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This year, Audemars Piguet introduces a new shine to its Royal Oak collection, a timekeeping icon that has transformed the art of luxury watchmaking since it was launched in 1972.

Le Brassus-based watchmaker Audemars Piguet has bagged many world firsts since its establishment in 1875, but none as significant as designer Gérald Genta’s invention of the Royal Oak. Not only was it presented at Basel’s annual Swiss Watch Show in April 1972 as the first high-end sports watch to be made of steel, but it was also the most expensive luxury sports watch to have ever been marketed that year, given its price tag of CHF3,650.

The timepiece’s revolutionary design has undergone many variations over the decades, but continues to be characterised by its octagonal bezel with eight hexagonal screws, a “tapisserie” guilloche-engraved dial and an integrated bracelet.

The 2017 edition continues to live on in traditional yet ever-changing innovations for him and her, combining nearly a century and a half of technical expertise with the brand’s legendary flair for bold and boundary-breaking designs.

Aqua palette
The non-chronograph model of the Royal Oak Offshore Diver comes in exciting Funky Colour hues, as seen in 2016’s collection, which features dark blue, white, acid yellow, lime green and bright orange. Each version comes with an additional blue rubber strap besides the one it is fitted with to match its dial. Like all Audemars Piguet Diver watches, each model is water-resistant to 300m and boasts a rotating inner bezel with diving scale and zone from 60 to 15 minutes. The hour and minute hands are given a luminescent coating to ensure great visibility both in and out of water.

Skeleton-thin
Owing to popular demand, two new limited-edition versions of the Royal Oak Tourbillon Extra-Thin have been introduced this year: one brushed in 18-carat pink gold, featuring a pink-gold mainplate and bridges, and the other in rhodium-plated stainless steel. The intricate process of skeleton isation can be seen in these two models, which mark the very last of the Royal Oak Extra-thin Openworked watches with such a design to be produced. Each timepiece features an in-house calibre 2924 hand-wound skeleton movement com prising 216 components.

Frosty treatment
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the women’s Royal Oak, Audemars Piguet has introduced a beautiful reinterpretation of the contemporary timepiece in both white and pink frosted gold. The Royal Oak Frosted Gold’s unique shimmer comes from a surface treatment process rooted in an ancient Florentine gold hammering technique. Developed in collaboration with jewellery designer Carolina Bucci, this finishing process is suited to the model’s case and bracelet construction. The result is tiny indentations on the surface for a sparkling effect that highlights the finish without altering the clean lines that define the Royal Oak’s form.

Diamond dust
The swirling diamond relief pattern that glides beyond the dial and bezel to the bracelet of the new women’s 33mm Royal Oak is everything but random. Every gem’s positioning is precisely considered and set within a distinct design in the same way an abstract painter might approach a canvas, creating a sense of design continuity throughout the entire piece. The Royal Oak Quartz comes in two versions: 18-carat pink gold or 18-carat white gold, each set with 429 brilliant-cut diamonds on the case and bracelet in addition to 112 brilliant-cut diamonds on the dial.

This article appeared in Issue 783 (June 12) of The Edge Singapore.