The legend of Audemars Piguet Royal Oak is as legendary as its design. It’s 1971, and the Swiss watchmaking feels a little under the collar. The Japanese are flooding the market with cheap quartz watches and no one is buying expensive automatic machines anymore.

Like many brands, Audemars Piguet was staring into a bankruptcy barrel. She needed to hit and fast. After taking a look at some of the comments from the Italians, who expressed some interest in luxury steel watches, the managing director George Jolie picked up the phone, in the late afternoon of 1971 when BaselWorld was to start and watchmaker Gerald Genta .

Will Genta be able to design a luxury sports watch, elegantly finished, that might attract Italians? Could he be at Gulai’s office in the morning?

Genta Ladder. What he came up with was Royal Oak, and the watch industry has not been the same since. It was, and still is, the final sports watch, but with many models and changes being released because it can be a little bit confusing, which is where we come in.

How The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Came To Be

Inspired by a traditional diver’s helmet in all of its installed glory, the original watch had an octagonal bezel with eight visible nails and an unusual blue dial. It was thin but relatively large for the hour at the time – 39 mm – and had a complex and integrated steel bracelet.

The Caliber 2121 was automated, a 2120 caliber version, which was first introduced in 1967 and as a result of technical cooperation between Jaeger-LeCoultre and Audemars Piguet with truncated funds by Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin; all were on the market for an ultra-slim customizable movement. .

Given the marine inspiration, Genta insisted that the name contains some maritime travel reference, so Audemars Piguet came with Royal Oak – the nickname for a series of eight ships (a nod to eight bezel nails) from the Royal Navy. A year later in 1972, it was ready for launch. It was more expensive than Patek Philippe Gold and 10 times more than Rolex Submariner stainless steel, rubbing a lot wrongly in the process.

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak: Innovative But Controversial

Royal Oak was out of success and by the end of the Basel 1972 exhibition jubilant critics were expecting the imminent Audemars Piguet bankruptcy. However, the unusual design managed to win the customers, and soon the AP ran ads confirming its exclusivity.

After 20 years, the brand decided to change things again; she wanted to make her sporty more attractive to a younger audience. Entering the sea, designed by 22-year-old Emmanuel Goet. It was huge – nicknamed “The Beast” during development – and fundamentalists abused even with Genta himself walking to the Audemars Piguet booth in Basel shouting that his creativity had been destroyed. A step that does not harm its success.

Since then, there has been little change to the design. Its instantly recognizable form contains crazy complications and was made into everything from gold and platinum to 602 alkret, which is a super alloy used by the aviation industry. It became smaller, bigger and thinner; it was frozen and structural, but basically this painting that Genta made one evening in 1971 was never skipped.

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Design

For something to dream about in the evening, a lot is happening with Royal Oak. First, there is the unusual octagonal bezel with its eight nails, which are not actually nails but bolts; nails that connect the bezel to the case are inside the watch. Then there is the famous fully integrated hand made bracelet. A detail probably explains the absence of an improvised wrist removal when worn.

The original Ref.5402 reference, much appreciated by collectors, contained the first letters of AP above the six instead of the 12, but otherwise nothing has changed since 1971. Aesthetically, it feels like an out-of-time design, It does not have any backlash to watch the atmosphere ingrained in many other hours around the same time, and its future technological elegance still looks fresh today.

It’s an unparalleled watch, which is why Audemars Piguet successfully sued a brand called Swiss Legend for tearing it back in 2014.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak: The Best Modern Iterations

The Classic Watch Style

This is the 2019 update for the classic triple strap with history window. It has a slightly wider 41mm structure, and here the ribbon inscription on the dial is grand and not small. Indicators have been expanded, now there is only a date window at three, while the aperture was previously sharing the contact area with an hour mark, and it is running on the all-new 4302 caliber, which Audemars Piguet also put in code 11: 59 which has a 70-hour power reserve . You have the option to call black or gray, but it is clear that blue is the connoisseur’s choice.

The Offshore Watch Style

If you intend to buy Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore, there is no point in choosing something hidden. It’s a big, bold and tough watch, so it makes sense that we embrace these personality traits and use them as an excuse to have some fun, which precisely brings us to this amazing green version with an elastic camo strap. Not everyone will like it, and you probably can’t wear it to the desk, but it’s a great piece of mechanical muscle. Propagate with caution.If you intend to buy Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore, there is no point in choosing something hidden. It’s a big, bold and tough watch, so it makes sense that we embrace these personality traits and use them as an excuse to have some fun, which precisely brings us to this amazing green version with an elastic camo strap. Not everyone will like it, and you probably can’t wear it to the desk, but it’s a great piece of mechanical muscle. Propagate with caution.

The Chronograph Watch Style

Case size between 38 mm has been a great place for many brands this year, and Audemars Piguet has used it well in the chronograph set, and there’s a 41 mm version of this that has the same movement as the built-in vertical wheel chronograph, but there’s something to do with losing this 3 mm that He transforms aesthetics from Latifa to “I need one on my wrist now”. The History Window 4.30 is a bit controversial for some, but the presence of this small, circumventable flaw adds only to perfection.

The Concept Watch Style

Conceptual watches rarely turn into business horizons, but Audemars Piguet has managed to turn RD # 2 – the ultra-thin perpetual calendar – into this, Royal Oak Selfwinding Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin. At the moment, it is the world’s thinnest automatic perpetual calendar, sitting just 6.3 mm on the wrist, and there is no small disc embossed with a small strap, which makes it easy to read, and the majority of the case and bracelet are polished titanium, middle links and polished platinum bracelet. It’s very expensive, but that’s what you pay for part of history.

The Complicated One Watch Style

 

Since Jules Louis-Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Biggett founded a store in Le Brassus, Audemars Piguet has been known for making very complicated watches. Everything has been cast on this royal oak, and surprisingly, it sticks, despite having a “European” and “chronograph” device, then everything opens up in open work, it doesn’t look crowded, with the use of black ceramics adding a modern twist a threat .