Audemars Piguet @ Openworked Extra-Thin Royal Oak
The Royal Oak is 40 years young in 2012. This spectacular non-conformist watch that has always been ahead of its time has made an indelible imprint on the history of Audemars Piguet. As the first luxury sports watch ever, the Royal Oak has become a legend. To celebrate this anniversary in due style, the Manufacture in Le Brassus now unveils the Openworked Extra-Thin Royal Oak, an interpretation combining horological mastery and modernity with a sporting temperament.
In light of its exceptional nature, this platinum anniversary edition is issued in a limited series of just 40. The year 1972 saw a decisive turning point in the history of modern watchmaking. There is indeed a before and after the Royal Oak. The introduction 40 years ago of an entirely unprecedented sports watch corresponding to none of the design codes prevailing in traditional watchmaking was to bring a real paradigm shift. A prestigious ultra-thin movement housed in a steel case priced like a gold watch: the challenge was daring enough to ensure that few observers were prepared to bet on the success of this exceptional watch designed by Gérald Genta for Audemars Piguet and presented by the brand in the spring of 1972.
Forty years later, the soundness of this approach has been amply demonstrated. Not only is the Royal Oak an ongoing success, but it is more vibrantly alive than ever – witness the latest newcomer to the collection. A closer look at the Openworked Extra-Thin Royal Oak celebrating the 40th anniversary shows that it is at once a concentrated blend of the history of this legendary collection, as well as of Audemars Piguet itself and its numerous realms of expertise. As a specialist in ultra-thin movements, the Manufacture in Le Brassus chose this complex horological mechanism to power the very first Royal Oak in 1972. It was thus the famous Calibre 2121, one of the world’s thinnest mechanical selfwinding models at just 3.05 mm thick, that beat at the heart of the first versions of the Royal Oak.
This distinctive expertise, consisting in engraving and hollowing out the movement to give it an airy character and play on its transparent effect, is an art still mastered by very few artisans. Combining within a single timepiece the constraints imposed by an ultra-thin movement and the demands of skeletonisation or openworking represents an impressive feat indeed. That is exactly what is offered in the Openworked Extra-Thin Royal Oak watch presented to mark the 40th anniversary in a 950 platinum 40-piece limited edition.