Insider: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Extra-Thin Tourbillon Platinum ref. 26516PT with Baguette-Cut Diamond Bezel. Hands-on Review.

Amongst other fifteen references of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Extra-Thin Tourbillon which include: stainless steel, 18K rose gold, the Westime Edition —with or without diamonds—, 18K yellow gold, imited edition openworked in platinum and in 18K yellow gold, platinum and titanium reference 26510PT in platinum, frosted gold and the new models with the ‘Evolutive’ tapisserie dials, comes the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Extra-Thin Tourbillon diamond-set platinum model ref. 26516PT.ZZ.1220PT.01 with a bezel featuring with 32 baguette-cut diamonds totaling 3.04 carats. Yet another one of those AP grails for those in love with diamonds. In advance, we apologize for the pictures showing the watch we perused with protective plastics on it. Unfortunately, this watch was part of an AD inventory at the time we reviewed it.

The Dial & Bezel

The Royal Oak Extra-Thin Tourbillon —one millimeter bigger than its Royal Oak Tourbillon predecessors— is fitted with a 41 mm 950 platinum case with a mere thickness of 8.85 mm. Maintaining all the design cues that made the Royal Oak an icon, this tourbillon is also 50-meter water resistant. Additionally, for this special edition version with diamonds, the bezel has been set with 32 baguette-cut diamonds totaling 3.04 carats.

Featuring a gorgeous smoked —'fumé'— grey dial with applied hour-markers and Royal Oak hands with luminescent coating, the tourbillon at 6 o'clock takes the center stage. The 'petite tapisserie' on this dial features a interesting smoky effect that appears lighter at the center of the dial and darker towards the edges.

Audemars Piguet crafts the 'tapisserie' motif on antique 'rose-engine' machines according to the arabesque-making technique. This rare manufacturing process, which Audemars Piguet is proud to master and use, lends the Royal Oak dials a unique brilliance and unmistakable appearance. An operation that takes over an hour to perform, the guilloché work on the dial features an interwoven pattern of peaks and troughs which catch the light and underline the geometric profile of the watch.

The Case & Bezel

Fitted with a 41 mm case, this watch wears completely different to the regular 41 mm Royal Oak ref. 15400 or even the Royal Oak Perpetual ref. 26574 due to its extra-thin case profile. The Royal Oak Extra-Thin Tourbillon is only 0.75 mm thicker than the Royal Oak Extra-Thin. This watch like all other Royal Oaks, features the unmistakable AP marked hexagonal crown. Its sapphire crystal treated with an anti-reflective coating on both sides allows for perfect legibility of the dial when exposed to unwanted glare.

The Bracelet

Fitted with a super heavy platinum bracelet finished with alternating satin brushed finishes along with mirror polished bevels and edges, the platinum Royal Oak Extra-Thin Tourbillon is much heavier than its counterpart in 18K gold. With a total weight of 309.5 grams, this watch is actually almost 70 grams —2.5 ounces— heavier. To give you a better idea of the weight of this watch, as a reference the Royal Oak Offshore Rubber Clad in 18K rose gold weighs 225.1 grams and the Royal Oak Offshore Platinum ref. 26470PT that we reviewed here weighs almost a full pound at 431.9 grams.

The Movement

The display case back allows for full view of the amazing manual wound Audemars Piguet calibre 2924. This exquisitely finished in-house movement features 25-jewels and is composed of 216 parts. While beating at a frequency of 21,600 vph it provides a power reserve of 70 hours when fully wound. The movement features an extra flat tourbillon cage where the tourbillon makes a full rotation every 60 seconds and a differential power reserve with indicator on the back side of the calibre next to the barrel.

On the Wrist & Pricing

On the wrist, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Extra-Thin Tourbillon Platinum ref. 26516PT.ZZ.1220PT.01 with baguette-cut diamonds wears slightly smaller than its actual size and more like a 40 mm watch for those with a 7.25-7.5" wrist. While here at WCL we are not into watches with diamonds, for some reason the diamonds on this watch are somewhat understated and nice icing on the cake. Just like its no-diamonds counterpart, this is one of the most exquisite watches out there and a true grail for AP lovers.

Sticker Price $240,000 USD. For more info on Audemars Piguet click here.