Category: Audemars Piguet Watches
Designed by Gérald Genta (1931-2011) in 1972, the Royal Oak was the first steel luxury wristwatch. Over the past four decades, it has become the icon of the storied Swiss manufacture — Audemars Piguet. Located in the Vallée de Joux, and still in the hands of the founding families, AP sits among an elite few at the top of the Swiss watch range.
When the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding 41 Replica first came out a number of competitors reacted, but none more successfully than Patek Philippe with the Nautilus (which was originally launched in 1976). Both the Royal Oak and Nautilus are still in production, and still to this day, it’s a common argument between enthusiasts and collectors as to which one is better. And while we will not be able to give you a definitive answer as to which one is a better choice or a better investment — if the Royal Oak is your preference, then hopefully this article will help you decide which particular variation might be best for you.
When the original Royal Oak first came out, it was nicknamed the “Jumbo” because of its 39 mm diameter, which was considered oversized at the time. Eventually, the Royal Oak was produced in a 36 mm case size, and then in a 39 mm diameter, up until last year. The outgoing 39 mm production model did not have an in-house made dial, and the logo was applied in place of the 12 o’clock hour marker. Now, as of SIHH 2012, the Royal Oak comes in a 41 mm or a 37 mm case, with the 39 mm being reserved exclusively for the (Royal Extra-Thin “Jumbo” and Royal Oak Skeleton models).
The new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding 41 Replica now has the AP logo applied to the dial just below the 12 o’clock marker, allowing for the designers to add a real hour marker for 12 o’clock, which, in this case, is a faceted white gold applied double baton marker, a major improvement aesthetically. Measuring 41 x 9.80 mm — the new Royal Oak is only slightly larger than its predecessor, but as I mentioned above, the dial is also vastly improved. And the case back is now open, something not previously offered within this collection. Which, of course, is a shame for any movement coming out of Le Brassus. And as I mentioned above, there is also a new 37 mm version for people with small wrists (or women). Which one works best for you truly matters on your wrist size and personal taste. I tried on all three and the 37 mm is definitely too small for my wrist (which is 7 inches in circumference), the 39 mm looks good and so does the 41 mm, so which one did I prefer? Read on and I will tell you.
Fortunately, the Royal Oak’s case and bracelet are unique and highly distinguishable in an industry crowded with too many homogeneous designs. Needless to say, standing out is essential to success. From the signature hexagonal bezel, with its eight fully functional, polished screws which contrast the vertically brushed top side and polished outer edge of the bezel nicely, to the perfectly bevelled polished case band and lug edges with contrasting vertically brushed sides, to the matching bracelet with its flawless polished and brushed facets — the finish and design of the Royal Oak are unmistakable. Beware: it attracts attention. But not the kind of attention you get from the diamond bezel of a watch or 20-inch chrome rims on a car. It is much more subtle and classy.
The dial is protected by a slightly raised flat sapphire crystal and a screwed sapphire caseback. The stainless steel crown is of the screw-down variety and is engraved with the AP logo. Water-resistance is 50 meters. Comes on an integrated stainless steel bracelet with folding AP-engraved clasp. The only way it should be.
Even as nice as the case and bracelet are, it’s the Royal Oak dial that takes my breath away. It’s one of the best design elements of the Royal Oak. The “Grand Tapisserie” motif pattern, white gold applied hour markers and long Royal Oak hands with luminescent hands, make the dial both very easy to read and to admire. The dial production was previously outsourced, but every Royal Oak made in 2012 and newer now features an in-house made dial. While testing the watch over the course of two weeks, I found that the dial is very readable, even at a quick glance, something that cannot be underestimated.
Furthermore, I found myself more often than not, just staring at the intricate dial pattern and the faceted edges of the white gold markers. Aesthetically, it is so damn good looking that it is hard not to look at it. Like beautiful women, the back of the watch is as impressive as the front. a look through the sapphire caseback reveals the beautifully finished self-winding movement.
