Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Automatic 15400ST.OO.1220ST.01
Truly one of the all time classics in contemporary watch design, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak has cemented its position in the annals of watchmaking history. In the forty plus years since its introduction in 1972 its enduring form has remained faithful to the original ever since, and its global success has seen it become by far the most important piece in the Audemars Piguet portfolio.
A ground-breaking piece on its debut, the Royal Oak brought Audemars Piguet’s legendary watchmaking reputation to a much wider audience, its stainless steel case and integrated bracelet making it the company’s most accessible piece in its collection, and as the first true sports/casual lifestyle watch which would become one of the most successful of all time.
Designed by Gérald Génta, whose works would include other era defining classics such as the Nautilus from Patek Philippe, it was an immediate sensation. An obsessive for detail Génta’s deft touch is evident throughout, and to great and lasting effect.
Combining chiselled good looks with superb build quality the Royal Oak Automatic is an icon, and its octagonal bezel with aligned hexagonal screw heads its most distinguishable and unmistakable feature. Encased in a 41mm case of stainless steel, its upwards surfaces are brushed to a coarse grained finish, with its bevelled edges highly polished in contrast. The hexagonal crown screws onto its inner collar so whilst being exposed, is sturdily affixed to the case.
Beneath the sapphire crystal, the black dial is manufactured in the signature grande tapisserie decoration which, with its glossy finish captures and plays with the light, and features applied hour indices and those slender Royal Oak hands, in white gold and with Super LumiNova to ensure legibility in low light environs. The date is displayed discreetly on a black background in a small aperture at the 3 o’clock.
The 9.8mm tall watch is slim and wears lightly on the wrist thanks to the close link bracelet with its brushed steel surface and flat link stubs continuing the Royal Oak’s angular good looks. It closes securely around the wrist with a signed folding clasp.
Through the rear sapphire exhibition caseback, the large balance wheel of the self-winding Manufacture Calibre 3120 keeps a constant beat of 21,600 vph, and its bridges and plates are finished with Côtes de Genève decoration. The large monoblock oscillating mass is 22Kt gold and engraved with the founder’s family crests either side of the AP motif.