Thursday, February 18, 2010

AP Royal Oak calibre 2120 and 3120

2008 Royal Oak

1972 First General Royal Oak

Copy Right of HK Snob

Calibre 2120

Audemars Piguet is one of the leading houses in the Swiss watchmaking industry. Frequently referred to as one of the "Big Four," the manufactory not only has a glorious past, but a healthy present and a promising future. it's even more difficult to imagine which of the two possible primary priorities they would emphasize: a very thin and elegant movement, or something slightly larger and more rugged? The ideal solution for use in all AP models may be a combination of both, and the relatively large watches of today provide an opportunity for AP's engineers to synthesize these two goals. With this in mind, it was naturally an exciting opportunity to introduce a pre-series example of the brand new, 40 jewels, automatic AP caliber 3120. In fact, the cal. 3120 possesses 45 jewels, but because the jewels under the date wheel, by industry protocol, are not included in the final published jewel count, the "official" jewel count is "only" 40) This new AP creation are dominated by the wonderfully "sculpted" rotor, which is entirely made of 22K gold - a first for AP. The shape of the rotor is unusual, forming an arc of about 110 degree whereas the usual shape is closer to 180 degrees. While quite beautiful, the shape of the 3120's rotor is predicated on physics, not art. The weight of the rotor is double that of the calibre 2120's rotor and coupled with its smaller circumference (1/3 compared to the cal 2120's 1/2) most of its mass, and correspondingly, its center of gravity, are further from the point of rotation, which should produce extremely efficient winding. The inner part of most rotors are relatively thin and necessitate a riveted or screw mounted weight on the outer diameter. In contrast, AP's rotor is crafted of a single solid piece with a comparatively thick inner part. The thickness of the rotor increases towards the outer edge in two steps, following the shape of the bridges. The clearance between the oscillating weight and the bridges is remarkably small. This, together with the decoration representing the Audemars and Piguet family crests in relief, leaves an impression which may be best described as massive. This impression is consistent throughout the entire movement; even though the 3120 is smaller than the 2120, any part of the main structure (such as the bridges and plates) seem to be made of a solid block rather than from a thin sheet. Additionally, the 3120 is a more efficient design, sporting a larger balance and barrel within a smaller area, which are performance-improving features. In view of this, and bearing in mind that the movement height of 4.25mm isn't very flat, I have to say that it is perhaps one of the most elegant and well proportioned movements I've ever seen. Calibre 3120 Any of the few additional fractions of a millimeter in height was a great investment when AP had the chance to determine the final thickness of the new movement. Even though the general appearance of the movement is most elegant and well proportioned, I did not find a section or part that caused even the slightest doubts in terms of its reliability, stability and structural strength. Apparently, reliability was among the top aims during the development of caliber 3120. I really admire the way they achieved this and I'm sure it will be a new benchmark for quality among contemporary automatic movements. For sure some may regard some of the elaborate details to be familiar, and well known from other manufacturers, but the combination of so many engineering solutions in a single movement, which is so well proportioned, is a really great success. If I had to express my thoughts in one short comment, I'd say: "this is, at the same time a rugged, reliable sports watch movement, and a classic, beautiful dress watch movement". Specification comparison Comparison between 1972 and 2008 AP Royal Oak Automatic watch 1975 Overall Thickness 7.00 mm Gold rim rotor Diameter 0f 29mm Solid gold base hermetically sealed Non screwed crown 2008 Overall thickness 9.1mm 22 KT rotor Stainless steel case, Pink Gold and Solid Gold version transparent sapphire caseback Diameter of 39mm rated water resistance to 50m. Crown, Hands and hour markers in facetted 18kt gold for SS Version 40 jewels Wearing Comparison The new one has a brand new double deployant three blade clasp for the bracelet model. The 1972 is more comfortable and easy to wear. The new model has a new push to release snug which cause irritation to my wrist! I prefer the old one for wearing. Since the old one is made of 18 Ct gold, it is more massive and heavy thought it is thinner. The New one is no question all weather sportive dress watch. The Old ne is the all time Classic of Royal Oak. Well, to be honest, there is no way to select which one is better. Functionality wise, New one is better as it is waterproof to 50M. Wearability the old one is superb. Investment value, old one is better. I think this new caliber has the potential to prove it worthy to join the pantheon of "the greatest automatic movements ever made." The only thing is to buy them both! And I have both finally! HK Snob

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