Openworking — also known as skeletonisation — involves cutting away material to reveal the mechanical artistry contained within. It is among the most exacting performances in watchmaking: cutting too much can jeopardize tolerances or affect shock resistance. Achieving the right balance between the beauty of the revealed components and the safeguarding of their performance’s precision is a rare art.
Audemars Piguet has been a master of this intricate process since the 1930s. Today, it performs it in precisely the same manner: filing, decoration and finishing exclusively done by hand. The reasons for this are both aesthetic and technical. For example, a milling machine produces perfectly acceptable rounded angles, but it cannot produce the perfect interior angles (or v-cut angles) that so superlatively reflect light, expressing the artistry of Haute Horlogerie.
Introduced in 2012, the original Royal Oak Tourbillon Extra-Thin marked the Royal Oak's 40th anniversary and was originally available only in platinum, followed by the launch of a yellow gold version in 2016.
Demand from connoisseurs around the world has led to the creation of two new limited edition versions in 2017 - one in brushed 18-carat pink gold with matching bracelet, the other in stainless steel. Just like their platinum and yellow gold predecessors, each model features the mesmerizing Audemars Piguet in-house caliber 2924 hand-wound skeleton movement, comprising 216 components - but in two very different finishes.
The pink gold model (available in 50 examples) features a pink gold mainplate and bridges, while the movement of the steel version (available in 100 examples) is rhodium plated in cool, understated tones.
These will be the very last Royal Oak Extra-Thin Openworked watches featuring this exact skeleton design to be produced. Keep your eyes open for what will be coming next!