As summer was steadily coming to an end and we in the Northern hemisphere were gradually accepting the oncoming fall, Swiss luxury watch maison Audemars Piguet spent its last days of warm weather quietly updating its catalog. While the bulk the famed watchmaker’s new releases were additions to its contemporary Royal Oak Offshore collection, it simultaneously debuted two new high-complication watches — the Royal Oak Minute Repeater Supersonnerie, the brand’s signature take on a classic minute repeater, and the Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar. What makes both of these haute horlogerie timepieces even more notable is the use of titanium for their cases.
Importantly, titanium is becoming an increasingly popular choice of metal for Audemars Piguet as a case material within its classic Royal Oak collection. Earlier this year, the manufacture unveiled a Japan-exclusive Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar in the metal, and in 2020 launched the Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon in titanium, each among a couple other experiments that used both platinum and titanium in their cases.
Despite its increasing use within AP’s signature range, titanium appears yet to be applied (sans an accompanying platinum) to the original time-and-date Royal Oak, which is of course famous for being constructed in steel. Yet while steel was the sportiest metal available in 1972, titanium arguably holds that role today, and so it would not be impossible to imagine Audemars Piguet unveiling a particularly modern edition of its most iconic timepiece, cased in titanium, in the years to come.
Royal Oak Minute Repeater Supersonnerie Titanium
The Royal Oak Minute Repeater Supersonnerie (ref. 26591TI.OO.1252TI.03) features a familiar Royal Oak design, complete with the famed eight-sided bezel, integrated bracelet, and impeccable polished and brushed finishing. Manufactured from titanium at 42 mm in diameter by 14 mm thick, the watch is not overly large, keeping true to the classic Royal Oak thinness — an uncommon achievement for a minute repeater. The only flourish on the case that sets it apart from a more traditional Royal Oak is the minute repeater switch on the left side.
Underneath the glareproof sapphire crystal, a degradé gray dial with a Grande Tapisserie pattern is showcased, its entire surface textured in guilloché. A small, black small seconds subdial is placed at the 6 o’clock position while familiar Royal Oak applied and lume-filled markers are used at each of the hour positions, their shapes matching those of the hour and minute hands. Inside is the manufacture’s latest hand-wound minute repeater movement, Caliber 2953, a mechanism derived from the very first Supersonnerie in 2016 from the Royal Oak Concept collection, and like its predecessor features a crisp minute repeater chime. A sonorous engraved caseback protects the mechanism and provides the watch with a 50-meter water resistance.
Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Titanium
The latest iteration of Audemars Piguet’s famed Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar is executed in titanium and familiar in its ultra-thin profile — 41 mm diameter by 9.5 mm height — its ultra-thin profile a testament to the brand’s historic achievements with the Royal Oak series. Like the minute repeater, the Perpetual Calendar features the familiar octagonal bezel and integrated case and bracelet, here sans the repeater switch, for an overall incredibly clean and well-finished look.
On the dial, we are greeted by a Grande Tapisserie pattern, this time in blue; surrounding it is a curved analog ring showcasing the weeks of year, which are indicated by a small, white arrow-tipped pointer. Four subdials for the watch’s other displays are placed at each quarter, for the day, date, year, leap-year, and moon-phase. The manufacture Caliber 5134 that makes these perpetual calendar displays possible is an automatic movement with a 22K gold rotor, which is visible behind an exhibition caseback.
Price and Availability
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Minute Repeater Supersonnerie is priced at CHF324,500 (just above $ 347,000), while the Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar is priced at $80,000, and is now available globally after an initial U.S.-exclusive release. As is the case with most Audemars Piguet watches, each will be limited in total production.
To learn more, visit Audemars Piguet, here.