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 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 sport 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 high horology, sport watches, the Royal Oak is an icon.
While steel is the most famous metal for the Royal Oak, since then, Audemars Piguet has made variants which include gold cases, such as the 15400 you see here today. Crafted in 18k rose gold, the 15400 retains all of the sharp lines a Royal Oak should, made even more distinctive by the beautiful warm tone of the case. Furthermore, this example comes on an alligator strap, something that AP added to the Royal Oak line as well.
The 15400 is sized at 41mm and is a discontinued reference, produced for a few years before being replaced by the current 15500. It is powered by the in-house Caliber 3120, featuring a beautiful solid gold centrally mounted, an engraved rotor that is visible through the sapphire case back. With a black tapisserie dial and matching rose gold markers and hands to complete the look, this is every bit as recognizable as any Royal Oak out there in the market today and while steel continues to hog the limelight, I have no doubt that gold will make its comeback.