The Royal Oak range by Audemars Piguet needs little introduction. Launched in 1972 and designed by the legendary Gérald Genta, it defined a whole new segment of watches. New for 2021 is the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronograph 41mm, which receives the in-house, integrated flyback chronograph movement originally developed for Code 11.59. This new calibre 4401 means that a few other things needed to be retouched too.
The Royal Oak serves as the perfect platform for Audemars Piguet to build their brand on. The collection offers everything from steel base models with time-and-date only, to ultra-complex haute horlogerie creations in precious metals. Throughout its existence, it has managed to evolve so many times, from the original presented in 1972 all the way to the latest interpretations. Models fitted with an ultra-thin QP movement, a contemporary ice-blue dial or a case and bracelet in titanium or ceramic. Audemars Piguet is not afraid to innovate with its iconic line of watches.
As said, the new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronograph 41mm receives the Caliber 4401. This integrated flyback chronograph movement by Audemars Piguet was first presented in Code 11.59 in 2019 and is now moving into the Royal Oak family. The development of a new in-house chronograph started shortly after François-Henry Bennahmias was appointed as the new CEO, which resulted in the AP 4300 and AP 4400 families. The AP 4300 is the time-and-date movement, whereas the AP 4400 series is the direct answer to existing wishes for an entirely new and integrated chronograph movement made by AP. All the technical details on this movement can be found here.
If the case remains apparently the same as before, with a 41mm diameter, incorporating this slightly larger chronograph movement meant that the dial has received an overhaul as well. The date window is positioned closer to the edge of the dial and the Grande Tapisserie motif has been slightly refined – just like on the Royal Oak Selfwinding 41mm 15500ST. The chronograph counters are sized evenly and received an update in design, swapping the position of the minute and hour counters with the calibre 2385 automatic chronograph it replaces. Also, the counters at 3 and 9 o’clock are now slightly off-centred.
For now, the introduction of the new calibre 4401 in the Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronograph is only done in 18k pink gold cases. Not doubt that the stainless editions will follow shortly after. There will be a choice between a blue or a brown dial, with either an 18k pink gold integrated bracelet or a leather strap matching the dial’s colour. This means four new references to choose from, all featuring a see-through caseback revealing the mechanical heart of the watch.
Availability & Price
The new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronograph 41mm with Calibre 4401 (ref. 26239OR) will be available from September 2021. Prices are yet to be revealed.
More details at www.audemarspiguet.com.
This post first appeared on Monochrome Watches - An online magazine dedicated to fine watches.