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 high horology, sports watches, the Royal Oak is an icon. As Audemars Piguet famously stated in its marketing ad from the ’70s: ‘Would you buy a Rembrandt for its canvas?’
The example you see here today is the mid-sized 15450ST. Sized at 37mm, it is essentially the same as the larger size 15400, with the same in-house caliber 3120 at a more accessible size for those with smaller wrists. Royal Oaks have been made in a multitude of sizes for a long time and the 15450 is just a continuation of that tradition. In fact, many collectors I know, who can’t get the 39mm 15202 have instead opted for the 37mm 15450 as the 15400s at 41mm were just too bulky.
While blue is all the rage, the sleeper in AP’s collection are those with ruthenium dials. There is something about the grey produced that really shimmers in the light and gives the watch an expensive feel.