You’ve likely already read about Audemars Piguet’s new Code 11.59 collection. And if so, you know that the watches are powered by new in-house movements. Well, the caliber 4302, which powers the three-hand Code 11.59 watches is also used for the new Royal Oak 41 mm Ref. 15500.
The Royal Oak 15500 replaces the 15400, and while the aesthetic is very similar, in addition to the new movement, which we’ll discuss further in a second, the dial has been significantly redesigned, even if it does not appear to be at first glance.
To increase legibility, Audemars Piguet increased the width of the applied indices while also shortening them, the date was moved further to the right of the dial (and the partial hour marker was fully removed), the logo was repositioned, the applied “AP” portion of the logo was enlarged, and the “Swiss Made” print was moved closer to the bottom. The word “Automatic” was also completely removed. Additionally, the minute graduations were moved off the dial and printed on a separate outer chapter ring. The hour and minute hands appear to have been widened ever so slightly, and the counterweight of the centrally mounted baton seconds hand was reshaped to better match the design and also it is now skeletonized instead of a solid.
The new automatic (caliber 4302) replaces the venerable caliber 3120 and features an increased beat rate of 4Hz, up from 3Hz, as well as an increased power reserve from 60 to 70-hours. Viewable through a sapphire caseback, caliber 4302 has 32 jewels, 257 total components, and high-level Swiss decorations such as perlage, Geneva stripes, and a relief engraved pink gold oscillating weight. The case thickness was increased slightly, from 9.8 mm to 10.4 mm, to accommodate the thicker movement, although the diameter stayed the same at 41 mm, and the movement is actually wider at 32 mm which better fills out the case now compared to the 3120 which is 26.60 mm wide.
Overall, the 15500 looks like a good upgrade and we’ve read mostly positive impressions, unlike the polarizing opinions about the Code 11.59. This is not that surprising as the Royal Oak 41 mm is a core collection and one of the best sellers of the brand. Personally, I like the new dial, although visually I feel like the “AP” is a bit big and the logo placement of the 15400 was more optimal.
The retail price in stainless steel is $19,200 and it’s available with either a black, blue, or gray dial. In rose gold, on a strap, it’s $32,000 and on the full solid 18K rose gold bracelet the price is $50,500. These are available at AP boutiques immediately.