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 also powers 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. Plus, 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 (which looks quite cool).
Back to the movement, caliber 4302, which is viewable through the caseback, replaces the venerable caliber 3120 and increases the beat rate from 3Hz to 4Hz, as well as increasing the power reserve from 60 to 70-hours. The new automatic movement has 32 jewels, 257 total components, and is 32 mm in diameter. It has increased in thickness slightly, and so while the case is the same diameter as before (41 mm), the thickness has increased from 9.8 mm to 10.4 mm.
Overall, it 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 feel like the new dial looks good, although visually I feel like the “AP” is a bit big and the logo placement of the 15400 was optimal.
Retail in stainless steel $17,800 and available with 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.
Learn more at Audemars Piguet.