Audemars Piguet Just Unveiled 3 New Openworked Royal Oaks
The luxury sports watch that started it all in 1972 just keeps going, now in stainless steel, yellow gold, and black ceramic.
BY Allen Farmelo  |  July 5, 2024
3 Minute Read

Image courtesy of Audemars Piguet

Following on the heels of the May release of multiple Royal OaksAudemars Piguet is back with a 41 mm self-winding openworked offering, now in three striking case and bracelet materials. Stainless steel is going to resonate with the traditionalists, the yellow gold with those who like a louder wrist flex, and black ceramic will offer up a stealthy, futuristic vibe.

We’ve been reporting that Royal Oaks are coming down in price on the pre-owned and neo-vintage market, and we’ve even just published a brief history of the “RO.” The Royal Oak was originally penned by acclaimed designer Gerald Genta, who singlehandedly revolutionised the sports watch market.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Openworked 41 mm in stainless steel.
Image courtesy of Audemars Piguet

Audemars Piguet is sometimes said to have a hard time getting past its strong association with the Royal Oak, but this doesn’t seem to be hurting the brand whatsoever. As expert collector and vintage dealer at Analog:ShiftJames Lamdin, told us last week, “The brand is still in demand, and so [the Royal Oak] is still hard to get at the boutiques.” This situation may not come as a surprise to experienced collectors of the Royal Oak, though this new iteration may be especially difficult to get one’s hands on, as it’s at what many consider a perfect size (41 mm) with just enough technology (dual-barrel calibre 3132) and flash (openworked dial) to sing on the wrist.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Openworked 41 mm in black ceramic (left) and yellow gold.
Image courtesy of Audemars Piguet

Especially attractive here is the rose gold movement in the steel and ceramic versions. Rose gold from Audemars Piguet is especially warm due to its copper content. Against the steel, you’ve got a unique bi-metal (or two-tone) sensibility, and against the black ceramic that rose-gold movement seems to blossom like a midnight flower. Both are very chic. But it may be the yellow gold iteration that comes closest to classic Royal Oak vibes, with the long-used 18-carat case and bracelet featuring a much quieter rhodium-plated movement that’s all smoke and shadow.

The dual balance wheel mechanism of calibre 3132 helps stabilise the balance staff in its ruby mount, which improves precision.
Image courtesy of Audemars Piguet

Calibre 3132 employs a dual balance wheel, which is a unique approach to minimising the tilt of the balance staff (the axil on which the balance wheel oscillates back and forth). When the balance wheel swings, there is a tendency for it to tilt within its ruby mount, which allows gravity to have its way with it, causing timing discrepancies in different positions (known as positional variance). By adding a second balance wheel (not just a second spring, as found in some movements), Audemars Piguet has added stabilising mass to the mechanism, as well as counter-force that steadies the balance staff as it changes direction, according to Audemars Piguet.

Prices are US$76,400 (HK$596,650) for stainless, and US$101,100 (HK$789,545) for either the ceramic or yellow-gold model.