Caliber 3120 beats at 3Hz or 21,600 vibrations per hour (the Extra-Thin movement is thinner and utilizes caliber 2121). The bridges are finished with Cotes de Geneve, bevels of the bridges are diamond graved, inverted snailing on bridges with circular graining on the main plate, all done by hand-operated machines. The automatic winding of the mainspring is handled by a beautifully engraved 22K rose gold monobloc oscillating weight, with increased efficiency thanks to ceramic ball bearings. Additionally, the rotor is bi-directional, meaning it winds in both directions, a feature that should hypothetically increase the winding efficiency. When fully wound, the 3120 has a 60-hour power reserve, which is nice as anything over the typical 42-hour power reserves seen on most watches, is welcome. A total of 280 components makes up the movement, 40 of which are jewels. The balance features variable inertia blocks, with a flat spring and a mobile stud. Royal Oak Jumbos do not have center seconds hand — just hours, minutes and date. This version “does” have a central seconds hand, hours, minutes and date. It also has a stop-seconds function, that allows you to stop the balance and, therefore, the seconds to more accurately set the time, a function that is pointless without a seconds hand. Indisputably, the Royal Oak “Jumbo” (new or vintage) is the ultimate Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding 41 Replica collector’s piece, the one a purist would want. But if you want to save some money, and don’t mind the new sizes: 37 mm and 41 mm — then the new models are an excellent option. You get a great looking movement, the caliber 3120, versus the caliber 2121, which is also visually pleasing. You also get a sweeping seconds hand with the (Ref. 15400ST.OO.1220ST.01), whereas the Jumbo Ref. 15202 has no seconds hand, and at $16,700 — the price is considerably less.
That said, it would be nice if Audemars Piguet would also offer the standard Royal Oak in the 39 mm case, not just on the premium “Jumbo” model.
Continuing its partnership with jewelry designer Carolina Bucci, Audemars Piguet has unveiled a limited-edition version of its Royal Oak Selfwinding watch.
The 34mm timepiece, arriving in all-black ceramic, is highlighted with a rainbow-colored dial celebrating the Royal Oak’s 50th anniversary. The dial pays tribute to the Tapisserie design, and comes with a mirror effect that is achieved by applying a sapphire plate on top of the brass dial plate. Hexagonal pink-gold screws adorn the bezel while the caseback reads “Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Limited Edition Carolina Bucci.”
The special design, which marks the jewelry designer’s third partnership with the watchmaker, arrives in a limited-edition presentation box designed by Bucci herself. Just like the watch’s dial, the box features AP’s classic Tapisserie pattern.
Take a closer look at the Carolina Bucci x Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding 34mm in black ceramic above. The timepiece is available at AP boutiques and AP Houses.
Premier Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet is reintroducing the 34 mm Royal Oak Selfwinding, this time with some unexpected twists. As a celebration of Royal Oak’s fiftieth anniversary, the brand called upon Italian jewelry designer Carolina Bucci to add her unique flair to the genderless timepiece.
Bucci’s craft is characterized by effortless elegance, and this project was no different for her. The designer brings intricate touches to the Royal Oak, though her trademark hammering technique was replaced with stunning contrasts instead. The watch’s dial appears black from afar, but closer inspection reveals a macrocosm of color and iridescence.
This eye-catching feature was made possible by a sapphire plate accented with miniature squares which catch the light with every swivel of the wrist. This technique varies from dial to dial, making each piece truly one-of-a-kind.
In addition to the multicolored dial, the watch is also elevated by hexagonal pink-gold screws securing the bezel, pink-gold hour markers, and a 22-carat pink-gold oscillating weight with a sleek, polished finish.
This exclusive style, the third of Bucci’s collaborations with Audemars Piguet, comes in a limited-edition presentation box, also designed by Bucci herself. Like the Royal Oak’s dynamic dial, the box also displays the timepiece brand’s classic Tapisserie pattern.
The watch is finished off with a titanium and sapphire caseback engraved with the words, “Limited Edition Carolina Bucci” and polished chamfers to optimize the watch’s brilliance. Honoring the Royal Oak Selfwinding of the past, this silhouette stays true to tradition, while blending Bucci’s meticulous touch and knack for color.
The new limited edition AP Royal Oak Selfwinding 34 mm in black ceramic is available exclusively in Audemars Piguet boutiques and AP Houses.
