Let us review the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Automatic 41mm, an eye-catching wristwatch, filled with top-shelf horology, yet unpretentious to the average layman. This timepiece is sure to become an integral part of your collection.
Nothing screams nouveau-riche like a wrist full of ostentatiously chosen bling. It may make your wrist stand out and shine in a crowd, but it doesn’t exactly project the classy image of multi-generational wealth. Those that appreciate the artisanal craftsmanship and brilliance in engineering involved in the age-old craft of luxury watchmaking know that it is not the precious gems on the watch that give it value. Rather, it’s the jewels in the watch, the craftsmanship, the finishing, and the fine-tuned horology, chronometry and metrology within the movement, the beating heart of a fine timepiece that will catch the attention of those in the know. That said, let us examine a fine specimen from one of the ‘Big Three’ watchmakers. Shall we?
The House of Audemars Piguet produced its most iconic timepiece, the Royal Oak in 1970. According to its designer, the legendary Gerald Genta, once the design came to him, it only took one night to create the original sketch of the design. The inspiration for the iconic design came from a vintage diving helmet that had exposed screws.
One of the things about this watch that made waves was that this was the first-ever luxury sports watch to be crafted in stainless steel. Something that was unheard of at the time. While the Royal Oak was designed in 1970, it was only actually produced in 1972.
The Royal Oak was revolutionary in the sense that it focused the attention of watch collectors on the watchmaking itself and not on the precious metal being used. In a way, they made it very clear that what you are paying for is their watchmaking brilliance, not the material used to display it. Mind you, and understandably so, a stainless-steel watch would still always be more affordably priced than the same watch manufactured in precious metal such as this fine 18kt rose gold model # 15500or.oo.d002cr.01 featured here.
(Note: The photos depicted in this article show the watch with the manufacturer’s protective plastic case shell on the watch case.)
This wristwatch is an 18kt rose gold model with a case that measured 41mm with a thickness of 10.4mm and features 50m/150ft of water resistance.
The iconic octagonal-shaped bezel is fastened to the case with 8 hex-shaped solid gold screws. The bezel is finished with a finely brushed finish on the front and has a polished beveled edge that runs up to the side of the bezel that has another finely brushed finish.
Its beauty is striking because of its simplicity and unconventional geometry. The scratch-resistant sapphire crystal protecting the dial is round giving the watch the appearance of a round case even though the case is a hard-to-miss eight-sided octagon.
As with all Royal Oaks, you will find the signature grande tapisserie dial pattern enchanting. The dial features applied 18kt rose gold luminous index hour markers and matching baton-shaped hands with luminous fills. The date aperture is located at the 3 o’clock position and on the very outer extreme of the dial is a second’s track printed in white. The hexagon-shaped crown is crafted of 18kt rose gold and uses a brushed finish with the AP logo engraved on the top of the winding crown.
The exhibition case back uses a transparent sapphire crystal to display the beating heart within the solid gold case, the manufacture AP caliber 4302.
This in-house caliber is a self-winding (automatic) movement that oscillates at a steady 28,800 vibrations per hour or 4Hz and is comprised of 257 components. This 32-jewel movement has an estimated power reserve of 70 hours and features a solid rose gold winding rotor that has a fine brushed finish and is branded with a skeletonized AP monogram and engraved logo. The plates and components of this movement are exquisitely finished with Côtes de Genève striping with a polished beveled edge.
This watch is fastened to the wrist with a black alligator leather strap using an 18kt rose gold deployant (folding) buckle. The reverse side of the strap uses a soft beige calfskin leather with black stitching. A model is also available with a solid rose gold bracelet as well with the reference number 15500or.oo.1220or.01.
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