Audemars Piguet is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Royal Oak in 2022 with a flood of new references, including a redesign of the iconic 39mm Jumbo Extra-Thin, which also houses a new Extra-Thin automatic movement.
Audemars Piguet introduced the Royal Oak in 1972, which grew from a single model to a wide-ranging collection over the years, with the Royal Oak Jumbo Extra-Thin seen as the most classic reference. The outgoing 15202 Royal Oak Jumbo Extra-Thin was discontinued earlier this month, having been part of Audemars Piguet’s catalogue since 2000, when an exhibition caseback was added to update the Ref 15200.
The model’s new replacement, the 16202, focuses on Gerald Genta’s “Play of Light” design philosophy adding wider polished bevels, most noticeable on the bracelet’s flanks and mid-links.
The bracelet has also been redesigned to taper in terms of thickness the closer it gets toward the clasp. The famous octagonal bezel also features wider polished bevels allowing it to be slightly thinner, giving the watch the appearance of sitting flatter on the wrist.
While the Royal Oak is celebrating its 50th anniversary, the Calibre 2121 automatic that has powered all versions of the Jumbo Extra-Thin was first used by Audemars Piguet in 1970, making it 52 years old.
It is now being replaced by the all-new Calibre 7121, which is actually a little thicker than the outgoing Calibre 2121 (3.2mm compared to 3.05mm) even though the 16202 case matches the 15202’s 8.1mm thickness. The new movement beats faster at a more conventional 4Hz (compared the 2.75Hz of the 2121), has a 55-hour power reserve (up from 40) and features a quick-set date function.
The 16202 makes its debut with four new variations in stainless steel, rose gold, yellow gold and platinum.
The stainless steel variation is presented with the original “Bleu Nuit, Nuage 50” colored dial using the familiar Petite Tapisserie pattern.
However the other three models see the introduction of smoked, gradient dials to collection pieces, both on tapisserie and flat sunray brushed dials. The rose gold model gets a smoked grey Petite Tapisserie dial, while the yellow gold model uses a smoked yellow gold-toned Petite Tapisserie dial.
Audemars Piguet has also revisited last year’s full platinum, green-dialed AP House exclusive, using the same configuration in the new 16202 case shape.
Everything arriving for the Royal Oak’s 50th Anniversary celebrations is distinguished with a special “50 Years Audemars Piguet” open-worked winding rotor that will only be used during 2022.
Those wanting to secure one of the Jumbo Extra-Thin anniversary pieces will have to get in quick though, as just 1875 watches – across all four of the new references – are being produced in total.
In other watch news, Seiko adds revived King Seiko name to its catalogue.