The Royal Oak comes in various sizes, you can find the self-winding model offered in 37mm, 39mm and 41mm. That said, if one were hankering after the smaller sizes, like the 33mm, it may come as a slight disappointment as the 33mm model was powered by a quartz movement.
But now, disappointment no more; Audemars Piguet has dropped a new small model in their most iconic line-up. The new model is in 34mm, just a hair larger than the previous 33mm, and features, for the first time, a mechanical self-winding movement.
Audemars Piguet launched the new collection with little fanfare, but at our recent visit to AP House, we were given the opportunity to view and photograph the new piece. The 34mm Royal Oak comes in four versions: in steel with with a silver-toned dial, in two-tone steel and pink-gold with a silver-toned dial, in steel with a blue-grey dial and diamonds on the bezel, and lastly, in pink gold with a silver-toned dial and diamonds on the bezel. All four versions come with a date window at 3 o’clock, the distinct Grand Tapisserie pattern on the dial and the applied logo at 12 o’clock.
The movement in the watch is the self-winding calibre 5800, a new movement for AP in 2020 which makes its debut in the new 34mm Royal Oak Selfwinding. With central hands and a date function, the movement beats at 4Hz and comes with a power reserve of 50 hours, or about 2 days.
Available in boutiques, the Royal Oak 34mm Selfwinding retails for US$18,300 for the steel model, and up to US$44,500 for the full pink gold version with diamonds.
For someone who is used to seeing Royal Oaks in larger dimensions like 39mm and 41mm, the 34mm version at first glance appears rather small, and you’re left wondering if it’s maybe too small. In any case, if you’ve ever owned or tried on the 37mm, or the 39mm or the 41mm, ergonomically they are already pretty comfortable on the wrist, even on my wrists. Whoever is still saying 37mm diameter and above isn’t for ladies can shut the front door behind them.
I’d go so far as to say the 41mm may even win over the 39mm ever so slightly in terms of comfort, as small changes in the case design allows the 41mm to sit slightly higher on the wrist, thus allowing the bracelet to taper and curve around the shape of your wrist.
But of course, this is all before I tried on the 34mm and it changed my perceptions of comfort. Sure, the 34mm is not going to fulfil your dreams if your desire is for the one and only 15202, but the 34mm wears really well for slimmer wrists and is still visually appealing, embodying everything that AP stands for. The angular case does not feel at all sharp or unwieldy on the wrist; it sits flush on top of your wrist just right, and the bracelet hugs your wrist just right. It’s all subjective of course, and you really do have to try on the models yourself to find the one that fits your style the best.
The next cool thing about the Royal Oak Selfwinding 34mm is the different colour variations offered. It’s interesting that AP decided against offering the 34mm in the classic steel and blue dial variation — instead that combo is only offered with a diamond-set bezel. The blue is also slightly different, it’s more of a grey-blue, which gives the watch a more sombre look, but serves to make the watch less flashy and more understated, even when diamonds are involved.
In terms of pricing, the steel is priced at US$18,300, the two-tone at US$21,500, the steel with diamonds at US$23,100 and the pink gold and diamonds at US$44,500. The 33mm Quartz version in steel retails for US$13,400 in comparison and is still in its current line-up although whether the watch will be phased out remains to be seen. What about the 41mm you ask? The steel version of the 15500 is priced at US$20,400. Regardless of hype, ultimately your watch choice should come down to how you feel about the watch in the metal. And so, the Royal Oak Selfwinding 34mm may not be marketed as such, but we do see this watch appealing to lot more ladies for sure, and maybe quite a few men too who lean more towards classically sized watches.
Selfwinding Calibre 5800 with hours, minutes seconds and date, power reserve of 50 hours
34mm in diameter, 8.8mm thick, in stainless steel, two-tone stainless steel and pink gold, pink gold, with or without diamonds, water resistant to 50 meters
Matching bracelet with AP folding clasp
US$18,300 (steel), US$21,500 (steel and pink gold) US$23,100 (steel with diamonds), US$44,500 (pink gold with diamonds)
The Royal Oak Selfwinding 34mm is available in AP boutiques now.