The Royal Oak is the most famous watch from Audemars Piguet. The Swiss manufacturer first introduced this revolutionary model in 1972. With the Royal Oak, Audemars Piguet ushered in a new era in luxury watches. Before then, stainless steel sports watches were not en vogue among the top luxury manufacturers, who many still most closely associate with gold timepieces. Beyond its case material, the Royal Oak's design was also groundbreaking. Thanks to its octagonal bezel, the Royal Oak resembles a ship's porthole. Another defining feature of the Royal Oak is the set of eight hexagonal screws that attach the bezel to the case. The slots in the screws are perfectly aligned, creating a harmonious circle. This is made possible by tightening the screws from below. In between the bezel and the case is a rubber seal. Finally, the stainless steel bracelet is integrated into the case, and the links taper off the closer they get to the clasp.
The Royal Oak is a product of legendary watch designer Gérald Genta – the same man behind the Patek Philippe Nautilus and IWC Ingenieur. Genta received the commission for the timepiece from then-general director of AP, Georges Golay. Golay requested a wristwatch that you could wear while driving a sports car, during a weekend on a boat, at a fancy dinner, and celebrating at the country club. The result was the world's first luxury sports watch.
Despite its impressive origins, the Royal Oak was not an immediate success. However, today it is among the most highly coveted timepieces on the market. Watch fans are particularly fond of the Royal Oak "Jumbo" Extra-Thin ref. 15202ST. You can call this 39-mm model your own for about 114,000 USD. At roughly 35,500 USD, the ref. 15300ST is a much more affordable alternative. This watch also measures 39 mm in diameter and has a second hand in addition to its hour and minute hands. Those who prefer larger timepieces should consider the Royal Oak Automatic 15400ST and its successor, the ref. 15500ST. Both models have three central hands, 41-mm cases, and cost between 36,500 and 43,000 USD.
Audemars Piguet also offers the Royal Oak in gold, platinum, titanium, or ceramic, as well as with various complications. Prices for these watches range from 45,000 USD for a stainless steel chronograph to well over 240,000 USD for a ceramic watch with an annual calendar.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Features
- A famous stainless steel luxury sports watch
- Designed by Gérald Genta
- Octagonal bezel with screws in a porthole look