Before Audemars Piguet launched its 34mm Royal Oak Selfwinding model last April, those with very slender wrists had only two choices at the smaller end of the Royal Oak spectrum: Automatic models with a 37mm diameter, or 33mm models powered by quartz movements. Among the many who favour the former, mechanical option, the 37mm diameter can feel a little too big.
In general, Royal Oaks tend to wear a tad larger because of their integrated-lug design, so even though 37mm sounds smallish on paper, several women have told us that they prefer the look and fit of the 34mm model on their wrists.
Thank goodness, then, for the Royal Oak Selfwinding 34mm. Until now, the model has been available in four variants: A steel version with a silver dial, a steel model with a diamond-set bezel and blue dial, in two-tone steel and pink gold, and a pink gold model with a diamond-set bezel. What they have in common are dials featuring the brand’s Grande Tapisserie engraving and the Calibre 5800 movement with 50 hours of power reserve.
Now, the brand presents two new models with distinctively different looks, in case materials that will be familiar to Audemars Piguet fans: Black ceramic, and white Frosted Gold.
What’s noteworthy about the black ceramic version is that this is the first non-complex Royal Oak in ceramic. While Audemars Piguet had used ceramic components — think links, bezels and pushers — since the 1980s, it only introduced its first (black) ceramic case in 2011 with the 48mm Royal Oak Offshore Arnold Schwarzenegger The Legacy Chronograph.
In 2017, it introduced the use of black ceramic in the Royal Oak family, with the 41mm Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar, complete with full-ceramic bracelet. Other black-ceramic Royal Oak models that followed include the Royal Oak Tourbillon Chronograph Openworked, the Royal Oak Tourbillon Extra Thin and the Royal Oak Double Balance Wheel Openworked.
Like these other timepieces, the black ceramic Royal Oak 34mm features a mix of polished and satin-brushed finishes, which gives AP ceramics an exceptionally refined feel. Pink gold accents, including eight hexagonal screws on the bezel, hour markers and lumed hands, form an elegant contrast with the black ceramic as well as the engraved black dial.
White Frosted Gold
Distinguished by its specific hammered finish, Frosted Gold made its Audemars Piguet debut in 2016. Jewellery designer Carolina Bucci helped the brand to adapt an ancient Florentine jewellery-making technique for watchmaking. To make Frosted Gold, tiny indentations are created on the surface of gold with a diamond-tipped tool, which gives the material a textured, shimmering effect. Since then, it has been used on numerous Royal Oak and Millenary models.
What we love about the new Royal Oak 34mm in white Frosted Gold is how its cool case and bracelet finish becomes even icier thanks to the new light blue hue of its PVD-coated Grande Tapisserie dial. Unsurprisingly, this chilly palette is completed with hour markers and lumed hands in white gold. The black ceramic and Frosted Gold models both feature time and date functions, and are powered by the Calibre 5800, which is visible through a sapphire-crystal caseback.
The Royal Oak Frosted Gold Selfwinding 34mm retails for S$68,700 and the Royal Oak Selfwinding 34mm in black ceramic retails for S$62,900.