Sometimes the most impressive changes are also the most subtle.
While Audemars Piguet didn’t make an appearance at Watches & Wonders, that didn’t stop it from trying to steal the show with the new Royal Oak Self-Winding Flying Tourbillon Ultra-thin RD#3, the first iconic “giant” with an ego “Case Movement – Winding Flying Tourbillon.
Audemars Piguet is rightfully very proud of their efforts to move the industry forward through a range of R&D models, but due to the nature of major breakthroughs, the fruits of their labor don’t come along very often. First and foremost, the RD#1 Royal Oak Concept Minute Repeater Supersonnerie prototype was launched at SIHH in 2015, by watchmakers, engineers, musicians and sound experts to create a revolutionary minute repeater. Next up is the RD#2, the company’s 41mm Royal Oak Self-Winding Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin, released in 2019, the thinnest automatic calendar watch at the time.
Featuring all the technological developments you’d expect from a “R&D” watch, the Royal Oak Self-Winding Flying Tourbillon Ultra-Thin RD#3 is a fitting tribute to the Royal Oak’s 50th anniversary. Audemars Piguet launched the world’s first self-winding tourbillon watch in 1986, thanks to the design concept of Jacqueline Dimier, the company placed the tourbillon on the dial side, an element that has become typical of the Royal Oak collection component.
The release pays homage in many respects to Dimier and Gérald Genta’s original signature design, in keeping with the aesthetics of the “Jumbo” model, featuring an 8.1mm thick, 39mm stainless steel case and bracelet, and a “Bleu Nuit” Petite Tapisserie dial , and bathtub-shaped indexes and hands. The titanium flying tourbillon cage at 6 o’clock is eye-catching, but doesn’t distract from the feel of this watch, which is otherwise like a typical “Jumbo”.
With all the iconic design elements of the Jumbo Royal Oak, the real “R&D” aspect of this watch is under the hood. The new Calibre 2968 is an ultra-thin 3.4 mm self-winding flying tourbillon movement that took five years to develop. Fitting the tourbillon design previously reserved for the 41mm watch into the Jumbo case was a daunting task for AP’s engineers. Partly achieved for the first time by the peripherally driven tourbillon and the new geometry and positioning of the balance wheel arms, the result is a flying tourbillon at dial level.
Unlike the original self-winding tourbillon, the sapphire caseback allows you to admire the mix of classic V-angles and modern features, the tire finish on the main plate and bridges replaces the traditional Côtes de Genève, and of course the 50th anniversary The commemorative edition features an oscillating weight in rhodium-coloured 22-karat rose gold. fake watch for sale
If all of the above wasn’t impressive enough, The Associated Press will be releasing a 37mm version of the watch in September, a far cry from the downgraded 41mm cases of similar movements of the past.
If you thought Audemars Piguet would celebrate the 50th anniversary of one of the most iconic watch designs of all time by simply releasing all its watches at the beginning of the year and stopping the gas, then you don’t know this brand. This time the AP decided to put technical watchmaking in the spotlight.
To me, there is nothing cooler than seeing what a small group of technical problem solvers can create while tackling complex problems. Groups such as the Audemars Piguet Complications Group, led by Michael Friedman, are the horological equivalent of Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works—technically impressive and discerning teams whose work speaks for itself.
When you own a watch like the Royal Oak, it’s best to be meticulous in development. Such an iconic watch, let alone the tried and true Jumbo, can only function through a delicate balance of proportions and dial design. Take vintage Audemars Piguet Royal Oaks, such as the headwind reference. 25831, the tourbillon cage is surrounded by a second octagonal “bezel” on the dial, which rests against the bottom of the case. In my opinion, this is an element that upsets the delicate balance. But when it’s done right, like it’s here, it’s seamless. You’ll be forgiven if you pass a picture on your Instagram feed and don’t realize for a moment that you’re looking at something really amazing.
Maybe it’s a “watch man’s watch” full of “profound” improvements and technical achievements for those who love them. But with such a classic design, form, and fit, you don’t need to be a true nerd to enjoy this watch as much as the Jumbo, which has proven hard to beat.
Brand: Audemars Piguet
Model: Royal Oak Jumbo Self-winding Flying Tourbillon Ultra-thin RD#3
Reference number: 26670ST.OO.1240ST.01
Diameter: 39 mm
Case Material: Stainless steel case, anti-glare sapphire crystal and case back
Dial Color: Bleu Nuit, Nuage 50 Dial with Petite Tapisserie Pattern
Indexes: White gold applied hour-markers and Royal Oak hands with luminous coating.
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap/Bracelet: Stainless steel bracelet with AP folding clasp
Movement: Self-winding Calibre 2968
Functions: Flying tourbillon, hours, minutes
Diameter: 29.6 mm
Thickness: 3.4 mm
Number of Parts: 226 Winding: Automatic Winding Frequency:
3hz gem count: 33