The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak is one of the most well-known watches in the world, but there are some references within the family that remain relatively undiscovered. While they are extremely rare, Royal Oaks with stone dials are as beautiful as you would imagine from the Le Brassus-based brand, with lapis lazuli and various other textured hard stones used in recent decades. Audemars Piguet have added to this legacy of exotic dials with the brand new Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin, available in platinum and rose gold with a black onyx dial and diamond indexes.
The new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak “Jumbo”, in its ultra-thin case, measures just 39mm in diameter and only 8.1mm tall — well and truly living up to its slimline name. This lithe presence on the wrist is allowed by the Audemars Piguet automatic caliber 2121, which is only 3.05mm thick, pretty impressive for an automatic movement that offers 40 hours of power reserve. The reference in platinum is reminiscent of the ref. 14700BC Royal Oak from 1991, with black dial and diamond markers cased in 36mm of white gold, however the newly released rose gold looks suitably differentiated.
These watches are special, not only because they are limited to 30 pieces in rose gold and 70 pieces in platinum and sold only at the Japanese retailer Yoshida, but because of their dials. The traditional tapisserie patterned dials that we are used to seeing on Royal Oak references are instantly recognisable, but are so commonly seen that the liquid depth of black onyx is a an eye-catching change.
The intensity of the onyx contrasts nicely with both the platinum and rose gold cases in a way that draws the eye to the dial much more effectively. Once there, you notice the brilliant-cut diamond hour markers that sit discreetly in their settings, not attracting unnecessary attention like so many diamond dials can. The black-on-black date window is equally discreet, the only other feature of the dial apart from the double Audemars Piguet signature. Both watches are vertically brushed on the case and bracelet in the same way we are used to seeing on Royal Oak references, with razor-sharp lines emphasising each facet of the angular design.
To show just how unusual stone dial Royal Oaks are, I had a look to see how many different references were produced in the four decades since the watch was released, and there are scarce few to be found. Even beyond the Royal Oak family, stone dials from Audemars Piguet are quite rare, just adding to how special these two new watches are. Here are a few notable highlights of exotic dial watches from Audemars Piguet that have been released over the last few decades: