Style / World of Watches (WOW)

Yellow Fever: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak QP 2016

In advance of the big timepiece show in Geneva in 2016, Swiss watch manufacture Audemars Piguet has revealed a new Royal Oak model, a perpetual calendar in 18k yellow gold.

Nov 25, 2015 | By Ashok Soman

In advance of the big timepiece show in Geneva in 2016, Swiss watch manufacture Audemars Piguet has revealed a new Royal Oak model, a perpetual calendar in 18k yellow gold (the QP in our title refers to quantieme perpetuel, the traditional term for perpetual calendar). The mainstream press has found this sufficiently juicy to actually cover it, which is fairly remarkable. The in-house calibre powering the new watch is actually the self-winding calibre 5134, which was last featured in this very model, in stainless steel. Is this evidence of a new dawn for yellow gold in watchmaking? We will find out at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) in Geneva, Switzerland, from January 18 to January 22, 2016.

So, what if yellow gold were to storm back to prominence in the watch industry next year? Retailers in some parts of Asia might not appreciate this but, frankly, gold looks best in yellow and is self-explanatory; other types of gold don’t even look like gold! Audemars Piguet itself has never shied away from using other sorts of precious metals, including rose gold and white gold, and is even famous for its experiments in using carbon and alacrite in watch cases.

First launched in 1972, Audemars Piguet’s iconic Royal Oak watch was a bold move in stainless steel that was worked and polished like a precious metal; this revolution in the watchmaking industry gained the Le Brassus-based firm a reputation for progressive, even fearless, values in traditional watchmaking. Ironically, now the buzz for an Audemars Piguet novelty lies in the use of yellow gold, that most traditional of materials!

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The new 41mm watch features a blue dial with a “Grande Tapisserie” pattern of three dimensional squares. It displays, via subdials, the month and leap year at 12 o’clock, date at 3 o’clock, day of the week at 9 o’clock, and the moon phase at 6 o’clock. The weeks of the year are marked on the rotating internal bezel.

On the dial, the applied hour markers and hands are in yellow gold, with a luminescent coating. The bracelet is also in 18k yellow gold with the Audemars Piguet folding clasp.

The Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar has an exhibition caseback showing off calibre 5134, which has a power reserve of 40 hours.

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Specs

  • Dimensions: 41mm x 9.5mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, central sweep seconds, perpetual calendar, moon phase indicator
  • Power reserve: 40 hours
  • Movement: Mechanical, self-winding, calibre 5134
  • Water resistance: 20 meters (based the stainless steel version)
  • Material: 18k yellow gold, matching bracelet with Audemars Piguet folding clasp