You may have noticed over the past few years that the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak has become the “it” watch to own.
Celebrities, athletes, and watch collectors all over the world have been spotted wearing the iconic octagonal watch with the tapisserie dial and integrated bracelet.
The Royal Oak has a fascinating history that dates back to the early 1970s. At the time, stainless steel sports watches were not considered luxury items.
That's until Audemars Piguet’s head designer, Gerald Genta, designed the Royal Oak in steel. A watch that single-handedly created the luxury sports watch category and saved the company from financial turmoil.
The Birth of an Icon
Designing the Royal Oak was a bold move that paid off. Gerald Genta came up with the idea of an octagonal bezel secured by eight hexagonal screws, a true revolution in watchmaking.
Over time, the Royal Oak became a status symbol for the wealthy. Its chunky steel case and integrated bracelet made a strong statement. The mechanical movement, Caliber 2121, was also an achievement with it only being 3.05mm thick.
AP has released many versions of the Royal Oak over the decades. In the mid-70s, they launched a two-tone model in steel and gold.
The first Royal Oak Offshore debuted in 1993, a larger and sportier evolution of the original.
The brand continues to push the boundaries of watchmaking, releasing high complications like tourbillons, minute repeaters and perpetual calendars in Royal Oak cases.
The Royal Oak in The 1970’s
In the 1970s, Audemars Piguet introduced the Royal Oak, a luxury sports watch designed by Gerald Genta.
With its octagonal bezel, exposed screws, and stainless steel case, it challenged conventions and gained fame as the "Jumbo."
Despite initial doubts, it became a resounding success, setting the stage for its iconic journey through the years.
The Royal Oak in the 1980's
The 1980s saw the release of 18K yellow gold and two-tone steel and gold versions of the Royal Oak to suit the flashy tastes of the decade.
Audemars Piguet also introduced a Royal Oak quartz watch during this time in response to the quartz crisis.
The Royal Oak in the 1990's
In 1993, Audemars Piguet celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Royal Oak with the "Jumbo" model that featured an upgraded movement.
Other 1990s versions included the first Royal Oak with a moonphase complication and models with diamond bezels for a touch of elegance.
The Royal Oak in the 2000's
In the early 2000s, Audemars Piguet expanded the Royal Oak line with new versions like the Royal Oak Offshore, Royal Oak Lady, and Royal Oak Concept.
The Offshore models were larger, sportier versions of the classic Royal Oak, while the Lady models offered smaller sizes for women. The Concept watches pushed the envelope with avant-garde designs and new materials.
The Royal Oak in the 2010's
During this decade, Audemars Piguet focused on new materials and complications for the Royal Oak. They released the first ceramic Royal Oak in 2013, followed by models in forged carbon and titanium.
They also introduced new complications like the Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar and the Royal Oak Double Balance Wheel Openworked.
The Royal Oak Today
The Royal Oak are the most sought after Audemars Piguet timepieces. When it made its debut in 1972, this luxury sports watch boldly redefined the boundaries with its revolutionary design. Featuring an octagonal bezel and captivating visible screws.
Crafted from stainless steel, a bold choice in a world dominated by precious metals, the Royal Oak earned acclaim, affectionately referred to as the "Jumbo."
Its enduring popularity is a testament to its timeless allure and significant impact on the luxury watch industry. Evolving with innovative designs and limited editions, each Royal Oak embodies the seamless fusion of artistry and masterful craftsmanship.
Why the Royal Oak Stands the Test of Time
The Royal Oak's octagonal shape and exposed screws have endured for good reason. The design is simply timeless, blending sporty and elegant elements. The robust steel construction signals durability and strength. And the mechanical movements represent the highest level of Swiss watchmaking mastery.
Over 50 years since its launch, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak has cemented its status as an undisputed icon and one of the greatest watches of all time.
For any watch collector, owning a Royal Oak is a dream come true. This watch will undoubtedly continue shaping how we experience and appreciate fine watchmaking for the next 50 years and beyond.
The Royal Oak has endured for decades because of its timeless yet innovative design and the brand’s dedication to perfection.
Even though it was a gamble at the time, Audemars Piguet created something truly special and has stood the test of time.
Visit G&G Timepieces to learn more about the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and other luxury timepieces you may be interested in.