Once again this year, the watch industry reveals its best side as more than 50 brands participate in the great Only Watch charity event. Under the High Patronage of H.S.H. Prince Albert II and at the initiative of Luc Pettavino, this year is the 9th edition of the biennial charity auction, whose aim is to raise funds for research against Duchenne muscular dystrophy. A recurring participant of the event, Audemars Piguet presents a watch this year that will certainly make some noise, as we’re talking about an unprecedented take on its star watch, as well as the last unique 15202 powered by the Calibre 2121, which will retire at the end of the year. Made of titanium and a new palladium-based alloy, meet the unique Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 15202XT Jumbo For Only Watch 2021.
If the specifications and the overall look are familiar – this watch is based on Royal Oak Extra-Thin Jumbo 15202, after all – there are many features on this specific edition to make it truly unique. But first of all, an important thing: this watch is the last unique 15202 Jumbo that Audemars Piguet will ever produce, since the reference and its movement will officially retire at the end of 2021, making way for the new generation, a new model that will be launched for the 50th anniversary of the legendary sports watch presented in 1972. With this in mind and gauging the current interest in luxury sports watches, we can easily imagine the impact on the auction…
What’s unique about this watch? The 39mm x 8.1mm case is identical to all other 15202 models, at least in shape. The materials and the way they are finished are, on the other hand, unprecedented – and not only for this model, but for AP in general. The central case and the bracelet are here made of sandblasted titanium, with the typical dark grey colour resulting from this finishing, contrasting with the polished chamfers. The true novelty is seen on the bezel and studs of the bracelet, made of Bulk Metallic Glass. A palladium-based alloy used in micro-electronics, it shares “several characteristics with other glasses, including amorphicity and high strength, making it highly resistant to wear and corrosion. Its non-crystalline nature results in a unique play of light when hand-finished“. For this watch, the unique material is hand-polished.
The dial of this Royal Oak 15202XT Jumbo Only Watch 2021 is also special. Dark grey coloured (rhodium-toned) with the classic “Petite Tapisserie” pattern, it pays tribute to the dials of the first generation of Royal Oak, the 5402 A Series. The printed “Audemars Piguet” signature and the mention “Automatic” appearing at 12 o’clock, as well as the applied AP monogram at 6 o’clock, present the same position and typography as the original timepiece. In addition, the original printed denomination “Swiss” has been kept under the hour-marker at 6 o’clock.
Inside is the longstanding Calibre 2121, which is the direct descendant of the movement found in the 5402 A Series, and which is also expected to be replaced soon. Extra-thin, at 3.05mm, this self-winding calibre was the thinnest automatic movement with central rotor and date indication of its time and remains one of the best-in-class even today. Visible through the caseback, it shows classic decoration and a gold openworked rotor.
This unique Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin 15202XT Only Watch 2021 is a superb farewell edition to this legendary watch and opens the door to a new generation of Royal Oak in 39mm, arriving in 2022 for the 50th Anniversary.
Created in 2005, Only Watch is a biennial fundraiser for research on muscular dystrophy – Association Monégasque Contre les Myopathies (AMM). Organized under the patronage of HSH Albert II de Monaco, the watches of the 9th edition will be auctioned by Christie’s on Saturday 6 November 2021. More details at www.onlywatch.com.