Audemars Piguet unveils its first Royal Oak self-winding flying tourbillon skeleton watch
Swiss haute horlogerie manufacturer Audemars Piguet is delighted to present its first 41mm diameter Royal Oak Automatic Flying Tourbillon Skeleton watch to celebrate the Royal Oak’s 50th anniversary. Equipped with the Manufacture’s first self-winding flying tourbillon skeleton mechanical movement, Calibre 2972, this stainless steel watch makes its debut in this elegant monochrome watch. Building on Audemars Piguet’s long-standing expertise in skeleton and tourbillon mechanisms, this latest in-house movement takes contemporary aesthetics to new heights.
Self-winding flying tourbillon with unique skeleton structure
Evolving from the Calibre 2950, the newly released Calibre 2972, which combines a central rotor and flying tourbillon, is part of the Code 11.59 collection launched by Audemars Piguet in 2019. The new movement is designed to provide symmetry and rich light effects. Its highly stylized and multi-layered skeleton structure gives the watch a unique 3D effect, as the shape of the bridges has been completed horizontally and vertically.
The Calibre 2972 is based on the ancient skeleton technique that has been reinventing the possibilities of watch design since the 1930s. The beauty and sophistication of the mechanism is revealed by removing as much material as possible from the main and bridge plates to let light through without compromising their functionality. Using advanced manufacturing techniques, the preliminary geometry of the main board and bridge has been cut by computer numerical control (CNC) machining and then refined by electrical discharge machining (EDM). This manufacturing process removes small amounts of material with extreme precision to achieve the desired shape.
Each component is then finished with refined Haute Horlogerie finishes, including “specialty tires”, satin, round and sunburst brushed, snailed, and polished chamfers. The polished V-shaped corners admirable on the sides of the watch reflect the meticulousness in its realization, as this level of craftsmanship can only be achieved by hand. The rhodium tone of the different components complements the watch’s stainless steel case and bracelet, giving the watch a modern monochromatic aesthetic.
The unobstructed flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock compensates for the effects of gravity and increases precision. The balance wheel is mounted in a tiny rotating cage that makes one revolution per minute to prevent the hairspring from remaining stationary. The flying tourbillon, supported only on the main plate, is today considered a symbol of the art of watchmaking, as only a few watchmakers retain the necessary skills to realize it. best quality replica watches
Anniversary special pendulum
The new watch features the Royal Oak “50 Years” oscillating weight, which will be featured on the Royal Oak Anniversary models throughout 2022. The watch’s sapphire caseback showcases a dedicated oscillating weight in 22-karat rose gold and rhodium, which blends seamlessly with the grey tones of the skeletonized movement, reminiscent of a stainless steel case.
The stainless steel bracelet and case of the Royal Oak Self-Winding Skeleton Flying Tourbillon watch have a new design evolution, debuting this year on the Royal Oak models in 34, 37, 38 and 41 mm.
The case and bracelet feature large polished chamfers for a slender aesthetic, providing a stronger light between the satin-brushed and polished surfaces that adorn the different components. In addition, the thickness reduction of the first four links of the one-piece bracelet is more pronounced and visually appealing. The bracelet links are also thinner and therefore lighter for added comfort. For its part, the sapphire caseback is slightly more fused to the case for a better fit on the wrist.
The white gold hour markers and hands are coated with a luminous coating for optimal visibility in the dark, and their proportions are also slightly modified to complement the other Royal Oak models in the collection.
The heritage of the tourbillon watch
In 1986, Audemars Piguet luxury launched the world’s first self-winding tourbillon watch. The Calibre 2870 is housed in an ultra-thin case with a thickness of only 5.3 mm and is equipped with a winding system on the back side. Its tourbillon cage remains one of the smallest in the world today, at 7.2mm in diameter, and one of the lightest, weighing just 0.123 grams. This groundbreaking watch blazed a new trail in the haute horlogerie industry and reconnected with this prestigious mechanism. Several generations of tourbillons have inherited the Calibre 2870, showing unprecedented sturdiness and reliability.
The tourbillon entered the Royal Oak’s 25th anniversary in 1997. At the time, reference 25831 was powered by Audemars Piguet’s second-generation tourbillon movement, Calibre 2875, and featured a stylized octagonal aperture on the tourbillon cage at 6 o’clock. The Skeleton Royal Oak model (25902) equipped with the Calibre 2875SQ was introduced in 1999 – the first ever Royal Oak Skeleton Tourbillon.
In 2003, the tourbillon was combined with a chronograph for the first time in the Royal Oak collection, with the 25977 calibre equipped with the 2889 calibre. This stainless steel watch paved the way for a new wave of timepieces with two complications including the Royal Oak Tradition d’Excellence n°4 (Ref. 25969) released the following year.
In 2012, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Royal Oak, Audemars Piguet launched a new 41mm Royal Oak Ultra-Thin Tourbillon (ref. 26510), equipped with Calibre 2924, available in stainless steel or 18-karat rose gold. A skeletonized version was also released for the event, limited to 40 pieces (ref. 26511, caliber 2924SQ). The timepiece was launched in gold (26513BA) in 2016, followed by two limited editions in stainless steel (26518ST) and rose gold (26518OR) in 2017.
The Manufacture’s first Royal Oak Tourbillon Chronograph Skeleton (26347) was presented in 2016 as a 44mm platinum timepiece equipped with the Calibre 2936. In 2017, this intricate mechanism is available in titanium and rose gold.
For its part, the Flying Tourbillon debuted on the Royal Oak Concept in 2018, followed by a 41mm timepiece (ref. 26530) in the Royal Oak collection in 2020, the latest generation by the Manufacture Calibre 2950 provides the power. The Manufacture’s Heritage Tourbillon collection continues with this self-winding skeleton flying tourbillon movement, reinterpreting tradition through modern lenses on the occasion of the Royal Oak’s 50th anniversary.