Audemars Piguet can look back on a long history of high horology and sophisticated complications, and for its latest feat in this arena the manufacture has installed a flying tourbillon, for the first time, into its flagship Royal Oak Selfwinding collection. The new Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon, comprising three distinctive models, incorporates the recently developed Caliber 2950, which made its high-profile debut last year in the Code 11.59 collection.
The three models all measure 41 mm in diameter and are immediately recognizable by their iconic octagonal bezel with visible screws and integrated link bracelet. Two of the trio feature the hallmark “Tapisserie” pattern on their dials: one is in a steel case with a smoked blue sunburst dial color and white gold hands and hour markers; the other, in 18k rose gold, features a smoked gray sunburst dial color,with hands and markers also in rose gold. The third, in a titanium case, stands apart with its use of a sandblasted slate gray dial with a peripheral snailed pattern instead of the more traditional “Tapisserie.” All three give pride of place to the large flying tourbillon aperture at 6 o’clock.
The other notable addition to the dials is the 3D applied Audemars Piguet logo just below 12 o’clock, which for the first time in the expansive, venerable Royal Oak collection is made of thin layers of gold in a chemical process called galvanic growth. The process, similar to 3D printing and in which each letter of the logo is fixed on the dial by hair-thin “legs,” was developed initially for the Code 11.59 models that debuted in 2019.
Also tracing its heritage to that collection is the movement, Caliber 2950, which combines a flying tourbillon — i.e., a tourbillon anchored to the plate on only one side rather then two, and thus more visually dynamic from the front — with a central rotor to wind the watch. Composed of 270 parts, including 27 jewels, the movement beats at 21,600 vph and holds a 65-hour power reserve. The tourbillon cage is hand-finished and the openworked rotor is in rose gold (rhodium-plated in the steel-cased and titanium-cased models); the movement’s array of high-end finishes include cotes de Geneve, satin-brushing, snailing and hand-polishing on the chamfers. All this craftsmanship is on display behind a sapphire caseback.
The bracelets, like the cases, boast the same high degree of hand-finishing as the cases, with satin-brushed and polished chamfers and an appealing juxtaposition of shiny and matte surfaces; they fasten securely to the wrist with an AP-branded triple-folding clasp. Prices are CHF 133,000 for both the steel and titanium versions and CHF 164,000 for the rose-gold model.