VIDEO: Audemars Piguet’s top 5 watches of 2021Fergus Nash
Audemars Piguet marched loudly into 2021, dropping no fewer than 16 watches before we had even hit the end of March. It was definitely a year of evolution over revolution, but the manner in which their watches evolved felt like the brand really had their ears to the ground.
Possibly their boldest release is actually quite subtle at first glance, with a Royal Oak Jumbo Extra-Thin 39mm being made available without the iconic tapisserie dial, and even in a hefty platinum case with a sunburst fumé emerald dial.
If you’re a die-hard Grand Tapisserie fan but you’re still keen to get in on the green dial movement, then there are certainly options for you alongside the more upmarket Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronograph and the Flying Tourbillon models, with a delectably gaudy yellow gold case on the chronograph and options for a green sapphire-set bezel on the tourbillon.
My personal standout favourites from Audemars Piguet this year have mostly been marketed towards women, but that’s frankly outdated. The 34mm Royal Oak in black ceramic with rose-gold details is drop-dead gorgeous, and the glinting stippled surface effect on the case of the Royal Oak Frosted Gold 34mm is one of the most enticing case finishes I’ve seen on a watch in years. The pairing of that frosted white gold with the ice-blue dial and colour-matched date wheel is so cool, and there wouldn’t be anyone brave enough to tell you that it was “too small”.
On the hyper-masculine end of the gender spectrum, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Flyback Chronograph 43mm combines two heavy-hitting complications. As the long-winded name hints, the in-house caliber 2967 includes a flying tourbillon as well as a flyback chronograph, which was incorporated into the Offshore case despite being developed for the Code 11.59 range initially. Made from titanium and limited to 100 pieces worldwide, just looking at this watch may deepen your voice a few registers.
AP were fairly overlooked amongst some of the crazier entries into 2021’s Only Watch charity auction, but it’s certainly worth taking another close examination. The watch is an exact detail-for-detail recreation of the reference 15202 that is being discontinued after 2021, itself based on the world-changing reference 5402 from 1972, with one subtle difference. The new “15202XT” is a stunner, with grey-on-grey tones achieved from the use of sandblasted titanium in the case and “bulk metallic glass” for the bezel, bracelet links, and caseback. The science behind it gets much nerdier than we have time for in this post, but know that it has a very unique way of playing with the light.
Of course, we can’t be talking about Audemars Piguet in 2021 without mentioning the Black Panther. The Royal Oak Concept Black Panther Flying Tourbillon was a drastic awakening for a lot of watch fans, with it not only pushing the envelope of modernity, but also working alongside pop culture like no other AP watch has done before it. The Piece Unique version broke records when it sold at $5.2m USD, and the $160,000 Limited Edition version has been spotted on the wrists of some truly impressive celebrities. If this watch shows the future for Audemars Piguet and the world of cinematic tie-ins, then 2022 can bring it on.