Don’t think because Audemars Piguet has already presented various new models this year that they have nothing left to show. Actually, far from that, as today the brand is releasing once again multiple new watches. And some are pretty spectacular indeed. Earlier this year, Audemars Piguet launched a new version of its Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronograph, the classic model with a new automatic movement, based on the calibre launched in Code 11.59. Visually, there was not much to explain in this update, but mechanically, this was a major step forward. Today, the brand releases a new limited edition based on this watch, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronograph 41mm Frosted Gold, with the signature hammered case.
The Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronograph is a true classic in the collection, having been introduced in 1997 for the 25th anniversary of the collection. Back then measuring 39mm, and housing a Piguet-based movement, it will slowly evolve until 2012 when it will be updated with a 41mm case. But still with the externally sourced base movement. In 2021, the RO Chrono will undergo one of its most important updates ever. Surely, the style and proportions are almost identical. But inside the case, there’s Audemars Piguet in-house integrated automatic chronograph, a movement first seen in the Code 11.59 collection, the calibre 4401.
This watch, which has first been introduced in March 2021 with 4 references, all made of pink gold, is the base for today’s limited edition model. This means that all specifications and proportions are the same, only the materials, the way they are finished and the colours are different. We’re thus in known territories. First of all, we find back the typical RO case, with its octagonal bezel with 8 screws, here measuring 41mm in diameter and 12.38mm in height – the case of the new Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronograph is about 1.4mm thicker than the past generation, due to the new movement.
What’s new in this version is the combination of an 18k white gold case together with the brand’s signature “frosted” finish. Launched in 2016, this decoration of the case has been developed with Carolina Bucci, an Italian jewellery designer who’s been using this gold hammering or Florentine technique for some years now. Applied on all flat surfaces and contrasting with the polished bevels on the sides of the case and the bezel, it once again creates a striking, unmistakable watch with a look that feels like nothing else you’ve seen before. Bright, reflective, uneven, rough yet refined, AP’s frosted gold is one-of-a-kind. Of course, the same decoration is applied to the entire bracelet.
For this limited edition of the Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronograph 41mm, a new dial colour has been created. A dark silver tone, the dial is, this colour excluded, identical to classic versions of the RO Chrono. The dial has the famous Grande Tapisserie pattern with snailed sub-counters and white gold applied markers and hands. Despite the monochromatic look, legibility and contrast are very decent. The main specificity of this dial is how it blends with the case and the bracelet, due to its highly metallic shine. When worn, it gives a rare sensation of an object designed as a whole, and not a sum of parts.
Inside the case is the manufacture calibre 4401, the brand’s integrated automatic flyback chronograph. A complex and modern movement, it runs at a 4Hz frequency and boasts 70 hours of power reserve. Through the caseback, it reveals its intricate architecture with the signature alignment of the reset hammers, as well as an openworked solid gold rotor.
Availability & Price
The new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronograph 41mm Frosted Gold (26239BC.GG.1224BC.01) is a limited edition of 200 pieces. It will be priced at EUR 78,900. More details at www.audemarspiguet.com.
Technical specifications – Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronograph 41mm Frosted Gold
Case: 41mm diameter x 12.38mm height – 18k white gold, frosted finish with polished accents – sapphire crystal front and caseback – screwed caseback, crown and pushers – 50m water-resistance
Dial: Grey dial with “Grande Tapisserie” pattern, silver-toned counters, white gold applied hour-markers and Royal Oak hands with luminescent coating
Movement: Manufacture Calibre 4401 – automatic – 40 jewels – 381 components – integrated automatic chronograph with column-wheel and flyback – 32mm – 4Hz frequency – 70h power reserve – hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph with 30-minute and 12-hour counters, date
Bracelet: 18k white gold bracelet, frosted finish with polished accents, AP folding clasp
Availability: Limited to 200 pieces