The Royal Oak is the most famous watch from Audemars Piguet. The Swiss manufacturer first introduced the watch in 1972, and its look revolutionized the watch industry. With the Royal Oak, Audemars Piguet ushered in a new era in luxury watches. Before then, stainless steel sports watches were not en vogue among the top luxury manufacturers. In the early 1970s, wristwatches from Patek Philippe, Jaeger-LeCoultre, and Vacheron Constantin were still predominantly made of gold and featured traditional designs.
The history of the Royal Oak began in 1971. At this time, Georges Golay was the general director at
Audemars Piguet. The Italian distributor for Audemars Piguet, Carlo de Marchi, approached Golay and requested a wristwatch that you could wear while driving a sports car, during a weekend on a boat, at a fancy dinner, and celebrating at the country club. Steel was not excluded as a possible material for the case and band.
Gérald Genta , one of the most famous watch designers in the world, was commissioned by Audemars Piguet to design the Royal Oak. Four years later, Genta would design Patek Philippe's Nautilus. Thanks to the octagonal bezel, the Royal Oak's design is reminiscent of a
ship's porthole . A characteristic feature of the Royal Oak is the set of eight hexagonal screws keeping the bezel screwed onto the case. In between the bezel and the case is a rubber seal. The slots in the screws are perfectly aligned, creating a harmonious circle. This is made possible by tightening the screws from below. The stainless steel bracelet is integrated into the case, and the links taper off the closer they get to the clasp.
At the beginning of its career, the Royal Oak wasn't particularly successful. Today, however, it's the most successful and beloved watch from Audemars Piguet.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Features
- Famous stainless steel luxury sports watch
- Designed by Gérald Genta
- Octagonal bezel with screws in a porthole look