Post-SIHH 2018: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak RD#2 Watch

By Jovan Krstevski

It seems that the trend today is all about being thin. This is seen in various industries from electronics even to watches. The most fun is when it’s applied in horology. Yes, we’re pretty content seeing this trend in watchmaking, so hello ultra-thin watches. As to who the players are, well, Piaget started off in December with the thinnest automatic watch, then the thinnest mechanical watch at the SIHH 2018 which is a mere 2mm. Now it’s Audemars Piguet turn with the Royal Oak RD#2 at a remarkable 6.30mm. Note that at this size, AP was able to fit it with a self-winding perpetual calendar, the first in the market.

It’s not unusual to see an ultra-thin Audemars Piguet since the brand has always had an interest for this trend. This can be seen on the 1972 Royal Oak 5402ST which was a very thin watch equipped with an automatic movement. It’s interesting to note that AP has made an outstanding redesign of the traditional perpetual calendar watch layout. Normally, such a watch features a triple layer architecture: module, movement, and rotor. What this means is that with the traditional design, achieving ultra-thinness is nearly impossible but make it a whole as what AP did, well, the new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak RD#2 Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin 26586PT is born.

The watch has an overall thickness of 6.30mm. This is amazing for a perpetual calendar. For now, we’re all assumptions since it remains to be seen during the show, albeit we’re definitely excited to see these pieces live. We know that the brand favors secrecy and we understand since this also adds more prestige and exclusivity. Moreover, deducing from their recent releases, they somehow managed to work on both the architecture of the movement and on the architecture of the case, such is the case of the Royal Oak RD#2.

Getting more technical, the classical 3-layer architecture of the movement is now a whole. Apparently, it has taken five years for AP to develop such a technique which can now be seen on the new ultra-thin calibre 5133 with perpetual calendar powering the Royal Oak RD#2. The in-house movement now uses a single-level architecture. All the parts of the perpetual calendar from the grand lever, the programmed wheel, to the the gears and springs used to actuate the multiple indications are engineered as a single piece, no more modules on top of each other. These parts are now fully integrated into the base of the movement which is nothing sort of fascinating. This technique is also applied to the self-winding module thus shaving off more space.

The watch features a 41mm 950 platinum case redesigned for extra-thinness. The dial also uses 2 levels for the indications: one for the QP indications and 2nd for the hours and minutes. Despite such thinness, all the indications of a complicated traditional perpetual calendar are all present including a moon-phase and a leap-year indicator.

The new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak RD#2 Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin 26586PT is adorned with “Grande Tapisserie” guilloche pattern on its blue dial with excellent legibility. It also wears on a chain-like bracelet matching made of the same case material. Design-wise, it’s the same original concept just made ridiculously thinner.