The first cutout Jumbos in eight years, mine, they are eye-opening.
To say that Audemars Piguet fake is known for its openwork craftsmanship is like saying that Eric Ripert is known for its cooking—which is true, but doesn’t capture the excitement and artistry of their respective crafts. Long before the Royal Oak was introduced, it was embedded in the company’s history and identity — so much so that when the Royal Oak launched in January 1972, many of the early suspicions were based on AP’s reputation for ultra-thin, complicated, skeletonized watches – What the heck is going on to make a steel pudgy monkey like a royal oak?
AP has proven to handle cutouts well in Royal Oak environments, thanks a lot. The company has hollowed out the original Jumbo calibre 2121 (shown in 2014) along with a perpetual calendar, tourbillon and (my favorite) double balance wheel. This year, as part of the Royal Oak’s 50th anniversary celebration, The Associated Press has launched a The new Jumbo – ref. 16202, using the new ultra-thin movement 7121. The new movement is only a hair thicker than the outgoing 2121 (3.2mm vs. 3.05mm). In addition to the new Jumbo model, AP also introduced an extremely refined Jumbo Extra-Thin Openworked with cal. 7124. No date complication, therefore, cal. The 7124 is thinner – only 2.7mm tall.
At launch, there will be two models: Reference. 16204ST.OO.1240ST.01, steel, ref. 16204OR.OO.1240OR.01. The case measures 39mm x 8.1mm – the same as the non-skeletonized 16202 model – and the movement specifications are the same, except for the height (29.6mm x 2.7mm, power reserve 57 hours).
Like I said, AP has been around for a while. Jumbo has been around since 5402 in 1972. The first skeletonized Royal Oak was a long-forgotten pendant model from 1981 (5710BA), and the first skeletonized Jumbo was a one-off in 1992 (ref 14811). They were produced in very small series with various designs until 2000, and then reappeared in 2010, 2012 and 2014.
Truly high-quality cutout is a rare creature these days—in fact, it’s always been just because of the difficulty involved in getting it right. There are two ways to make a skeletonized movement – you can design a movement that is skeletonized from the start, like the Cartier Santos de Cartier Skeleton (for example). Another way is to take an existing movement and skeletonize the plates and bridges. Traditionally, this has meant using piercing files and jewelry saws, and the challenge is to remove as much metal as possible without seriously compromising the functioning of the movement.
Today, spark erosion machines are used to remove unwanted metal, but the final finishing still has to be done by hand. When you consider how many extra bevels, corners and sides you end up with when skeletonizing the movement, you start to see that it’s not a trivial challenge. I’m not sure what the exact process was for the 16204s – AP probably just machined a different top plate from scratch rather than going to the trouble of actually piercing the standard movement plate. In a way this would make more sense as it would give you more control over the design (and you can’t change the pivot and jewel positions, so you still have to work within the base caliber). But even in that case, the observations on all those extra surfaces still hold true.
I have a very strong emotional attachment to the 2121/20 movement and I am currently going through the denial phase of Elizabeth Kubler Ross’s five stages of grief (anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance will come in due time). But the truth is, it’s been with us since 1967, and nothing lasts forever. The 7121 is more workmanship, but less glamorous (if you ask me). My guess is that it’s cheaper to manufacture, has fewer construction steps, is probably easier to repair and is generally less fussy, and no doubt beats the 2121 from a technical standpoint – but I’ll miss the old 2121 – School charm. fake watch
But boy, the 7121 shines as a skeleton movement. Especially the bottom plate (dial side; in watchmaker parlance, the back of the movement is the top and the dial side is the bottom, because that’s how the movement is placed when you work on it), especially that has opened up very nicely Now, organized into a series of semicircles, loops, curves and full circles that provide a wonderful frame for the moving parts in the movement – with an almost completely unobstructed view.
My only real complaint is the 50th anniversary rotor on this watch – yes I know it’s a way to make the whole 50th anniversary a part of every watch but the “50” is just – sorry it didn’t don’t Do it with the rest of the design, in the context of this watch the best I can say is the Jumbo Extra-Thin Openworked on the wrist, at least you don’t have to look at it. It’s not a complete mismatch – 7124 The movement structure of the top plate is very angular, as is the geometry of the rotor cutout. I can’t help it though, I still think it looks like something on the side of an Indy (hey, if you’re a fan of Indy cars and skeleton watches – which seems unlikely but possible – maybe it’s a feature, not a bug).
Both versions are otherwise very elegant, and it’s hard for me to choose one over the other. The steel model is — well, it’s a steel Jumbo, and the steel is, let’s face it, the pur sang version of the Jumbo, everything else feels like a variation on that theme. Meanwhile, oh my gosh, the rose gold version has depth and drama – the contrast between the slate grey of the slabs and the gold of the moving parts is pretty hard to resist. Obviously, you get the set.
Royal Oak Jumbo Slim Skeleton 39mm: Case, 39mm x 8.1mm, Rose Gold or Stainless Steel. Movement, self-winding Caliber 7124, 29.6mm x 2.7mm, 31 jewels at 28,800 vph; minimum guaranteed power reserve, 57 hours.