Monday 5 December 2022

Audemars Piguet unveils a second version of its Royal Oak

LE BRASSUS, September 14, 2022

Swiss Haute Horlogerie manufacturer Audemars Piguet unveil its latest Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Extra-Thin (RD#3) model. This 37 mm anniversary model, which complements the 39 mm “jumbo” timepiece released earlier this year, pushes the limits of the manufacture’s craft one step further.
For the first time, the company introduces a flying tourbillon in this smaller diameter making it available to the slenderer wrists as a result to its latest ultra-thin selfwinding flying tourbillon movement, Calibre 2968, which measures a mere 3.4 mm in thickness and adorns a combination of traditional and contemporary hand-decorations.
Enriched with an innovative escapement and an unprecedented plum dial, this timepiece interweaves technical complexity with aesthetic details for extreme refinement, while paying tribute to the brand’s legacy of small and mid-sized complicated timepieces.
An Innovative Ultra-Thin Flying Tourbillon Movement
At the heart of this innovation is Calibre 2968, an ultra-thin selfwinding flying tourbillon movement that was developed over a five-year period. Integrating a flying tourbillon powered by an innovative escapement in a case of 39 mm and then 37 mm in diameter represents the Manufacture’s main technical achievement as this complication was previously reserved for 41 mm diameters.
Given the restricted space available, this selfwinding flying tourbillon had to rethink to reduce its thickness, while retaining the initial proportions of its cage, leading to the repositioning of certain components. The tourbillon cage, which is crafted in titanium, is notably equipped for the first time with a peripheral drive, which also contributes to its thinness.
The combination of these two elements makes the distribution of energy to the tourbillon more fluid in addition to lightening and refining this regulating organ. In addition, the new escapement relies on an oscillator with increased amplitude that enhances reliability, energy distribution and precision.
In order to provide optimum visibility of both the flying tourbillon and the movement, Audemars Piguet engineers completely redesigned the architecture of the mechanism. On the caseback side, the bridges have been openworked to unveil the movement’s inner workings, while achieving a harmonious and symmetrical aesthetic.
On the dial side, the geometry and positioning of the balance wheel arms have been modified to make the beating heart even more perceptible. The technical design of the movement results in the flying tourbillon being placed at the dial level, for a greater visual experience.
The hand decoration of the movement components, visible through the sapphire caseback, combines the dynamism and classicism of V-angles with the modernity of traits tirés – a finish that appears on the mainplate and bridges and replaces the traditional Côtes de Genève. The openworked, rhodium-toned bridges offer an unobstructed view on the contrasting pink-gold-toned elements of the mechanism.
 “Our first goal was to adapt the flying tourbillon to the exact dimensions of the original “Jumbo” case. Then, we challenged ourselves further by fitting the same calibre in a 37 mm case. This technical constraint required us to rethink the totality of the flying tourbillon cage, in which we included a new escapement”, says Lucas Raggi, Development Director.
A Fine Aesthetic Inspired By “Jumbo” Codes
Although endowed with a smaller diameter, the second RD#3 version integrates the dial aesthetic codes of the “Jumbo” model released earlier this year. Similarly to its 39 mm counterpart, the timepiece adorns a Petite Tapisserie dial, but presented for the first time in a vivid plum hue, obtained by Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD) to guarantee a light, homogeneous and lasting hue across all dials.
Inspired by the original model from 1972, this new reference also encompasses bathtub-shaped hour-markers and hands with a luminescent coating for optimum legibility in the dark. The “Audemars Piguet” signature, as well as the minute track, has been printed in white onto the Tapisserie motif. Rotating at 6 o’clock, the titanium flying tourbillon cage provides a sharp contrast with the plum background, creating a mesmerising aerial effect.
Departing from Jumbo aesthetics, the hand-finished stainless steel case and bracelet of this 37 mm model incorporate the collection’s latest design evolution which was introduced at the beginning of the year on numerous Royal Oak models. The widened polished bevels and the increase taper of the bracelet links bestow the timepiece with a slenderer silhouette, while reinforcing its ergonomics.
A Dedicated “50-Years” Oscillating Weight
The Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon extra-thin features a central oscillating weight mounted on ball bearings and equipped with two reversers that ensure bidirectional winding. This dedicated rhodium-toned 22-carat pink gold rotor, specifically developed for the Royal Oak’s 50th anniversary, bears the “50-years” logo and the Audemars Piguet signature engraved on its surface. Matching the tones of the stainless steel case and bracelet, it is adorned with the collection’s trademark polished and satin-brushed finishes that can be admired through the sapphire caseback.-TradeArabia News Service


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