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.
To the untrained eye, all Royal Oaks might seem identical, but for those in the know, the Ref. 15202 stands out in terms of both its visual appeal and demand. Among the numerous iterations of time-only Royal Oaks created by Audemars Piguet, the Ref. 15202 stands out as the one that most faithfully pays homage to the original Ref. 5402, earning it the 'Jumbo' nickname. With its 39mm size and use of the same Jaeger LeCoultre-derived Cal. 2121 as the original, this model is the Royal Oak designed for purists. It features just two hands, has a slim profile at 8.1mm, and boasts a captivating sapphire caseback with an intricately decorated rotor. When worn, it sits on the wrist with impeccable balance and proportionality.
Indeed, it's likely common knowledge among enthusiasts that the blue-dial Jumbo you see here today is perhaps the most coveted and elusive Royal Oak available through authorized dealers. It's a boutique exclusive and reserved primarily for loyal clients who have purchased numerous other Audemars Piguet timepieces. Dealers typically receive only a very limited supply, usually just a piece or two per year. Consequently, there exists a substantial premium on the secondary market for pieces like this.
I completely understand why people are so enamored with the blue Jumbo. The blue dial has a mesmerizing quality, as it glistens in the light and displays varying shades of blue depending on the lighting conditions. When it's on my wrist, I often catch myself simply gazing at the dial, completely captivated by its beauty, and losing track of the time altogether.
With the 15202 now discontinued for the newer 16202, this makes it the last time Audemars Piguet will ever use the legendary Cal. 2121 as they have now moved on to an in-house caliber. Some may say for the better, but for the nostalgic ones like us, it represents the end of an era.