By Meor Amri Meor Ayob
At SIHH 2016, Audemars Piguet has introduced the Royal Oak Double Balance Wheel Openworked watch. With a diameter of 41 mm, this new version has a skeleton dial (hence the term openworked) which features its in-house caliber 3132. This caliber is the world’s first double-balance wheel escapement. Audemars Piguet has both stainless steel (reference 15407ST.OO.1220ST.01) and rose gold (reference 15407OR.OO.1220OR.01) version to choose from.
I have yet to get the opportunity to have in my collection an Audemars Piguet watch. My current favorite is Royal Oak series and this new offering has just gone up the food chain.
At just 41 mm, this was is just the right size for my wrist for all occasions. Despite it being a simple three-hand mechanical watch without any other complications, the fact that there is a stainless steel version makes it more wearable in any situation. Having a see-through dial (or openworked like how Audemars Piguet like to call it) gives more character.
On the dial, both the steel and pink gold version of the Royal Oak Double Balance Wheel Openworked watches have pink gold hands and hour markers. The watch has a water rating of 50 meters.
The heart of the new watch is the new caliber 3132. It has the singular purpose of increasing accuracy by producing a double-sided balance wheel structure. I am not sure of the engineering science of the design but based on the literature given out by Audemars Piguet, this design does appear to increase accuracy.
As it is, the new calibre 3132 is also an automatic movement with 45 hours of power reserve. Operating at a frequency of 3Hz or 21,600 vph, the whole movement is hand decorated. Made out of 245 parts, the use of a mixture of metals such as the pink gold for the balance bridge, provides a nice visual cue.
Skeleton watches are cool. The ability to see the inside especially the movement of a mechanical timepiece is mesmerizing. I believe Audemars Piguet has gotten a winning product.
As for the accuracy coming from the new movement, that is still up for debate. Honestly, do we need to be so desperate on accuracy? Let’s be honest, if you need accuracy, get a quartz watch. Nevertheless, the engineering is cool, though.
At the time of writing the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Double Balance Wheel Openworked watch in pink gold is priced at USD76,800 while the stainless steel version is priced at USD44,100.
For more info, please visit audemarspiguet.com
MEOR AMRI MEOR AYOB – CONTRIBUTING EDITOR
Meor Amri is a passionate watch collector from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Having bitten by the horology bug in 2010, he has written extensively about the watch scene and has assembled a large collection of watches (excessively!!!) on his own free time. His blogs on the same subject are: Eastern Watch & Western Watch Read his articles here