Audemars Piguet’s still-under-wraps deal with Marvel already appears to have inspired a little Hollywood razzmatazz around Le Brassus.
Granted, the company’s unveiling of its 2021 collection — an unanticipated e-mail with a pdf look book of novelties that dropped into my inbox last night — was understated by Tinseltown standards, but a bright green flash on the front cover hinted at drama to come.
It was certainly a choice of presentation that showed confidence in this year’s novelties, and those with a penchant for green will not be disappointed with five Royal Oaks, all green but all distinct from each other.
There is a Royal Oak Jumbo Extra-Thin in 950 platinum with a smoked green sunburst dial; a Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronograph in 18ct yellow gold with green Grande Tapisserie dial; and three Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillons with green sunburst Tapisserie dials, one in titanium the other in rose gold; and a third in titanium with a white gold bezel set with baguette-cut emeralds.
The eagle-eyed among you will notice nothing in steel, which makes the entry price for this year’s novelties an eye-watering CHF 91,000 for the platinum automatic Jumbo Extra-Thin, and that is without a Tapisserie dial.
The sunburst effect dial, at a glance, makes me think of a CODE 11.59.
The 41mm Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronograph dial does have the “Grande Tapisserie” pattern punctuated with three golden ringed sub dials, all driven by an automatic manufacture Calibre 2385.
It is a limited edition of 125 pieces, and has a closed case back engraved with that promise.
Three limited edition 41mm Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillons demonstrate AP’s continuing commitment to high end complications and artistry required to create each green Tapisserie dial in a sunburst pattern.
There is a model in 18ct rose gold with matching hour-markers and hands, limited to just 10 pieces.
AP is making 50 of a titanium on titanium model and only 15 of a titanium reference with a titanium case with an 18-carat white gold bezel set with 32 baguette-cut emeralds.
Both titanium watches have white gold applied hour-makers and hands.
All three are equipped with the automatic Calibre 2950, the latest generation of the Audemars Piguet flying tourbillon. Unlike a conventional tourbillon, a flying tourbillon eschews the upper bridge, affording views of the escapement, regulating organ and cage in motion.
Increasing luxury, rising prices
AP’s 2021 news is mostly about a continuing push towards the very apex of luxury, so steel models are reserved for watches where there has been a movement upgrade or additional complications.
Elsewhere everything is in precious metals, often with embellishments like diamonds.
Two new Code 11.59 references, for example, come in rose or white gold with the centre slice of its three-layer case made from ceramic.
The chronographs use the same Calibre 4401 in house chronograph movement that the first CODEs had back in 2019 but the black dials have a new vertical brushed satin finish.
Royal Oak Offshore
A Royal Oak Offshore uses a slightly tweaked version of the selfwinding movement with flying tourbillon and flyback chronograph originally released in the Code 11.59.
It comes in a newly designed 43mm titanium case that AP says will be adopted for a new generation of more ergonomic Offshores.
This first outing is a limited edition skeletonised model with a production run of 100 pieces.
Selfwinding Chronograph Royal Oak Offshore
The same 43mm case and bezel is used for a more comprehensive core collection of chronographs, without tourbillon but with a date.
There are five models using a combination of stainless steel, pink gold and titanium and housing AP’s latest integrated flyback chronograph Calibre 4401.