It may surprise you, but Olivia Crouan, Chief Brand Officer for Audemars Piguet, hasn’t always been a watch person. She spent most of her career (almost 20 years) working with brands in the Wine & Spirits division of LVMH. In fact, she only joined the horological world after moving to Geneva, Switzerland, with her two sons in 2018.
Nonetheless, at some point, her time with the historic brand became almost fated to happen, as their shared values, like family spirit, long-term vision, and craftsmanship, became more apparent.
I first met Olivia at Dubai Watch Week 2021, where Audemars Piguet was hosting a large-scale exhibition on the development of the Royal Oak Offshore. And it was there we talked about the brand’s strategies, development, the AP House concept, the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet, and the upcoming anniversary of the Royal Oak.
Thank you for sitting down with me today. Let me start by asking, how has the brand evolved since you joined the team?
When I started three years ago, I found the brand in amazing condition. It was already very vibrant. The question I faced was, “What is the next step?”
So my mission became to assure that the vision of the brand and the family stayed alive. Being anchored to who we are and to the brand’s DNA. And we have been challenging ourselves pretty much every day, trying to find new opportunities.
One challenge we faced was how to evolve the brand to appeal to people outside the watch community. Indeed, the brand has always been well-known within the watchmaking industry. But if you go outside the watch community (and here is one of the reasons why François-Henry Bennahmias hired me), people didn’t really know Audemars Piguet.
So, the goal was to get more people to know and understand who we are. Understand, I am not speaking about getting them to buy watches but about awareness of the brand and the spirit we want to convey to the world.
For instance, three years ago, our Instagram page was only about our products, but that didn’t reflect the entire spirit of AP. When you enter the AP family, you get more than just a watch; you experience something special, you meet crazy and instinctive people, and you couldn’t feel that our Instagram. So we adapted to make it reflect our whole spirit.
What is the quintessence of the Audemars Piguet’s strategy today?
I would say it’s about the natural, organic development of the brand. There are different aspects to this. For instance, in terms of retail, we continue to take control over a large proportion of our distribution via our own network of boutiques and developing the AP Houses. In terms of the brand strategy, we want proximity to our clientele. Our goal is to sell without any walls.
In terms of the brand strategy, we want proximity to our clientele. Our goal is to sell without any walls.
And in terms of collections, I would say that we want to evolve but, at the same time, stay true to our roots. We are about to have a huge development in the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet collection that will gain us more interest and respect. So we plan to explore this playground with more materials, design solutions, etc.
Let’s talk about the AP Houses. As I understand it, the concept behind them is to create a meeting space centered around a passion for fine watchmaking, with watches being sold (or not) after a casual conversation on a couch or over dinner. Why could this not be realized in an AP boutique?
When you are in a boutique, you are in a retail space, so it can be difficult to experiment a brand properly. Meaning that the AP House is more about education, experimenting, talking to people, and spending time with people than sales. And that is something you can’t do in a boutique.
One important thing was learning to believe in yourself. I remember François gathering the team and saying, “We are there. We know why we are there. We know what we are doing. We need to believe in ourselves.” We do something because we believe it is right for us.
On the other hand, we also learned how to manage social media, even within the company. We learned a lot about crisis management. And realizing that [as a brand] you don’t control what is and how to accept that.
Next year, we are going to celebrate the spirit behind the brand. The goal is to make it shine throughout the family. Of course, we are going to make a lot of announcements in terms of products, but I can’t tell you more at the moment.
We are also going to launch some new initiatives, which you will find out about next year. Finally, we are, for sure, going to reach out to collectors and give them more information about who we are and about our pieces. That is something crucial for us.
In 1993, Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore replica watch was born, in addition to the tradition of the Royal Oak, the 42 mm case, externally visible waterproof gasket, chronograph function with speedometer scale and other innovative design. The replica Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph adds a more advanced technology and aesthetic design to the previous design. Case material introduced rose gold, black and white ceramics and other materials.
In 1986, Audemars Piguet’s bracelet made of ceramics was first used in watches, and it was one of the first watch manufacturers to use ceramic materials. The chronograph button and the screw-in crown, which are made of black ceramic on the side of the rose gold case, stand in stark contrast to the brand’s unconventional and avant-garde design. The 42mm oversized case, 18K rose gold case with eight white gold screws, anti-glare sapphire crystal and the bottom cover together protect the precision parts of the watch. The design of the dial and bezel is the interpretation of the concept of “Offshore”.
