The brand’s last Unique 15202 sold for 3.1 million Swiss francs at a charity auction to support Only Watch 2021
The fine watch manufacturer Audemars Piguet was fortunate to raise funds for the study of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and its dedicated and unique timepieces were auctioned at the 9th Only Watch charity auction held last Saturday. This unique Only Watch is the last unique Royal Oak “Jumbo” ultra-thin watch, model 15202, equipped with calibre 2121, which is the thinnest automatic movement with a central rotor and date display. First launched on the Royal Oak in 1972. Reference 15202 and Calibre 2121 will be officially retired at the end of 2021 to make way for the new generation.
While offering a new gray tone, the “Petite Tapisserie” dial of this unique watch retains the original Royal Oak logo and AP monogram introduced in the 5402 A series. However, looking to the future, the case and bracelet combine titanium with a new palladium-based alloy bulk metallic glass-this is the first of Audemars Piguet.
For the first time, a watch factory supplemented titanium with large pieces of metallic glass, a palladium-based alloy mainly used in the field of microelectronics. When cooled quickly, this palladium-based alloy shares many characteristics with other glasses, including amorphousness and high strength, making it highly wear-resistant and corrosion-resistant. When done by hand, its non-crystalline nature will produce a unique light and shadow effect. Hand-polished large pieces of metallic glass are used for the bezel, sapphire case back frame and bracelet rivets, which are in sharp contrast with the titanium case and bracelet links. The sandblasted titanium case with polished chamfers is paired with a bracelet decorated with sandblasted (top), satin-finished and polished chamfers.
The sapphire large metal glass back cover is engraved with the words “Unique Piece” and the “Pd500” logo proves that the palladium content of the alloy exceeds 50%.
Dial inspired by the past
While offering a new gray tone, the dial of the unique Only Watch watch retains the original Royal Oak aesthetic guidelines introduced in the 5402 A series in 1972. The printed “Audemars Piguet” signature and the words “Automatic” appearing at 12 o’clock, as well as the application AP monogram at 6 o’clock, present the same position and layout as the original timepiece. In addition, the original printed denomination “Swiss” remains under the time scale at 6 o’clock.
The slate gray of the dial seamlessly matches the case and bracelet. The monochromatic combination exudes timeless elegance.
Calibre 2121: Towards a new era
The dedicated Only Watch timepiece represents the last unique 15202 and the last unique watch driven by the automatic movement Calibre 2121, which was equipped with the first Royal Oak in 1972. The thickness of the 2121 movement is only 3.05 mm. It is the thinnest automatic movement with a central rotor and a date display.
The legendary movement coincides with the long history of the watch factory’s ultra-thin movement. Audemars Piguet has been a proponent of miniaturization since 1875. It quickly developed its own route, developing ultra-small and ultra-thin mechanical devices with or without complex functions. In 1938, the manufacturer released a manual winding 9ML movement with a thickness of 1.64 mm, followed by its successor 2003 movement in 1953. Due to the cooperation of several well-known companies, the 2120 movement was launched in 1967. With its thickness of 2.45 mm, it became the thinnest self-winding movement with a central rotor at the time. It was on this basis that Calibre 2121 came out in 1970, this time with a date indication.
While marking the end of an era, the unique work of the Royal Oak “Jumbo” ultra-thin watch also ushered in a new generation of 39 mm Royal Oak, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2022.