Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding / 34mm
24 Hours Later

24 Hours Later: Audemars Piguet Thinks Pink (and Two-Tone) with Two New Royal Oaks in 34mm

Somewhere amid the backdrop of one of the fashion capitals of the world, “ooohhs” and “aaahhs” could be heard because, yesterday, Audemars Piguet released two new Royal Oak Selfwinding 34mm timepieces in Milan, and no city seemed more fitting in which to do so.

By Barbara Palumbo

In the region of Apulia in the Southern part of Italy, there sits a castle on a hill that, when viewed from above, would make any fan of Gerald Genta smile.

Castel del Monte (or “Castle of the Mountain”) was built sometime in the mid-13th century. Standing in the middle of the castle’s courtyard in springtime and looking upward toward a bright blue, cloudless sky, one can imagine why any person who has a true appreciation for time – be they tourist or native – would be drawn to the eight-sided shape of the octagon.

But probably, an even more well-known Octagonal-shaped building in Italy is the Baptistery of Saint John in Florence, Tuscany, standing adjacent to the city’s main cathedral in the Piazza del Duomo.

One of the oldest buildings in the city (construction started in roughly 1059 A.D.), the Baptistery of Saint John is also one of the most recognizable. The ceiling of the octagonal structure is embellished entirely in mosaic artwork, thus beautifying an already magnificent structure.

While neither of these architectural masterpieces is in Milan, that doesn’t take away from the fact that the Italians have a long history with the eight-sided geometric shape, thus making the release of these new Royal Oak Selfwinding 34mm watches by Audemars Piguet in Milan a natural fit.

(Small) Size Matters

As reduced case sizes continue to become the norm, due largely to gender neutrality becoming more of a standard and less of a burden in all areas of the fashion and luxury sectors, watch brands – both major and minor – are paying much more attention. In fact, of the over 60 watches in my personal collection, I’d say that the ones between 32mm and 36mm are the case sizes I wear most.

And since Audemars Piguet is no exception to this trend, thus the introduction of these Royal Oaks in a small case size was practically inevitable.

The two new models of the Royal Oak Selfwinding – while only being a mere 34mm in diameter – come off as “big time” in other ways. First, the automatic Calibre 5800 movement has a total thickness (or thinness, depending on how you look at it) of 4mm, but just because something is small doesn’t mean it can’t perform ((cough)) ((blushing face)) ((cough again)). Moreover, the watch offers the wearer a guaranteed power reserve of 50 hours and has a water resistance of 50 meters.

I mean, I’ll take a 50/50 any day of the week. How about you?

Everything Two-Toned is New Again

Two-toned watches were a huge part of the 1980s, as were two-toned jeans and two-toned hair (I know. I was there), but for years – even decades – the two-toned look came off as dated, that is, until “dated” became the new, “rad.”

Case-in-point: The second new Royal Oak Selfwinding released in Milan was a 34mm version in all 18K pink gold with a vibrant yet deep pink Grande Tapisserie dial, pink gold applied hour-markers, and hands filled with luminescent material.

The pinks on this timepiece (which retails for $53,000) play in contrast to one another, serving as an “opposites attract” sort of situation (yes, that was a Paula Adbul reference) while still being, technically, in the same colorway insofar as they are both called “pink.” But if you’re asking for my opinion, which, most likely, you are not, but since I’m getting paid for this piece, I’ll give it anyway: They are starkly different colors.

The dial pink is more of what you would see when opening up a fresh pink grapefruit while sitting on a beach somewhere in Florida. The pink of the bracelet and case is more subtle, kind of like those early spring evenings when the sun is setting after a light rain, and you look out into the dusk and hope that one day you will get the call from the local AP AD so that you can finally have your Royal Oak.

Sorry. I might have gotten lost in that last sentence.

My point here is that the Royal Oak lives on with these new releases and does so by bringing us back so that we can see the future. There are no fortune tellers, no crystal balls on which to rely. Just history, and in this case, history may be what matters most.

For more information, check out Audemars Piguet’s website.

(Photography by Pierre Vogel)

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