The new quartet of Royal Oak models marks a first for Audemars Piguet – the Royal Oak Selfwinding 34 mm combines a 34 mm case with an automatic calibre supplied by movement specialist Vaucher. An addition to the line that is not meant to replace any existing model, the new 34 mm watch is now the smallest mechanical Royal Oak for ladies, with the smallest, 33 mm model being quartz, and the next-largest automatic having a 37 mm case.
The new watch fills a gap in the diverse Royal Oak line-up – a watch compact enough for ladies but with a mechanical movement.
While the new 34 mm model is not explicitly described as a women’s watch, it is in all but name, as Audemars Piguet already has a 37 mm model as the medium-sized men’s Royal Oak. That said, the proportions of the 34 mm case remind me of the Royal Oak ref. 4100 of the 1970s and 1980s, which was then a large-sized men’s watch and 36 mm in diameter, not too much larger than the new model. By that benchmark, the new 34 mm model should not be a ladies’ watch per se, and could appeal to men who prefer a smaller case size.
But for the broader market, it is a ladies’ watch, and I can see its appeal. Importantly, it has a mechanical movement – long absent for the ladies’ Royal Oak – and the versions with the diamond-set bezels offer a bit of bling to go along with the iconic design.
So it should attract a new female customer who has always wanted a Royal Oak, but was savvy enough to wait for a mechanical model.
Powered by Vaucher
It’s available in four iterations for now, ranging from steel to pink gold with a diamond-set bezel. The steel version with a diamond-set bezel is the only one to have the blue-grey dial – the most popular colour for the Royal Oak collection at large – while the rest are equipped with silver dials.
Also making its debut with the new watch is the cal. 5800, which is actually a Vaucher cal. 3002. A sister company of Parmigiani Fleurier, Vaucher makes highly regarded movements that are also used by Hermes and Richard Mille, though the new cal. 5800 Vaucher’s debut in an Audemars Piguet watch.
Though the movement is recognisable as the Vaucher cal. 3002, it has been dressed up for Audemars Piguet with a customised rotor featuring an octagonal centre. Like most Vaucher movements, the cal. 3002 is thin, standing only 3.9 mm high, and has a free-sprung balance wheel with gold regulating weights, traditionally a feature found in high-end movements.
Interestingly, the style of Geneva stripes on the movements shown above differ; the lower image is of a movement with the radial stripes that is the stock Vaucher finish. The parallel striping is doubtlessly the final product as Audemars Piguet’s demands definitely exceed Vaucher’s minimum quantity of 250 for “personalisation” of the movement, which means changing the shape and decoration of the bridges as well as the rotor.
Key facts and price
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding 34 mm
Ref. 77350ST.OO.1261ST.01 (Steel)
Ref. 77350SR.OO.1261SR.01 (Steel and pink gold)
Ref. 77351ST.ZZ.1261ST.01 (Steel with diamond-set bezel)
Ref. 77351OR.ZZ.1261OR.01 (Pink gold with diamond-set bezel)
Diameter: 34 mm
Height: 8.8 mm
Material: All steel, steel and pink gold, or pink gold
Water-resistance: 50 m
Movement: Cal. 5800 (Vaucher cal. 3002)
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds and date
Frequency: 28,000 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 50 hours
Strap: Matching metal bracelet
Availability: Available now at boutiques
Price: 17,000 Swiss francs; or 25,600 Singapore dollars (stainless steel)
20,000 Swiss francs; or 30,100 Singapore dollars (two-toned stainless steel and pink gold)
21,500 Swiss francs; or 32,400 Singapore dollars (stainless steel with diamond-set bezel)
41,500 Swiss francs; or 62,400 Singapore dollars (18k pink gold with diamond-set bezel)
For more information, visit Audemarspiguet.com.
Update May 19, 2020: Thoughts on the movement look and finishing added.Back to top.
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