The rose gold-tone dial engraves the “Méga Tapisserie” oversized plaid, the black volute dial on the dial and the black inner bezel echo the black crown and black chronograph button. There is a calendar display window at the 3 o’clock position of the dial. There are 12-hour and 30-minute scoreboards at 6 o’clock and 9 o’clock respectively, and a small second disc at 12 o’clock. The brand abbreviated three-dimensional inserts are made of solid gold, which makes the overall style more consistent. The black fluorescent Arabic numerals and the rose gold fluorescent Royal Oak pointer break quietly in the dark, clear and clear, and can be seen at any time.
Hand-stitched black alligator strap with 18K rose gold buckle buckle, closer to the wrist, without affecting the powerful features of the watch. The chronograph movement provides at least 55 hours of power storage. The replica Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph Series has been a revolutionary concept in the field of luxury sports watches since 1993. It is a perfect interpretation of the concept of “offshore”, leading the direction of the luxury sports watch concept.
Our watch website only sells replica Audemars Piguet watches, and these watches are made 1:1 imitating genuine products, which are almost 95% similar to the normal ones. If you don’t observe carefully, you can’t see the difference from the genuine ones. of. In addition, these Audemars Piguet imitation watches are of high quality and exquisite appearance, making them a good choice for friends or family.
When Audemars Piguet opts to tweak its timeless Royal Oak, it usually goes for something subtle: a material upgrade or slight size alteration. Not so for its latest round of Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillons, which are the very definition of a statement piece.
Six styles of these handsome timepieces are on offer, each sporting a different take on the very fancy theme and offered atop a crocodile leather or mosiac strap. The crown jewels of the lot — pun intended — are two models that boast bezels and dials set with hundreds of multicolored gemstones that achieve a true rainbow effect.
To be specific, these rainbow-hued Royal Oaks sport a dozen types of rubies, emeralds, sapphires, topaz, and other precious stones: 468 brilliant or 207 baguette-cut gems, to be specific, arriving at very select in October 2021 and early 2022, respectively.
And then, to properly set off these indescribably opulent watches, their case is finished with either diamonds or more rainbow gemstones.
There are some (slightly) more understated Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillons watches here, too, wherein four models sport only blue sapphires. They’re a little more toned-down, perhaps a little more tasteful but certainly no less exquisite.
It’s kind of staggering to imagine what it’d feel like to walk around with one of these bad boys strapped to your wrist. Surely, one glimpse would pop the monocle or explode the top hat of any of the bluebloods at the yacht club.
Jokes aside, these are staggeringly luxe iterations of an already outrageously high-end timepiece. Audemars backs up its opulence with true craft. These Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillons aren’t lavish merely for the sake of it: they’re demonstrative of AP at the peak of its elegance, true art pieces.
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak is one of the most recognizable luxury watches on the planet – and it also happens to be quite good looking. These two things taken together have helped this more than 45 year old design turn into both an icon and one of the most in-demand pieces of men’s jewelry you can find; and as such we included it among our “top 10 living legend watches to own” article. And “men’s jewelry” is a term that I feel adequately describes the appeal of this timepiece. For this review I take a look at the 41mm wide version of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph. Other sizes and styles certainly exist, but this is the most modern (and largest) iteration of the famed Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph ever.
Gerald Genta & The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak
You can’t be a watch expert (let alone watch lover) without studying the work of the late watch designer Gerald Genta. He is most well-known for a series of luxury sport watches he designed for brands such as Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe, IWC, and Bulgari. While Genta’s relationship with the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak design ended decades ago, you can’t really understand the watch’s concept without knowing what he was intending to do with it. Audemars Piguet has been a loyal and impressive caretaker of the design, which represents the vast majority of sales at the brand.When the Royal Oak was first introduced, Audemars Piguet boldly and proudly announced in its own marketing materials that the Royal Oak was a steel sports watch priced just like a gold one. Was that just rich-boy puffery designed to further alienate the masses who could not afford such items? Not exactly.
