A Design Classic with Automatic Winding. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Self-Winding 41 has been the flagship Audemars Piguet model since its introduction in 1972. Since then, the Le Brassus-based Swiss manufacturer has released this timepiece in numerous iterations. Most Royal Oaks are selfwinding models, meaning they wind themselves automatically.
In the past weeks we have started presenting some of the novelties launched by Audemars Piguet in 2022, including the updated Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin ref. 16202 and the Openworked version ref. 16204. Today we go more in depth on the new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Self-Winding 41 mm ref. 26240.
It wouldn’t be SIHH without some updates to the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Self-Winding 41 collection. This year we’ve got a new base model Royal Oak in the form of the ref. 15500, replacing the ref. 15400 that came out back in 2012. The ref. 15500 is still a 41mm, automatic Royal Oak with classic looks, but the proportions and detailing have been updated with increased legibility and cleanliness in mind. Specifically, the date window is now further from the center, the applied luminous indexes are a bit wider, and the minute track is printed on the very edge of the dial outside the “Grande Tapisserie” pattern. There are five references in total, three in stainless steel (with blue, grey, and black dial options) and two in rose gold (one on a bracelet and one on a strap, both with black dials).
One of the most important updates though is the use of a new movement, the caliber 4302. This in-house movement was just introduced yesterday in the three-hand CODE 11.59 model (see, we told you AP would likely roll these movements out to other watches). This is a much more modern movement than the classic caliber 3120 that powered the ref. 15400 – it beats at 4 Hz instead of 3 Hz, it has 70 hours of power reserve instead of a 60, and it was designed and made totally in-house. Now, this has the added effect of making the watch thicker too, with the ref. 15500 measuring in at 10.4mm top to bottom instead of 9.8mm. Whether or not this makes any difference is yet to be seen, but we’ll be looking for it when we see these in the metal soon.