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Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, an icon in the history of watchmaking
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak is the watch that prefer those who love the world of fine watchmaking and appreciate models that never go out of fashion.
Is the clock that prevented the fall of the Switzerland industry to the success of the Japanese quartz. The Royal Oak from Audemars Piguet, is appreciated by celebrities from all s the s spheres.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak appearance
In the early years of the 1970s, the Swiss watch industry suffered a major crisis due to the breakthrough in the market for Japanese quartz watches.
Audemars Piguet, farsighted, realized that they needed a drastic change for their brand and for the industry in general, otherwise the financial collapse could not be avoided.
Through surveys they found that they were generally interested in a luxury steel watch, something that was outside the projects of the big brands.
Then they presented something new, a sporty and elegant watch at the same time, something never seen before. A year before the official launch, on the eve of the 1971 Basel Fair, the firm’s managing director at the time, Georges Golay, called Gerald Genta.
Gerald Genta was a young designer. They proposed him to create a sports or steel watch that would be ideal for any occasion. In less than 24 hours he presented the which is considered the masterpiece of his career, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak.
A year later, in 1972, this new model was launched on the Swiss Watch Show, now known as Baselworld . The price chilled watch lovers, ten times higher than usual, 3,300 Swiss francs.
Thereafter the Royal Oak made it clear that precious metals were not required, precision in execution and quality of movement were paramount in the watches.
At first it was subject to great criticism, the price, design, material, everything new it proposed was rejected. However, collectors and trendsetters taking into account those same characteristics welcomed it and won everyone’s favor.
The Royal Oak design
Gerald Genta was inspired by the old helmets of the diving suits to design the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. He created an octagonal bezel that was secured with eight hexagonal white gold screws, a geometric tapisserie design, and an integrated bracelet with intermediate links arranged in descending order.
It did not look anything like those of the time , it broke with all the patterns established so far. It turned out to be such a sporty and timeless design that Audemars Piguet launched new manufactured movements such as the 1981 Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar and the 1984 Royal Oak Moon Phase.
¿Which are the characteristics of a Royal Oak?
Among the features that most distinguish it are its eight-sided bezel, its integrated bracelet and its visible joint. It is very resistant on land, in water and is ultra thin.
The screws are hexagonal and cannot be rotated because they are attached from the back of the watch . Slots therefore always are perfectly aligned in Royal Oak. They are stainless steel with a fine finish and brushed textures that contrast with the bezel. And why so famous?
No one knows why, but it was used by Edward Duke of Windsor, an icon of masculinity.
Then it was brought in by the richest man in modern Italian history, Gianni Agnelli. It was followed by Prince Michael of Kent and King Juan Carlos of Spain and the French actor Alain Delon.
Its own characteristics and this incentive led the watch to resounding success. Audemars Piguet had to launch a second run of a thousand watches.
The Royal Oak versions
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore
Launched in 1993 when the first Royal Oak was 20 years old. It is a 42mm watch also known as The Beast with a massive visible black gasket on the bezel.
It was rejected by Gerald Genta and conservative lovers of watches, but then became a great success to include the function chronograph and of resistance to water at 100 meters. There are variations within of this collection . The pieces include leather straps and the use of rubber both on the bezel and on the bracelet.
Royal Oak Concept
Ten years passed and the Royal Oak Concept appeared . This new design boasts a considerably hard case and a design that currently has almost ten more models . Among them are two new pieces for women made almost entirely in 18-carat white gold and with diamonds set.
Royal Oak variations
On the 30th anniversary of the Roya l Oak the Concept 1 was presented in a 606 alacrite case with manual winding Caliber 2895 with function selector featuring tourbillon, dynamograph and a linear power reserve. It also featured an innovative high-strength kevlar strap.
Then came models with forged carbon cases like the Royal Oak Offshore Alinghi, which won the 2003 and 2007 editions of the America’s Cup.
In 2012 to honor the Royal Oak’s 40th birthday, the Extra Flat Tourbillon model was presented and the Jumbo was reissued with the elimination of some modifications made to the watch over the years . It recovered the smallest design of the “tapisserie” on the dial and the AP logo at 6 o’clock.
Not long ago, the Tourbillon Chronograph and the Automatic Chronograph with dial and blue buttons with a steel case and bracelet were presented.
With its variations, the Royal Oak by Audemars Piguet is undoubtedly one of the most successful models in fine watchmaking . It has evolved, it has adapted to new times and it remains firm, resistant as an oak, to which time cannot bend.