Most Audemars Piguet Royal Oak watches out in the market aren’t sold as a function of their movement or complexity. Yes, there are some exotic models with a perpetual calendar complication or a minute repeater – but this isn’t what the Royal Oak is all about. In fact, I have a very strong feeling Gerald Genta himself never even intended for there to be anything but a three-hand version of the Royal Oak, which means that something like a Royal Oak Chronograph is more a modification of his original design intent as opposed to building on it. Gerald Genta famously quipped that he himself was not a watch lover. In my opinion this statement has been taken out of context and really means that Genta was more focused on the exterior wearable part of the watch as opposed to the horological elements on the inside.
At the time when Genta was in the heyday of his design career he can clearly be seen rejecting the traditional “generic” exterior look of most watches (especially luxury ones) but introducing a series of novel ways to imagine a watch case and bracelet. It is in those latter areas where he excelled the most and his prescience on this subject was not only ahead of his time but clearly captures the emotions many luxury watch wearers have today. Both Gerald Genta and Audemars Piguet likely agree that your wristwatch being both distinctive in appearance and recognizable to others are necessary components of a wristwatch becoming more than just a nice product, but a genuine personality unto itself.
A discussion of Gerald Genta’s later design work and the contents of his eponymous brand are a subject for an entirely different discussion. With that said, it is important to understand the body of his work as well as the themes he was interested in to understand where the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak came from. Genta was a fan of the sea and all things nautical. He was also a fan of simple dials which were legible and told the time easily. If you take a look at the three-hand versions of both the Royal Oak and Nautilus, you will agree that the watch dials focus on being simple, legible, and just a little bit decorative.
Genta was never all that interested in revolutionizing watch dials through most of his career. Rather, he seemed to mostly care about the watch case and bracelet, and how they might integrate together. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak was one of the first watches I can think of where the bracelet and case are not only truly integrated, but designed to go with one another. In fact, I like to see his watch designs more like bracelet designs. High-end, nice looking, masculine, and showy bracelets which also just happen to tell the time.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Meets The Chronograph
The introduction of additional complications to the Royal Oak is a more modern evolution of the product collection intended to ensure that the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak fits into as many product categories as possible for as many potential customers as possible. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph takes the most popular complication (in addition to the time) and marries it to one of the most successful watch designs of the 20th century. What it lacks in “purity” it makes up for in emotional appeal for consumers who both like the look of a chronograph with its extra sub-dials on the face and the look of extra pushers on the case. Audemars Piguet itself seems to implicitly understand this given that the movement inside the watch is nice, but hardly revolutionary.
Decorated with love and an excellent attention to detail, the Audemars Piguet caliber 2385 automatic chronograph is at the same time rather “old-school” in its performance. It operates at 3Hz (21,600 bph) with a power reserve of 40 hours. The chronograph is a module on top of an older movement design, but still manages to achieve a decent level of thinness. While the three-hand version of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak is the clear winner when it comes to case thinness, the Royal Oak Chronograph 41mm is still comparatively slim to many other chronograph watches out there being just 11mm thick (the three-hand Royal is about 8mm thick).
Audemars Piguet further doesn’t show off the movement in most Royal Oak model watches, which means you can’t admire the solid gold engraved automatic rotor or the attractive level of finishing on the movement through the solid steel caseback.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph Case
At 41mm wide the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph is a hefty timepiece made from a lot of high-quality stainless steel. Recall that the “Jumbo” version (as it is often called) of the Royal Oak is just 39mm wide. The case has a relatively long 53mm lug-to-lug distance and the wearing size is visually increased due to the widely spaced lug structure. Water resistance is just 50m, which is more than enough for daily wear but I think 100m is a more competitive number if Audemars Piguet wants to push the “sporty” side of the Royal Oak more.
