With ladies watches it’s not always that simple though manufacturers make a real effort to make them appeal to the female customer. And still, there are a lot of women – I should know, I’m one of them – who prefer to wear watches designed for and marketed to men. Because we don’t like the sizing or the diamonds and most of all we don’t like the lack of serious complications and the quartz movements in women’s watches; the latter is especially true for the serious collectors among us. So we’ve learned to love men’s watches which are often designed as serious tools and blow us away with their horological engineering.
But of course there are watch manufacturers out there that have recognized and addressed these issues and Audemars Piguet is one of them. 40 years ago, in 1976, Jacqueline Dimier designed the first Royal Oak for women. Female designers in the watch industry are still not that common as one would want to believe and 40 years ago a women’s watch designed by one was a revolution of its own. Dimier created one of the most successful and iconic ladies watches and to this day Audemars Piguet offers a broad range of different models.
To honor this important anniversary, Audemars Piguet collaborated with Italian jewellery designer Carolina Bucci. The result is the Royal Oak Frosted Gold, an exceptionally beautiful ladies watch that swiped me right off my feet. And I predict right here that this watch will be one of the few exceptions where men might see past the fact that it is designed for the opposite sex and desire and even (yes, what the heck!) buy it anyway. And with a diameter of 37 mm the Royal Oak Frosted Gold comes in a size suitable for the wrists of most women – and men.
The defining feature of the Royal Oak Frosted Gold resides in its shimmering sparkle, which comes from a surface treatment process rooted in an ancient gold hammering technique called the Florentine technique. Carolina Bucci has reinterpreted it and it was then developed into a horological craft suited to the case and bracelet construction of the Royal Oak. By beating the gold with a diamond tipped tool, tiny indentations on the surface are created that give a sparkle effect, like diamond dust.
The challenge for the craftsmen of Audemars Piguet was to apply this surface treatment technique across case and bracelet without altering the clean lines that define the Royal Oak’s form. Then the original gradating bracelet construction also demanded that the order in which the rest of the finishing is executed be reconsidered. Also the softness and flexibility of the Royal Oak’s bracelet had to be retained.
On the wrist the Royal Oak Frosted Gold presents itself unobtrusive despite its gorgeous finish – especially in contrast to watches with many diamonds. That doesn’t mean this wristwatch doesn’t know how to call attention to itself and it does that in the best, most beautiful and modest manner.
This Royal Oak too is equipped with the typical “Grande Tapisserie” patterned dial, the characteristic hands and hour-markers, fitting the material of case and bracelet.
The watch is available in both white and pink gold and in two different sizes: 33 mm and 37 mm. The smaller Royal Oak Frosted Gold is a mere ladies watch and it is powered – sadly – by a quartz movement. But: the 37 mm model comes with one of the marvelous automatic movements from Audemars Piguet, the calibre 3120.
Both models are obviously Swiss made like all wristwatches made by Audemars Piguet.
More information can be found on the website of Audemars Piguet. The Royal Oak Frosted Gold will officially be introduced at the SIHH 2017, then we will also learn about the price. We recommend people who have fallen in love with these watches (like we have) to start saving now. Like right now.