuted the Royal Oak Offshore Diver Chronograph (hands-on here) only in wild colors like yellow, orange, blue, and green… without a model that would be considered a bit more conservative. As of now, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver Chronograph still isn’t available in anything but the most bold colors.
Despite the svelte profile though, the gold 15202 is a surprisingly heavy watch. This tactile illusion is due, of course to the fact that gold’s density is nearly three times that of stainless steel, lending the assertive wrist presence of a much larger sports watch to one that can otherwise slide easily beneath the cuff of a dress shirt. When you look at the bracelet and case when considering the weight of the gold, the slim profile but solid gold look presents a contrasted personality that works well. It’s safe, but a modern design icon in an old-school material.
Let us begin with the collector. The collector purchases Audemars Piguet because of its own history in great complex pocketwatches. The collector buys AP since when Patek Philippe needed some help on the complex repeater of this Henry Graves Jr.. Supercomplication, it turned out to AP. The collector purchases AP due to watches such as this, this, and this. They buy AP because the Le Brassus manufacture has long been at the very forefront of materials and engineering, showing off amazing watches like the very first minute repeating wristwatch way back in 1892, the first jump-hour wristwatch in 1921, the first skeletonized pocket watch in 1934, the introduction of an whole category in 1972, the first ultra slim perpetual calendar wristwatch with central rotor in 1978, the very first self-winding ultra slim tourbillon in 1986, the first grande and petite sonnerie wristwatch in 1994, the first self-winding grand complication in 1996, the first wristwatch equation of time together with endless calendar in 2000, the large frequency chronometer with double-balance AP Escapement in 2009, also, a ton of other things.Today, watches like the Royal Oak perpetual calendar skeleton (a standard at AP’s collection and among the finest perpetuals on the market, in my opinion), the Royal Oak Equation of Time, the revolutionary Chron-AP, and also this Millenary Minute Repeater prove that AP is certainly a top-tier manufacture. AP’s in-house self-winding caliber 3120, found inside the fundamental Royal Oak 15400, can also be one of the finest base moves on earth. These are the things which keep AP pertinent to “real” watch fans that sometimes get lost in the buzz across the other kinds of AP buyers.
From the dial-side, the look and feel of the 15202 is distinctly classic – like a vintage re-issue of the original 5402 in gold. Inside though, beats a different story. Here we have the Caliber 2121, now produced in-house by Audemars Piguet Watch Serial Numbers (in the Royal Oak’s formative years, the 2121 was actually produced by Jaeger LeCoultre). It’s an ultra-thin automatic movement measuring 3.05mm thick, and characterized by a unique 2.75Hz (19,800 vibrations per hour), though that slightly lower-than-average alternance isn’t readily visible as the 15202 doesn’t feature a running seconds hand. Unlike the 5402 that inspired it, the 15202 gets a sapphire crystal exhibition caseback, through which the cal. 2121’s 21-carat gold rotor is visible, as it glides back and forth on the circular rail running the circumference of the movement – one of the tricks enabling the 2121’s signature thinness.
In total, the 15202 will be available in three variants – the new gold options (yellow gold on champagne yellow, or yellow gold on blue) join the existing stainless steel 15202 which was re-introduced back in 2012. While the stainless steel Extra-Thin Jumbo Royal Oak starts at roughly $22,000, those looking to ‘stay gold’ can expect to part with over double that – $55,000 for the 18-carat gold variants. audemarspiguet.com