The Royal Oak, with its masculine octagonal case, exposed screws, and integrated bracelet is one of the most distinctive watches in the market today. It is imposing and recognizable, and in my opinion, one of the best statement watches money can buy.
The Royal Oak is not only famous for what it looks like, but also for how it was introduced. First released in the ’70s, the original Ref. 5402 was a bold stainless steel watch designed by Gerald Genta that created shockwaves. It was designed as a luxury sports watch and the scandalous part was that it was priced accordingly- the same as an equivalent gold watch of its era.
People just could not accept that a pedestrian material such as steel could be priced so exorbitantly and consequently, it was not very popular. It was only after some time that the public saw this as something genuinely original and avant-garde. Today though, in line with the craze for stainless steel, the Royal Oak is an icon.
While to most, every Royal Oak looks the same, to those who know- the reference 15202 is a historically important reference that sits above and beyond the rest both in aesthetics and demand. While Audemars Piguet has made many variants of time-only Royal Oaks, the 15202 is the one that is most faithful to the original Ref. 5402 and as such, shares the ‘Jumbo’ nickname.
The Royal Oak we have here today is quite a special one that is not very well known to most collectors. This is the extra thin, Hour Glass limited edition in 18ct yellow gold, released in 2015. Because of its unique configuration, it was actually given its own reference number: the 15205. That being said, it is essentially a 15202 with a different dial and rotor.
The 15202/05 is the quintessential reference for purists, and what makes this limited edition so, so special is the fact that it houses a vivid and beautiful green dial.
It is sized at 39mm and houses the same JLC derived Cal. 2121 as the original. To top things off, the watch also features two hands, a case profile of only 8.1mm, and a beautiful sapphire caseback with a specially decorated 18ct yellow gold rotor, engraved with the Hour Glass emblem and “One of Fifty” to mark its status as a limited edition. As far as wearability goes, this work of art sits with perfect proportionality on most wrists.
Yes, I know that the Royal Oak was always meant to be a stainless steel watch, but the sheer heft and presence of a gold Royal Oak really makes me love it. There is something about the green tapisserie dial that lends the watch a slightly retro feel. I also think it is safe to say that the shade of green used here is an excellent color pairing with yellow gold, and while today green has become very trendy, it is worth noting again that this was released in 2015 before it was ever a popular choice.
As I have mentioned in the above, this reference is a limited edition of 50 pieces made for the world-renowned Singaporean retailer – the Hour Glass. Most examples sit safely in collections that will never see the light of day, as they were initially sold to the top clients of The Hour Glass. This therefore makes for a very rare opportunity to acquire a fresh to market and truly unique Royal Oak.