The Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, or SIHH for short, is one of the most famous luxury watch trade shows in the world, and the first major event of the calendar year. Held in Geneva, the event sees more than 30 of the biggest watch brands showcasing their latest timepieces ahead of release to the general public.
Among the most celebrated of these luxury watch brands is Audemars Piguet, with the Swiss company having a well-earned reputation for both style and innovation. The company now traditionally uses SIHH rather than Baselworld as its platform for unveiling major releases. In this article, we look at the brand’s new models for 2018.
1. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Ref. 26237ST
The big news going into the event for AP enthusiasts was the fact that the company was celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Royal Oak Offshore collection. To mark the occasion, Audemars Piguet have released a modern re-edition of the original 1993 model, blended with modern timekeeping technology.
Visually, it is very close to the 1993 model, including the use of the signature blue ‘Tapissierie’ dial and the 42mm case size. With that being said, the watch is brought into the modern era through the use of the caliber 3126/3840 movement, which is the same movement used in a number of current AP Royal Oak Offshore models.
2. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph
In addition to celebrating the past with the previous model, AP have also introduced a new re-imagining of the Royal Oak Offshore this year, in the shape of the Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph. This model has a 45mm case, and is available in a choice of either stainless steel or 18k rose gold.
This version has a considerably more modern, contemporary feel to it, thanks to an open-worked dial design, which replaces the traditional ‘Tapissierie’ dial. As a result, it looks distinctive from almost any other model in the Royal Oak collection, albeit with the collection defining octagonal case shape left in tact.
3. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak RD#2
While the 25th anniversary of the Royal Oak Offshore dominated the discussion before the event, arguably the most talked-about watch at this year’s SIHH from any manufacturer was the new Royal Oak RD#2. The watch is especially notable for being the thinnest automatic perpetual calendar watch in history, from any brand.
Indeed, it measures just 6.3mm in thickness and the internal workings of the watch took five years to perfect, due to the challenge posed by condensing such a complex movement into such a small space. Visually, however, the watch maintains classic Royal Oak elements, including the octagonal shape and ‘Tapissierie’ dial.
4. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon
The Royal Oak Concept collection was first introduced into the AP catalogue in 2003 and this year sees the addition of its first ladies watch with the Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon. As the name suggests, the watch also benefits from flying tourbillon technology; another first for the manufacturer.
Measuring 38.5mm in diameter, the case is shaped in classic Royal Oak style. However, the timepiece has an open-worked dial and is adorned with either baguette-cut or brilliant-cut diamonds, providing the timepiece with an extravagant, frosted aesthetic, which exudes luxury, style, elegance and sophistication.
5. Audemars Piguet Millenary Hand-Wound
Away from the Royal Oak models entirely, 2018 will also see the introduction of some new Millenary models for women. As ever with the Millenary collection, the timepieces feature oval cases, with an off-centered dial, providing a unique design, while also revealing part of the mechanism contained within.
The two new hand-wound models unveiled at SIHH have a 39.5mm case diameter and are available in either 18k rose gold or 18k white gold. Both material options come with matching Polish-finished mesh-style bracelets, offering a vintage appeal. The timepieces are completed by the presence of diamonds on the lugs and bezel.
The Final Word
Audemars Piguet rarely disappoint with their new releases and they certainly have not this year, with models marking the 25th anniversary of the Royal Oak Offshore, brand firsts like the Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon and a world first in watch design with the release of the new Royal Oak RD#2.
While the models showcased at the SIHH event have not yet been made available for sale, that is expected to happen before the end of the summer. Customers can pre-order AP’s 2018 models from Jaztime’s online store.