Audemars Piguet (AP) is taking part in Only Watch for the fourth time with the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Openworked 41 mm “Only Watch”. In contrast to the low-key Royal Oak “Jumbo” made for the 2021 instalment of the charity auction, this year’s one-off creation is exceptionally striking in blue and white.
The latest Royal Oak “Only Watch” is based on the regular-production Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Openworked 41 mm but made unique with a white ceramic case and bracelet along with a movement featuring blued titanium bridges and plates.
The case and bracelet material is notably uncommon for AP. While the brand has a fair number of Royal Oak models in black ceramic, there are fewer in white ceramic. In fact, there is only one regular production model in white ceramic, the perpetual calendar. In the past, there were also a handful of Royal Oak Offshore models in white ceramic, including a chronograph and Diver.
According to AP, one of the notable features of the bracelet is not only the material, but also that fact that is secured with “invisible pins”. This presumably means the pins holding the bracelet together are concealed with ceramic caps. The cal. 2972 inside is open worked in an angular, stylised manner that is very much AP’s house style. The bridges and base plate are blued titanium, while the bevels of the movement retain the natural grey colour of titanium for contrast, giving each of the bridges a pronounced outline.
While the Jumbo was the main event, last year’s Royal Oak anniversary celebrations also included the original version of this bad boy, the Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Openworked. Now, for Only Watch 2023, Audemars Piguet has brought it back in a colourway that lives up to the annual auction’s colourful theme.
The theme of the not-quite-competition this year is the encapsulation of all previous editions’ colours, and Audemars Piguet have apparently earmarked blue. Not your typical, darker colour combo though, but the phenomenal, somewhat nautical combination of white and a blue that’s best described as azure.
The 41mm case of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Openworked 41 mm is made from ultra hard, scratch resistant white ceramic, already a bold choice. But even bolder is the movement, which has been given a vibrant blue overhaul, showing off its inner workings in dazzling style. Paired with a matching blue inner bezel and white gold indexes and hands, the result is eye-catching in the extreme.
Defining all that architecture is the calibre 2972, an immaculately finished automatic number with an impressive 65 hour power reserve. It’s the same as in the previous 2022 model, which is to be expected given that it’s still a shiny new movement for Audemars Piguet.