Audemars Piguet is starting the new month with a new Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon. The latest entry in the company’s ongoing 50th-anniversary blowout of the iconic stainless steel sport watch, today’s new release is particularly eye-catching, featuring a blue-green dial in customary “Grande Tapisserie” fashion, a 41mm × 10.7mm titanium case, and the swanky, spinning action of the flying tourbillon at six o’clock. This new version of the Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon 41mm joins a trio of releases that were introduced in January during the first flurry of Royal Oak anniversary releases this year. As we pointed out in our initial Introducing coverage, AP went through a process of refinement when working out the case of the new Flying Tourbillon family. Despite ending up with identical dimensions to the existing pre-2022 Royal Oak Flying Tourbillon models, the new case on these watches has been subtly reworked, with more expansive bevels on the case and bracelet, a thinner first link of the bracelet, a slightly sunken sapphire crystal for the caseback, and updated hour markers and hands. Other elements that carry over to today’s release include the three-dimensional Audemars Piguet wordmark on the dial, created using high-tech galvanic growth, and the use of the self-winding caliber 2950 inside. This is the same self-winding movement that AP debuted in 2019, as part of the original CODE 11:59 launch, and it features a solid suite of specs in the form of 65 hours of running autonomy, a 3 Hz rate, a one-minute rotation, a three-arm rhodium-toned cage, and a free-sprung balance set with visible poising and timing screws. And because it’s a so-called “flying tourbillon,” there’s zero upper bridge on the tourbillon cage, affording a glimpse inside the rest of the caliber 2950 below. However, one difference worth noting is that even though it’s considered an official part of the Royal Oak’s half-century anniversary celebration, the festive “50 Years” logo found on the oscillating weight of January’s inaugural releases is now absent. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon ref. 26730TI.OO.1320TI.04, in titanium with a blue-green dial, is a limited edition of 50 pieces.
I really hope Coolio’s 1996 single “1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin’ New)” is on repeat these days at AP’s headquarters in Le Brassus.
We’ve seen a lot of Royal Oaks this year. There’s no doubt about that. And you might be reading this story, looking at the lovely images shot by the one-and-only Kasia Milton, and gearing up to comment something like, “But, Logan, all Royal Oaks look the same.” Well, bah humbug to you, too. I mean, c’mon, that criticism is about as old as the Royal Oak itself. My response is simple: Why would we want a Royal Oak to look like anything other than a Royal Oak? It’s an incredible watch. Although the parade of Royal Oaks makes me a bit sad as none will ever end up on my wrist, I’d be even sadder if AP threw the whole darn playbook away. More than anything, I’m just happy these watches exist, and I really do think today’s release is a looker.
I also think it’s interesting how heavily Audemars Piguet has focused on the tourbillon during the Royal Oak’s anniversary celebration, compared to, say, the Royal Oak Chronograph. So far this year, we’ve seen four Royal Oak Selfwinding Tourbillons (including today’s release), the first-ever openworked example of a Royal Oak Flying Tourbillon, and then the top-tier, hard-hitting Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Extra-Thin RD#3. What’s the big deal? The first tourbillon to join the Royal Oak lineup came in 1997 – the same year as the first Royal Oak Chronograph, ahem – but the first flying tourbillon didn’t join the ranks of the Royal Oak until a 2018 Royal Oak Concept release. Although, speaking of internet comment etiquette, you might remember it best from 2021’s Royal Oak Concept Black Panther. But maybe we don’t need reasons for watches other than them being badass and beautiful. And I can’t think of a better pair of words to describe the combination of the Royal Oak form factor, the flying tourbillon of AP caliber 2950, and that sweet, sweet smoked blue-green dial.