SIHH 2018: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak RD#2 ref. 26586PT. Hands-on with the World's Thinnest Automatic Perpetual Calendar.

This SIHH 2018 was a great one for Audemars Piguet as most of their novelties were absolutely on point and the brand was able to show how they master the rules and how they can break them. One of the most special watches at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie 2018 was the new Royal Oak RD#2 —where the RD stand for Research & Development— ref. 26586PT.OO.1240PT.01 in platinum. This watch presented as a concept is now the world’s thinnest automatic perpetual calendar at just 6.30 mm thick, marking a new watchmaking record for the brand. But what makes this watch even more special, is the horological feat behind compacting three movement layers into one after five years of R&D.

About the Watch

The new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak RD#2 comes after the release at the end of 2015 of the very successful fully revamped Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar ref. 26574 which we featured here. Fitted with a .950 platinum case measuring 41 mm in diameter and only 6.3 mm thick, the new Royal Oak RD#2 is almost 2 mm thinner than the Royal Oak Extra-Thin ref. 15202.

The fact that this watch is thinner than the Royal Oak 'Jumbo' Extra-Thin means a lot, first because the latter is already a very thin watch and second because the 'Jumbo' is equipped with the world's thinnest automatic movement with central rotor. The images below show the thickness comparison between the new Royal Oak RD#2 on top of the Royal Oak 'Jumbo' Extra-Thin ref. 15202.

Featuring a gorgeous blue dial with 'Grande Tapisserie' pattern, blue counters, white gold applied hour-markers and Royal Oak hands with luminescent coating, the moonphase indicator at 12 o'clock  pays homage to AP's first perpetual calendar launched in 1955. Not only the moonphase indicator takes a more prominent position at the very top, but it also makes the dial layout seem much more balanced. At 10 o'clock, one can find the day of the week with overlapping day and night indicator, at 2 o'clock the month indicator with overlapping leap year indicator and at 6 o'clock the date indicator.

The Bracelet

Fitted with a nice and heavy platinum bracelet finished with alternating satin brushed finishes along with mirror polished bevels and edges, the platinum Royal Oak RD#2 is less heavy than the platinum Royal Oak Extra-Thin Tourbillon at 309.5 grams. Much like a supple joint, the bracelet is made up of a juxtaposition of small parts graduated by decreasing size. An exemplary configuration and the ideal model to hold the case firmly in place while providing complete freedom for wrist movements. The sophisticated construction of the Royal Oak bracelet uses parts that are all different in size. Arranged in diminishing order so as not to weight down the watch, they are graduated into seven different sizes, alternating bracelet links and connecting studs. Each of these parts, is meticulously machined, pierced, polished and checked in order to fit together perfectly with no gaps or unevenness.

The total weight of the new Royal Oak RD#2 Perpetual Calendar is 261.2 grams. To put the weight in context, a Royal Oak Offshore Rubber Clad in 18K rose gold has a total weight of 225.1 grams and a Royal Oak 'Jumbo' Extra-Thin in 18K rose gold a total weight of 195 grams.

The Movement

Powered by a new in-house automatic movement the ultra-thin calibre 5133 with perpetual calendar —which represented an horological feat by having to re-engineer a triple layer movement into a single level one— with a mere thickness of 2.89 mm, Audemars Piguet had to combine and re-arrange functions to boost ergonomics, efficiency and robustness, featuring a patented system with a central rotor. Today, thanks to this new movement, he new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak RD#2 is now the thinnest automatic perpetual calendar on the market. The new automatic calibre 5133 is composed of 256 parts and 37 jewels and provides a power reserve of 40 hours when fully wound while beating at a frequency of 19,800 vph. The movement is fully visible via the display case back and the watch is water resistant to 20 meters.

On the Wrist & Pricing

On the wrist, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak RD#2 ref. 26586PT wears slightly smaller than its actual size and more like a 40 mm watch thanks to its very slim case profile. Without a doubt, this is one of the most exquisite watches ever made by Audemars Piguet and one that when and if it goes into regular production will be a true grail to own. No hype here, just pure horological mastery from our friends from Le Brassus.

Sticker Price TBC . For more info on Audemars Piguet click here.