This year’s new range of chronographs harks back to a much-loved look first seen in 2008. Just like the vintage examples from the 1930s – 1960s, the dials of the Royal Oak Chronograph have always been thoughtfully designed.
All seven models in the new series feature a fresh, two-tone dial design with several new yet subtle details: chronograph counters of increased size that expand at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock, shorter but wider hour-markers, additional luminescent coating for a better readability of the hour and new typeset and transfers. The date window, meanwhile, has been re-located between the four and five o’clock positions. These design details are showcased in a wide combination of finishes, led by four versions in pink gold which are available on a matching, pink gold bracelet or an alligator strap and with a choice of brown or blue ‘Grande Tapisserie’ dials.
The steel versions of the watch are offered with a choice of “Grande Tapisserie” dials in black, silver or blue and are fitted with stainless steel bracelets.
As we start awaiting 2018’s SIHH novelties, we thought it high time to take a closer look at some of this year’s favorites, which include the richly over-the-top 15202, left for the first time as a modern, non-limited reference entirely in 18-carat yellow gold. It’s not just the all-gold situation that brings the 15202 relevance though — there are a couple other (albeit more subtle) visual cues that set this particular reference apart, and may make it more desirable for collectors in the long run. Probably most obvious, is that the simple time plus date-only dial setup, completed from the ‘AP’ emblem at 6:00, which pays direct homage to the initial steel 5402 released in 1972. This aesthetic also tips its hat towards the yellowish gold 5402BA Jumbo released five decades later — the very first time Audemars Piguet rendered the Jumbo inside this valuable metal.However, more noteworthy is that the thickness — the brand new 15202 measures a hair over 8mm, 0.2mm thicker than the original 5402, and the closest we’ve seen to those pioneering ultra-thin dimensions since the 40th Anniversary variations from 2012 — hence the ‘Extra Thin’ naming convention. This new-but-really-old profile, coupled with all the eminently wearable 39mm case size really feels like the sweet spot for the Royal Oak, and has much to do with why this iconic design was able to develop into such a future-proof classic at the first place.The Jumbo Royal Oak in its classic configuration is a wristwatch that historically, by all measurements, should wear exceptionally thin. However, this new reference is one which still manages to jump off the wrist, as a result of its solid yellow gold case, and light-gobbling “Petite Tapisserie” tonal champagne colored waffle dial. People who are looking for a marginally more toned-down aesthetic still rendered within this precious metal will love the second of those 15202’s two brand new dial variations: a stunning blue, and this, given the spate of blue-on-bronze sports watches we’ve seen this season, is as much on-trend, as it is slightly less ostentatious.