Watches: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Limited Editions for 2015 (+live pics)

By Thierry Ané on May 21, 2015

If you are die-hard aficionado of the Royal Oak Offshore timepieces as I am, you must feel that 2015 is an extremely dull year! Indeed, apart from the two new Royal Oak Offshore Diver models with open case back and silver or black "Méga Tapisserie" dial discreetly presented a SIHH 2015, Audemars Piguet did not introduce a single limited edition for us to covet.

This means that unless you are a fan of the super bling Haute Jewellery versions that sparkled for attention among the stunning Millenary Lady Hand-WoundWatches: Audemars Piguet Millenary Lady Hand-Wound (+live pics) models that were the true stars of the Audemars Piguet show this year, you will have to re-focus your obsession to the less manly Royal Oak line for which the brand has just unveiled two exciting limited editions!

We are obviously talking about the “chronograph” model here and not the “time and date” version that the Manufacture also revisited in a delightfully vintage steel and pink gold rendition during the Geneva show. Hence, with the Royal Oak Queen Elizabeth II Cup 2015 and the Royal Oak Italy Limited Edition, the 41 mm “Royal Oak Chronograph” line welcomes two additional exclusive models respectively produced in 200 and 500 units.

The first one, the Royal Oak Queen Elizabeth II Cup 2015 is crafted in titanium and combines a silver “Méga Tapisserie” dial with ruthenium-coloured counters and flange with a refined grey rubber strap secured by an “AP” titanium folding buckle. It is the 2015 model created for the Queen Elizabeth II Cup, a prestigious thoroughbred horse race held every April at the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club.

Audemars Piguet has been an official partner since 1999 and the Swiss Manufacture has introduced some stunning limited editions over the years to celebrate their sponsorship of the event. My personal favourite is clearly last year’s Royal Oak Offshore Diver Queen Elizabeth II Cup 2014 crafted in tantalum with a pink gold bezel.

For this year’s model, no combination of materials, though, and no open case back with a thoroughbred horse head transfer but a titanium case back engraved with the inscription “QE II Cup 2015 – Limited Edition” as the unique reference to the race.

The second model presented today is the Royal Oak Italy Limited Edition, a chronograph in stainless steel in tribute of the Italian market. Here again, the 41 mm case presents a closed back simply engraved with “Swiss Made Limited Edition” and the watch is also mounted on rubber, albeit blue this time. The watch is delivered with a second strap of the same colour in alligator leather.

The dial of this second limited edition also features the famous “Méga Tapisserie” in the same silver shade as for the Royal Oak Queen Elizabeth II Cup 2015 model. The chronograph registers and the inner flange of the Royal Oak Italy Limited Edition, though, are blue to match the strap and the only hint to “Italy” appears in the 30-minute counter at the 3 o’clock position: the “10”, “20”, and “30” minute markers are respectively red, green and white, just like this country’s flag.

Both models are equipped with the mechanical 2385 calibre developed by the renowned Manufacture. This self-winding movement with date and chronograph functions offers 40 hours of power reserve when fully wound and both timepieces are water resistant to a depth of 50 meters.

The Royal Oak Queen Elizabeth II Cup 2015 and the Royal Oak Italy Limited Edition are certainly fine timepieces that many watch connoisseurs would be happy to own but they somehow leave me wanting more. I feel they do not reach the degree of customisation many watch lovers will expect from this Manufacture for “limited editions”.

Since they are released at the same time, one can’t help noticing they are just colour variations of one another even though they honour entirely different things. Since the brand has tremendously reduced the number of customised pieces these past few years, it makes sense to expect more care and attention to each and every one of them…

For more information please visit the Audemars Piguet web site.