Then again, the entirety of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore collection is where the brand prefers to push more of its “sport” messaging. The irony of course is that the Royal Oak in the 1970s has a similar personality as the Royal Oak Offshore had when it debuted about 20 years later in the 1990s.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak & The Patek Philippe Nautilus
Comparisons to the Patek Philippe Nautilus and the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak are extremely common and logical. Currently Patek Philippe charges a lot more money for the three-hand Nautilus than Audemars Piguet does for a similar model. In fact the Royal Oak Chronograph 41mm is currently less expensive (by close to $5,000) than the retail price of the three-hand Patek Philippe Nautilus. I wouldn’t look to this price difference as a real indicator about value differences and in my opinion, this price difference is more about marketing and brand positioning.
This is also a good instance to say that if you are trying to decide between the two, the Audemars Piguet represents the superior value (which is a rare thing to say about the typically high-end pricing strategy of Audemars Piguet).
I personally prefer the sharper angles of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak’s case and bracelet to that of the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711 watch that I reviewed on aBlogtoWatch here. This is a matter of personal taste, and it is because I feel that the Royal Oak is a bit more edgy, masculine, and bold compared to the softer and more genteel lines of the Nautilus. Both watches are clear cousins and are each inspired by the world of boats. Audemars Piguet envisioned the Royal Oak to be the perfect sport watch to wear while on your sailing boat or yacht. Genta himself designed the iconic eight-sided bezel of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak after the design of some ship hull windows. From his home in Monte Carlo, it is not difficult to imagine Mr. Genta spending an awful lot of time gazing at some of the world’s most expensive and interesting ships to draw design inspiration from.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph Design
Aside from slight differences to the shape of the hour markers and hands, as well as the dimensions of the case, there is little from a core design perspective that this modern Royal Oak Chronograph does differently than the original Audemars Piguet Royal Oak design. The dial has Audemars Piguet’s “mega (grande) Tapisserie” repeating block face design as well as slightly more faceted versions of Genta’s original “sausage on a stick” hand and matching baton hour marker design.
A date window is located between 4 and 5 o’clock on the dial, and the chronograph sub-dials do a good job of not interfering much with legibility. Note that Audemars Piguet has produced many versions of the Royal Oak Chronograph. Some have mono-color dials such as this version, and others have contrast-colored sub-dials which offer a different visual aesthetic which many people like.
The chronograph pushers are screw-down in traditional fashion. This is designed to assist with water and dust resistance, but does make it a bit annoying to use the chronograph. Audemars Piguet Chronograph owners I’ve polled almost universally report that they chose the chronograph version of the Royal Oak for design reasons and rarely ever use the chronograph. Again, Audemars Piguet knows its clients and focuses on what matters most to them. That means a bit of effort to modernize the movement or chronograph complication would likely be more pleasing to people who aren’t the collection’s core customers.
Earlier I remarked that the Royal Oak was men’s jewelry. I didn’t just say this because of how it is used by most of its owners, but also because of how it is made. Rather than a simple round, polished case, the Royal Oak has a number of small pieces which each need a lot of time being polished and finished by hand. The way the case is made is more akin to the world of jewelry than traditional watchmaking.
In fact, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak itself was developed by Audemars Piguet by request of its agents in Italy who more or less wanted them to make a masculine time-telling men’s jewelry bracelet. Once again Italian watch tastes were ahead of their time, and the concept turned out to be a serious winner for the brand. That is, once the world had finally learned about the Royal Oak in the context of other competitive products.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph Wearing Experience
No doubt part of the appeal of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak is in its comfortable and eye-pleasing wearing experience. The watch sits on the wrist securely thanks to its wide flat back and easy to articulate bracelet. The bracelet itself is a thing of beauty which has been produced in a series of ways over the years. My understanding is that more recently Audemars Piguet has combined hand and machine-finishing for the bracelet parts, whereas in the past it was mostly done by hand.
The newer Royal Oaks are a bit more “industrial” in their finishing than some of the older models, but the aesthetic is still very attractive. The core idea of the decoration is to combine the masculine look of brushed surfaces with as much light-catching polish in the form of mirror-polished bevels and angles. Gerald Genta knew implicitly that the allure of any jewelry item is in how its surfaces dance and play with the light – something the Royal Oak has always done nicely.
