The Worn & Wound Team Picks Their Favorite New Audemars Piguet Novelties

Audemars Piguet recently unveiled their first (very large) batch of new releases for 2023, and if your Instagram feeds are anything like ours, they absolutely took over. As expected, there were plenty of new Royal Oaks on display, and in a variety of materials and platforms. We also saw an expansion of the Code 11.59 collection, including an entirely new dial motif and a metal that many collectors have been waiting for. Now that the Worn & Wound editorial team has had a chance to wade through all the new watches, we thought we’d pick our favorites among the latest novelties. 

Blake Buettner

I’ll admit I have a slight soft spot for so-called ‘Jumbo’ Royal Oaks. That is, Royal Oaks that follow the original template of the 5402ST put forth back in 1972: a slim 39mm case with the “AP” at 6 o’clock where it belongs. I also have a penchant for steel sport watches (well documented in these pages) and the Royal Oak arguably opened the door for the high-end category of the genre. It’s a watch I had been enormously enamored with upon my entry to the hobby, though that enthusiasm has waned in recent years as the watch found itself on a moon-bound trajectory in the market, and an ever increasing variety of precious metal variants that, while handsome, deviate a bit too far from the simple, approachable(ish) nature of the original (for my taste, at least). 

That said, the soft spot remains. When a new generation of the watch was announced last year, the 16202, in celebration of the Royal Oak’s 50th anniversary, I certainly took notice (and breathed a sigh of relief) when the watch remained largely unchanged from the exterior. While I prefer the regular steel and blue dial configuration, I can’t lie and say I didn’t find this gold fume dial example quite chic (not that I’m qualified to judge what is and isn’t chic). 

This year, as I sifted through the myriad of new AP releases, one in particular caught my eye as striking a nice balance between that simple original feeling, and the chic-ness that the brand has always excelled at, the white gold reference 16202BC.OO.1240BC.02 with a deep blue grain textured dial. The texture reads as an aggressive frost to my eye and it works incredibly well in this platform, and rendered in this color. The date disc has mercifully been color matched, as well. The texture plays beautifully with the shape with the Royal Oak case and bracelet and, setting aside the wonderful Starwheel recently released, this is the AP I’d be snagging of the latest batch. 


Zach Weiss

I love seeing titanium get some needed attention in the last year or so. Though it’s nothing new and has trended in the past, there is still an air of mystery, of even the exotic, to steel’s graceful sibling (not to imply they are related, but rather seem to be interchangeable). I’ve waxed poetic about it before, but titanium, well executed, is nothing short of lovely, making for beautiful and lightweight watches. Add in high complications, luxury finishing, and incredible engineering, and you have a titanium fan’s grail.

And that’s exactly what Audemars Piguet has created with the new Royal Oak Selfwinding Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin. A follow-up to the platinum RD#2 from 2019, the new Ultra-Thin perpetual is 41mm x 6.2mms of titanium weighing just 75 grams, with the Caliber 5133 coming in at only 2.9mm. Ok, there is a touch of white gold found in the bezel screws too. While I believe the Bvlgari Octo Finissmo Perpeptual is thinner overall, proportionally, 6.2mm sounds about perfect. Thin is cool to a point, and then it’s purely novel. 6-8mm, IMHO, is a sweet spot for a watch to be thin, yet still feel sturdy and substantial.

Dial side, the traditional tapisserie is replaced with a blue to black degradé with a pronounced sunburst texture. Black sub-dials clearly and elegantly display the at-times abundance of information contained on a perpetual calendar. The slightly offset day and month dials allow room for smaller register for the day/night and the leap year indicator, which is a clever way of displaying this information without overemphasizing it. It’s still busy, yet easy to read. 

There’s not much to say other than it’s seemingly an exceptional example of a perpetual calendar, and glorious use of titanium. Of course, being limited to 200 pieces and priced at 137k CHF, this grail shall remain as such for all but a few, but is a great demonstration of fine watchmaking. 

Zach Kazan

A few months ago, when Audemars Piguet released a new iteration of the Starwheel on the Code 11.59 platform, I used the occasion to mount a small defense of the Code, a collection that I think has been unfairly criticized by watch enthusiasts since they launched a few years ago. Those first references might have been a bit half cooked, but in the relatively short time since the collection’s debut, AP has filled out the range, made adjustments, and they’ve especially excelled in filling those Code 11.59 cases with complicated movements, as the Starwheel illustrates. 

Now, finally, AP has released a Code for the people. That might be overstating it a bit. We’re still talking about a $20,000+ watch. But in the grand scheme of things, the new time and date Code 11.59 references in stainless steel feel quite a bit more accessible than literally any Royal Oak, and earlier precious metal Codes. Even better, AP has debuted new dials with a dramatic stamped guilloche pattern, and ditched the Arabic numerals for applied baton hour markers. I think the new dials look great, adding some much needed texture and visual interest. 

There are three new time and date models in stainless steel (along with the three new stainless steel chronographs) with dials in beige, green, and blue. All look very nice to my eye, but if I had to pick one, it would be the beige for the simple reason that this reference alone includes a ceramic midcase, that serves to highlight the unique architecture of the Code 11.59. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: the way these cases are constructed, with an eight sided interior case and an outer circular “shell” with open lugs, is quite remarkable. It all shakes out to a 41mm watch that is easy to wear (and should be even more so in steel), under the radar enough to be worn very casually, but never remotely boring. It’s fun to see the Code 11.59 continue to evolve. We always knew it would, but it feels like AP now has several watches in the Code collection that are desirable in their own right, and not just as a way to deepen buying history at the boutique. 

Thomas Calara

My understanding and appreciation of Audemars Piguet has steadily increased over the course of several years now. It’s a brand that I’ve kept tabs on from afar, but as our paths have crossed in person more and more, it’s their more involved sport designs of the Royal Oak that garner my attention. I’m talking about references like the burly steel Offshore Diver 150710st or the Royal Oak 14790ST.OO.0789ST.07 with its military dial and tidy 36mm case size. 

In the recent barrage of releases from AP, I couldn’t help but drool over the Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin. I like my Royal Oaks with multiple subdials along with a heavy helping of mechanical ingenuity. But the best part of this specific release is that the entire watch is furnished out of titanium. The metal’s earth tones against the smoky blue dial, along with the fact that the watch is only 6.2mm and weighs 75 grams, makes this watch utterly perfect. 

All that said, I’ve always told myself that if I were in a position to throw down 5 to 6 digits on a watch, then I would have to fully lean in. Forget the steel and titanium. There’s a ton of options out there from multiple brands that I’d be more than happy with. If I’m doing an AP, I’m going for all gold. Among the releases, AP announced a 37mm Royal Oak that’s fully made out of 18k gold and gets this eye-catching turquoise stone dial. No subdials here, nor a fancy complication. Here, you get the Royal Oak silhouette that has been a fixture in terms of design that has stood toe to toe with Father Time, with a vibrant turquoise blue, marble-like dial. 

This particular reference retails for $61,500. A price that’s flying in a stratosphere that I don’t quite have the proper equipment or experience to fly in. But still, if you’re an enthusiast, which I am, then it’s hard not to appreciate and admire what Audemars Piguet has to offer regardless of the price tag. 

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