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. As Audemars Piguet famously stated in its marketing ad from ’70s: ‘would you buy a Rembrandt for its canvas?’
The example you see here today is the discontinued reference 15400. Produced until 2019 and succeeded by the current 15500, the biggest difference over its predecessor the 15300 was that the size was increased to 41mm. Other than that, it maintained all other aesthetic cues and an overall design staying true to the Royal Oak DNA.
While the stainless steel 15400s were produced in relatively high numbers, this example is perhaps the rarest. Introduced in 2017, this ruthenium dialed 15400 Royal Oak was only made for 2 years, as the 15500 took over in 2019. This is in contrast with all other 15400’s which had a production span of 7-8 years. Despite collectors favoring the blue these days, I am sure that one day the ruthenium 15400 will catch up.
As standard, this Royal Oak is powered by the self-winding, in-house Caliber 3120, and is visible through the sapphire casebook. Overall, this is as true of a Royal Oak you will get with that extra bonus of a rare colored dial.