Photo: GQ

Branka Narancic

Branka Narancic

Editor

50 Years After its Debut the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak is as Important as Ever

The latest brand to join the green bezel revolution is Audemars Piguet, whose recent launch event revealed a number of new Royal Oaks in the colour du jour.

The Royal Oak was conceived in 1970 by a Swiss industrial designer named Gérald Genta, who claimed to have sketched the case during the course of an evening after getting a call from Audemars Piguet, the century-old luxury watchmaker that was staring obsolescence in the face due to the quartz-watch wave enveloping the luxury-timepiece industry.

The first luxury steel sports watch, designed for any occasion with the most beautiful of finishes. Taking inspiration from traditional diving helmets, Genta expressed the bolts as the bezel’s hexagonal screws, and exposing this technical element on a watch was considered bold and innovative at the time (1972).

“Steel sports models from iconic brands” are usually the ones that out-perform the global stock indexes – the Royal Oak, a clear favourite on his list.

Tim Stracke, CEO from online luxury marketplace, Chrome 24

The Royal Oak is one of the most iconic watches today, and 50 years after its launch it is as important as ever.

If you’re finally in the market for one, there’s good news. The manufacture has pushed the icon back into the spotlight again this year, unveiling more than a handful of new iterations that are bound to tempt even the most discerning of collectors. To sweeten the deal, these new timepieces also come equipped with new movements, fresh designs and a whole lot more attitude. 

There’s a platinum “Jumbo” Extra-Thin ref. 15202; there’s a self-winding chronograph in a yellow-gold case, and three new self-winding tourbillon variants in differing metals. 

Royal Oak Self-Winding Chronograph

With only 125 pieces of this timepiece made, this 18-carat yellow gold case with a green Grande Tapisserie dial is one of our favourites. Housed within a 41mm case, this watch is powered by the selfwinding Manufacturer Calibre 2385, which besides the chronograph function also powers the hours, minutes, small seconds, and date. 

Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin

Limited to 100 pieces made, the platinum Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin ref. 15202 will be the most sought after from the collection. The 39mm timepiece comes clad in a full 950 platinum case, which makes it the first to sport this particular configuration, but manages to balance that heft by keeping the watch at only 8.1mm thick. This dressier take on the Royal Oak is paired with the self-winding Manufacture Calibre 2121, which powers the hours, minutes, and date to make for an extremely sleek and elegant take on the classic. 

Of the three tourbillons, two are titanium and one is rose gold. They contain the automatic tourbillon caliber 2950, created for the Code 11.59 model last year – an evolution the previous manual-wound version, with a 65-hour power reserve. The dial in these models is called “evolutive” tapisserie, as it is arranged in a sunburst pattern around the tourbillon opening in the dial at 6 o’clock.

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