Audemars Piguet Introduces the Royal Oak Tourbillon Openworked “Sand Gold”

A new shade for a familiar gold alloy.

Audemars Piguet (AP) has introduced the Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Openworked in a new proprietary 18ak gold alloy known as sand gold. Essentially a precious-metal variant of the steel version released in 2022, the new Tourbillon Openworked showcases the brand’s commitment to interesting materials – possible in part due to AP owning its own case maker.

While the hype for integrated-bracelet sport watches has ebbed, AP has continued to deliver successive variants of its popular Royal Oak in exotic materials ranging from brown ceramic to frosted gold. Priced at CHF250,000, this latest variant pairs a warm-hued gold case and bracelet with one of the brand’s most modern movements.

Initial thoughts

Unlike its “Holy Trinity” peers Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin, Audemars Piguet has firmly embraced a contemporary, architectural aesthetic throughout its collections. The new Tourbillon Openworked is emblematic of this theme, eschewing traditional decorative finishes like Côtes de Geneve in favour of minimalist graining and sharp angles.

Featuring the brand’s latest generation flying tourbillon movement plated to match the case, the sand gold tourbillon presents a striking monochrome appearance. While skeletonised watches can often look fussy and chaotic, the geometric bridges of the cal. 2972 were clearly designed with openworking in mind. As a result, the overall aesthetic is clean and organised.

The 41 mm case is well-proportioned at just 10.6 mm in thickness, which is thinner than many simple sport watches despite its automatic flying tourbillon movement. And while the sand gold alloy is new, the finishing is done in typical Royal Oak fashion, straight-grained with polished bevels.

Sand gold

The core novelty of the Tourbillon Openworked is clearly its sand gold case and bracelet. Similar to A. Lange & Söhne’s proprietary Honey Gold, sand gold presents as something between white gold and rose gold, but appears darker; it’s hard to be more specific judging by the stock images alone. Interestingly, the alloy is resistant to fading over time, something that often happens with rose gold, especially if exposed to chlorine or salt water.

Only a handful of brands, including Rolex, Omega, Hublot, and now Audemars Piguet, have developed proprietary rose gold (or rose gold-adjacent) alloys with permanent characteristics. This is achieved by mixing certain stable metals, palladium in this instance, with the copper typically used to create rose gold.

Purpose-built skeleton

The Tourbillon Openworked is powered by the cal. 2972, which made its debut in 2022. The movement was engineered from the ground up as a skeletonised caliber, as evidenced by the neat and tidy bridge layout.

One of the distinctive characteristics of this movement is the fact that the motion works has been relocated to the upper half of the dial, enhancing the visual spectacle of the tourbillon. And it doesn’t just look good; the motion works features anti-backlash gearing to enhance the experience of setting the time.

In this application, the bridges of the cal. 2972 have received a galvanic treatment giving it a similar hue as the case, creating a sense of continuity that befits the overall design.

Key facts and price

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Openworked “Sand Gold”
Ref. 26735SG.OO.1320SG.01

Diameter: 41 mm
Height: 10.6 mm
Material: 18k sand gold
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 50 m

Movement: Cal. 2972
Features: Hours, minutes, and 60-second tourbillon
Frequency:  21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Winding: Automatic
Power reserve: 65 hours

Strap: 18k sand gold bracelet

Limited edition: No
At AP Houses and boutiques
Price: CHF250,000

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