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 recognisable, 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 because it was priced the same as a solid gold watch. 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 time that the public saw this as something genuinely original and avant-garde- fast forward to the 21st century, and the Royal Oak is an icon.
This Royal Oak you see today is from 2009 and sized at a perfect 39mm. While most Royal Oaks today is 41mm, I feel that this is way too big and it takes away the proportion. Not only that, but the original ‘Jumbo’ released in the ’70s was 39mm, and it is still the purest and most original sizing for a Royal Oak.
Featuring a black dial with Audemars Piguet’s signature engine turned tappiserie motif, the black and white colour layout is tastefully accented with notes of red. As with all Royal Oaks, a big part of the magic is in the case finishing and with this example, it is no different. The integrated bracelet is a must for any Royal Oak in my opinion and on the wrist, you will really see why. Hand finished to perfection, the bracelet is bevelled, polished and brushed.
The 26120ST is a complicated Royal Oak housing several complications with the main one being a dual time function. On top of the second time zone subdial at 6 o’clock, it has a power reserve indicator at 9 and 10 o’clock, a day/night indicator beneath this and a date subdial at 2 and 3 o’clock. All of this is laid out very methodically and despite the wealth of information on the dial, it remains legible.
All in all, this not only is a beautiful and iconic timepiece but particularly useful when travelling.