Audemars Piguet is a watchmaker that needs little introduction, and just yesterday, AP introduced four new Royal Oak and Royal Oak Offshore references in collaboration with designer Matthew Williams of Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 1017 Alyx 9SM. Alongside them is a unique Royal Oak to be auctioned for charity. These new Royal Oak and RO Offshore models offer a unique aesthetic in both yellow and white gold. And while I’ll never be able to own one, I find them pretty exciting.
Introducing so many new references in the Royal Oak line is headline enough, but in addition, Audemars Piguet is collaborating with the fashion brand Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 1017 Alyx 9SM with input from Matthew Williams, the fashion brand’s designer and founder. For those who want to know, the name “Alyx” is that of Matthew Williams’ daughter. The number “1017” is a reference to his birthday, October 17th, and “9SM” is an abbreviation of the brand’s founding studio address in Saint Mark’s Place, New York City. Now that we have got a translation of the name, let’s take a look at the watches.
As a Swiss Haute Horlogerie manufacturer, AP says it wanted to create a sober series of timepieces to bring focus to the wearers, not what they’re wearing. In doing so, AP says the watches merge the watchmaker’s aesthetic codes with Williams’ “refined touch” to appeal to “fashion lovers and allow them to express their individuality,” whatever that means. These four new references come in 18K gold (yellow or white) and include two regular Royal Oak models and two Offshores. I can see the yellow hold versions certainly attracting some attention, but vertical satin finishing on these watch dials does indeed adhere to that more serious, almost Teutonic aesthetic. Even so, these are watches that others will notice. They range from 37mm to 42mm in case size, providing options for most tastes and wrists. This means that both the Royal Oak and Royal Oak Offshore versions will feature the same design, a first for the Haute Horlogerie watchmaker. They also house AP’s latest generations of movements and beautiful hand finishing with alternating satin and polished surfaces. These add a little light play to what are, supposedly, somber watches.
Both of the Royal Oak Offshore models also focus on a stripped-back, nearly bare design aesthetic, though both also come in at 42mm in diameter and are a little sportier. Once again, the chronograph counters are gone, leaving only the hands at 6, 9, and 12 o’clock. The Royal Oak Offshore models are available in a choice of 18K white gold (26238BC.OO.2000BC.01) or yellow gold (26238BA.OO.2000BA.01) and have AP’s interchangeable strap system, coming with both a bracelet and black rubber strap. Only the date aperture remains at the 3 o’clock position, with the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 1017 Alyx 9SM signature at 6 o’clock. These two Royal Oak Offshore models house AP’s caliber 4404, which features an integrated chronograph and a flyback function. While the major news will be the release of these four new limited-edition models by AP, Williams and the brand also created a unique Royal Oak Chronograph to be auctioned for charity. The funds raised will go to NGOs Kids in Motion and Right to Play, who conduct projects aimed at supporting play-based learning initiatives for disadvantaged children. The watch itself is a 41mm two-tone model in 18K yellow gold and stainless steel. Its dial is a black PVD-coated gold number decorated with the same vertical finishing seen in the limited edition series. On and above it sit the signatures of both brands and yellow gold chronograph hands. The three central hands in yellow gold have lume, while the watch is powered by the previously mentioned caliber 4409. Audemars Piguet said the auction of this unique piece was to take place during the launch party of the collaboration between Audemars Piguet and 1017 Alyx 9SM on August 24th in Tokyo.
These watches will allow their lucky wearers to admire a superb series of movement decorations, including Côtes de Genève, sunray and satin finishing, circular graining, as well as polished bevels. I particularly like the 37mm Royal Oak in this series of bold releases, and the idea to remove the chronograph counters on the 41mm version looks cool. What are the only things I don’t like about this release? I’ll never own the 37mm one, and all of the others look too large for my wrist.