Heading into the first day of SIHH, there were a handful of watches I was already dying to see. The cheap replica Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Tourbillon Extra-Thin Openworked in stainless steel was certainly one of them. Luckily my very first appointment was with AP and I made quick work of asking to check out this new skeleton. So, how is it? Every bit as awesome as you’d think.
As Jack told you when introducing this watch, openworking has traditionally been about two things: the degree of transparency that can be achieved while keeping a watch’s structural integrity intact and how that transparency lends itself to an overall design. The latter point is where the Royal Oak Tourbillon Extra-Thin Openworked really succeeds for me. Yes, there are big open sections and lots of light shines through small openings too, but it’s the balance and overall effect that really does it for me. I first saw this watch in platinum at an Audemars Piguet boutique back in 2012 (when it was released for the Royal Oak’s 40th anniversary) and I was smitten immediately.
Picking up the new steel edition, your brain and your eyes have a hard time reconciling themselves with what’s in your hand. It’s extremely light, which is down to the lighter non-precious metal and the openworked movement. I’m still waiting to hear an official weight from best fake Audemars Piguet UK, but this definitely a watch you could wear all day without worry.
On the wrist, this watch really shines. Sure, I like the 39mm Royal Oak Extra-Thin more than the 41mm version, but if you’re a regular reader you probably knew that criticism was coming. In all honesty, a huge part of the appeal of this watch for me is that it wears basically identically to the stock standard 41mm Royal Oak Extra-Thin – until you look at the dial, that is.
The finishing here is really top notch, and the two best places to look are at the large skeletonized section at the left and the tourbillon. The former shows off the contrast that can be achieved between brushed finishes on surfaces and the high polish found on sharp interior angles. And with all the winding surfaces, you can just trace the finishes along the movement over and over. The tourbillon bridge is black polished and goes from looking totally black to being a bright mirror with a tiny flick of the wrist.
The only thing that’s less than awesome about this watch? The price. At $204,400, this one does not come easy. Sure, the movement is superlative and the finishing expert, but there is something about spending over $200,000 on a time-only steel watch that is a little tough to stomach. I’m not saying it’s not worth it, and I’m certainly not saying that I wouldn’t do it if I had the means. All I’m saying is it’s enough to give me pause (and not an insignificant amount of it).
It would be easy to forget though, that the steel version of this watch isn’t the only new edition. There’s also a rose gold version replica AP watches, fully rounding out the collection (which has already been available in yellow gold and platinum). The gold is obviously a little weightier, and if the steel version weren’t available I’d probably be writing to you enthusiastically about how amazing it is. But, on the heels of the yellow gold and platinum versions, with the steel sitting by its side, I think it might be my least favorite of the four.
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Tourbillon Extra-Thin Openworked in steel is a limited edition of 100 pieces, priced at $204,400, while the rose gold version is a limited edition of 50 pieces, priced at 220,500 CHF (approximately $220,000 at time of publishing). These join the 25 pieces in yellow gold and 40 in platinum, for a total edition of 215 watches.