The brand name Audemars Piguet and the model name Royal Oak go hand in hand and without a doubt, the Royal Oak has been AP’s most popular watch. 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.
Riding on this wave, the Royal Oak had a reincarnation in 1993 as Audemars Piguet introduced a whole new variant of the model- the Royal Oak Offshore. Nicknamed ‘The Beast’ is was basically a Royal Oak on steroids and with watch sizing getting larger and larger, it was an instant hit.
One of the most popular Offshores to this day, the Ref. 26176 was introduced in 2009 and quickly dubbed the ‘Bumblebee’ for its black dial and yellow highlights. Not only that, it was housed in an unconventional forged carbon case and a black ceramic octagonal bezel. With a stunning pattern from the forged carbon, it is not only beautiful to look at but extremely durable and scratch resistant.
Without out a doubt, this is a loud, statement watch and for those looking for something like this, the Royal Oak Offshore Bumblebee ticks all of the above.