Audemars Piguet Unveils the Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin Openworked Ref. 16204

Skilfully and tastefully upgraded.

Alongside the Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin ref. 16202, Audemars Piguet has just unveiled the Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin Openworked Ref. 16204 for the 50th anniversary of its iconic octagonal watch.

The skeleton “Jumbo” is naturally offered with a brand-new movement, the cal. 7124. Extra revealing and extra thin – even thinner than the cal. 7121 found in the standard “Jumbo” – the cal. 7124 boasts a striking, cohesive aesthetic thanks to having been designed from the ground up as an open-worked calibre.

The steel variant with a low-key, almost monochromatic palette

Initial thoughts

Striking, original, and impressive, the “Jumbo” Openworked is clearly a cut above standard “Jumbo” ref. 16202. It is arguably a more comprehensive upgrade over the equivalent, earlier-generation model than the ref. 16202, given the nature of the new calibre.

Everything attractive about a skeleton Royal Oak can be found in the “Jumbo” Openworked, namely the meticulous hand finish of an ultra-thin movement inside the elegantly flat and wide case.

The visual details of the earlier-generation skeleton movement that were unappealing – namely the meandering bridges that seemed almost messy – have been eliminated. Instead, the cal. 7124 brings with it an architecture that’s contemporary and geometric with strong, flowing lines, while remaining intricate enough to capture the feel of an old-school skeletonised movement.

Starting at US$90,400 in steel and rising to the equivalent of US$127,000 in pink gold, the ref. 16204 costs slightly less than the Royal Oak Double Balance wheel Openworked. From that perspective, the ref. 16204 is fairly priced since the lacks the double balance. While the double balance wheel might have some extra techie appeal, the simplicity and slimness of the skeleton “Jumbo” is certainly hard to top.

Open-worked artistry

Inside the “Jumbo” Openworked is the cal. 7124, essentially the skeleton version of the cal. 7121. Both movements were developed concurrently. The cal. 7124, however, is thinner due to the removal of the quickset date found in the cal. 7121.

But unlike older generation movement that were retroactively open worked, the cal. 7124 was conceived with skeletonisation in mind from the very beginning, explaining the thoughtful design.

Because it is modern in both concept and manufacture, the cal. 7124 is skeletonised with modern techniques. No more files and raws, instead unnecessary material from the bridges of the cal. 7124 are removed via computer numeral control (CNC) machining as well as electric discharge machining (EDM), which is a process of removing metal via sparks.

The top right of the base plate has a surprisingly curvaceous outline, with its appeal enhanced by the outward and inward angles

However, the cal. 7124 is finished by hand (presumably with hand-held electric tools), resulting in numerous inward and outward angles along the bevelling of the bridges – an impressive 324 angles according to the brand.

Notably, most of the anglage has a domed profile, a flourish not achievable solely via computerised or automated finishing techniques, therefore indicating a high degree of manual work in the decoration.

The black-on-gold palette of the pink gold version is striking, though the bevelling is less obvious due to the colour

The view from the back is familiar too, with the twin golden bridges calling to mind the cal. 7121 found in the standard “Jumbo” ref. 16202.

But here the movement has been thoroughly skeletonised, leaving the symmetrical architecture – the gold bridges hold the balance and barrel – even more obvious.

The 50th anniversary rotor of the Royal Oak is only available this year, but the font for the emblem is far too modern compared to the rest of the watch

Key facts and price

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin Openworked 39 mm
Ref. 16204ST.OO.1240ST.01 (steel)
Ref. 16204OR.OO.1240OR.01 (pink gold)

Diameter: 39 mm
Height: 8.1 mm
Material: Steel or 18k pink gold
Crystal: Sapphire
Water-resistance: 50 m

Movement: Cal. 7124
Functions: Hours and minutes
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 57 hours

Strap: Matching bracelet

Limited edition: No
 At AP boutiques
Steel – US$90,400, or 130,500 Singapore dollars
Pink gold – US dollar price unavailable: 170,500 Singapore dollars

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