It’s All In the Details
Little details help explain the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak’s wearing comfort. For example, when you size the bracelet you’ll see that the holes for the screw bars are larger than they need to be. This helps give the bracelet “play,” which makes it more comfortable on more wrist sizes and shapes. The butterfly-style deployant clasp is entirely simple, but produced from high quality pieces of machined metal. If anything, the amount of nicely machined and finished metal pieces help give the Royal Oak a satisfying, substantial feel when held.
One of the most interesting areas of discussion from a design perspective when it comes to the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak is in how the octagonal bezel’s hexagonal screws have their “heads” all oriented in the right direction. Other brands have come under fire from some watch collectors who lament the fact that screw heads don’t always line up in an aesthetically pleasing, symmetrical manner. The way in which Audemars Piguet achieves this visual trick is with screw heads that aren’t really screws, but countersunk bolts with a hidden nut underneath.
In this sense all Audemars Piguet needs to do is insert the bolts so that the screw-style head is oriented in the correct direction, while the nut fastener on the bottom side is what keeps the bezel in place. Turn the case of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak over and you’ll see actual screws used to secure the caseback, whose screw heads follow a more “organic” orientation.
As a piece of men’s luxury jewelry that just happens to tell the time, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak is among the best options out there. In a true “luxury maison” sense you are buying a piece of Audemars Piguet to wear on your wrist – and all the personality and history that comes with it. That is as opposed to a less recognizable watch design whose personality is dependent on the wearer. This goes back to the larger discussion I like to have from time to time of whether “you wear a watch or if a watch is wearing you.” The latter is more true for the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak in my opinion – and there is nothing wrong with that assuming you admire and appreciate the personality which Audemars Piguet has created for its extremely important Royal Oak product.
I’m not in a particular rush to own an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak because as a watch collector I know the collection isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. That tends to happen with design icons like the Royal Oak, in that many people want one but they wait for the “right time” to acquire one. Audemars Piguet certainly has no shortage of options and with new Royal Oaks coming out each year, consumers have no reason to rush unless that “perfect” model is released.
As part of a recently launched collection of green-themed versions of some of the brand’s most beloved watches, Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Extra Thin has announced the first-ever platinum Royal Oak “Jumbo” with a green sunburst dial. That’s right: Those who were simply green with envy towards anyone who managed to snag 2019’s “salmon adjacent” 152020BC can now commemorate the feeling with a truly striking smoked green dial. As the modern expression of the original Royal Oak format, the 15202 is a hugely popular reference, and this will undoubtedly be a hot-ticket item for anyone with their eyes on the current scene surrounding Audemars Piguet.
With 39mm of platinum case matched by a full platinum bracelet and a display caseback, this is a core Royal Oak offering with a twist. While AP has never shied away from colorful dials, especially when it comes to the Royal Oak, the green feels a bit more middle of the road than some of the more bold offerings we’ve seen in the past, and I think that makes a lot of sense for the 15202. In many ways, this format – without chronograph, tourbillon, or otherwise – is a shorthand for Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Extra Thin success, and it forms the roots of how many people come to know about the brand.
Judging by the images (though we hope to go hands-on soon enough), this 15202PT sports a bright but not overly shiny sunburst finish that is enhanced by a smoked gradient execution that fades to a much darker tone at the dial’s edge. Combined with bright and luminous white-gold markers and hands (along with no seconds hand), the 5202PT.OO.1240PT.01 is gorgeous, and the dial fade does a good job of matching with the visual weight of the date display, which appears to fade along with the shimmering green coloring.
The movement inside should surprise almost no one – AP’s lovely calibre 2121. Fitted with a solid gold winding mass and tracking hours, minutes, and the date, this movement has long been linked with the Royal Oak, and it’s always a treat to get a chance to peer through that display caseback to catch a glimpse of Audemars Piguet’s super thin (only 3.05mm!) automatic movement.
Still dubbed the “Extra-Thin” at a very svelte 8.1mm thick, I doubt that the relative slim-ness will mean you don’t notice this chunk of platinum on your wrist, even without the razzle-dazzle of that emerald green dial. Currently, Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Extra Thin is listing the price as “available upon request,” but regardless of that number, we all know they will be hard to get (update: price below). As new watch season looms on the horizon, AP has the jump start, and the grass is certainly looking green in Le Brassus today.