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Audemars Piguet - Innovation

Audemars Piguet Innovation

Jumbo takes a spectacular new turn

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Royal Oak, Audemars Piguet is renewing the “Jumbo” model. Reference 16202 welcomes a new movement, while its spirit remains intact. Spotlight on a member of the watchmaking hall of fame.

The Royal Oak is one of those rare pieces that fully deserves to be called iconic. Everything about it unleashes passions. Now, to mark the 50th anniversary of its iconic model, Audemars Piguet has just announced the new generation of the 39mm Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin timepiece, known as Reference 16202. “Jumbo” is an intriguing nickname for a watch that was no less so at the time of its launch. In 1972, the watch industry was accustomed either to baroque shapes, mixtures of bright colors, sports chronographs and a fanciful spirit closely attuned to the 1960s; or else to traditional, somewhat conventional designs with small diameters. Steel watches were considered affordable and ordinary, while gold watches reigned supreme. 

At 39mm in diameter, the “Jumbo” was one of the largest watches of its time. 

Innovation

Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin 39mm 16202ST © Audemars Piguet

Nonconformist 

In responding to Audemars Piguet’s request for a new steel model, Gérald Genta did not just deliver a sketch. The designer was prolific, intuitive and capable of far more than just a pencil stroke. The octagonal bezel stood out and the eight visible screws were unprecedented, while the integrated bracelet was an equally innovative concept, appearing as an entirely lug-free extension of the case all around the wrist. Even more significantly, the Royal Oak immediately reinvented the luxury watch. When it was launched, its cost was the price of a gold watch even though it was made entirely of steel. The sporty-chic concept was born, along with casual luxury. Another original feature is that the Royal Oak has long had its own language. The term “Jumbo” refers to the references launched after 1992, which are the closest to the Series A timepieces, the very first ones. They feature a date display, no seconds and are slim despite being self-winding. At 39mm in diameter, they were some of the largest watches on the market in the 1990s, which explains their nickname. 

The Royal Oak embodied a different vision of luxury watchmaking. When it was launched, this all-steel piece was as prestigious as a gold watch.

Innovation

Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin 39mm 16202PT © Audemars Piguet

Consistently Modern

Since 1972, the Royal Oak was equipped with Caliber 2121, which, at 3.05mm thick, broke records for its thinness and faithfully equipped all the “Jumbo” watches until 2021… For one of the key changes of Reference 16202 is the introduction of a new-gen Audemars Piguet movement. Like many of the brand’s other models, it has been fitted with a modern caliber, endowing it with greater precision over a longer period of time. Caliber 7121 was designed from scratch in order to fit into the 8.1mm thickness of the case without modifying its aesthetic codes. Its 55-hour power reserve enables it to meet the needs of our time. Self-winding and measuring 3.2mm thick, it is equipped with a 22K gold oscillating weight. Specially developed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the collection, it bears the collection logo. The Audemars Piguet watchmakers have achieved a masterstroke by designing this caliber characterized by striking central symmetry, with a barrel bridge echoing the balance bridge – both in pink gold and featuring geometric lines. 

Innovation

Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin 39mm 16202BA - Caliber 7121 © Audemars Piguet

Utterly Refined

Above and beyond these mechanical considerations, how do you reinvent a classic? How do you modify it without weakening it? Audemars Piguet’s work therefore consisted in pushing details to new extremes. For example, the case bevels have been widened to provide more contrast with the satin-brushed surfaces. The thickness of the bracelet has been reduced to enhance comfort on the wrist. The taper of its links has been accentuated. To make its own mark on the history of the line, the Royal Oak “Jumbo” 16202 appears in four versions representing as many metals: steel, yellow gold, pink gold and platinum. The color of their dials adorned with the Petite Tapisserie pattern has been adapted to each material – and all this within a thickness of 8.1mm and a diameter of 39mm, which is no longer huge by contemporary standards. The 16202 is nonetheless endowed with one undeniably “Jumbo” attribute: its attractiveness. 

 

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Focus on Watchmaking Fairs 2022

GMT Magazine n° 76 © GMT Magazine

 

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Audemars Piguet is one of the few independent family-owned watch businesses and has been based in Le Brassus, in Switzerland's Vallée de Joux region, at the heart of the fine watchmaking industry, ever since the company was first established in 1875.

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