Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph: Timeless Design

audemars-piguet-royal-oak-chronograph

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak chronograph is the timeless horary design that has graced the wrists of enthusiasts and made its appearance in collectors’ treasure troves for over forty years. The Royal Oak earned the distinction of being the first luxury wristwatch crafted of steel in 1972. This iconic example of the finest in Swiss manufacture was the creation of designer Gerald Genta.

The success of the Royal Oak deserved an answer from the competition. Patek Philippe responded with the lauch of the Nautilus and the two bear the similarity of being manufactured to this day. The comparisons of these fine watches still ignite debates among collectors over which is superior over the other. Patek watches have become as popular as the AP Royal Oaks but for different reasons.

Each branding has their own unique features and characteristics that endear them to those loyal to their favorite lines. Which is better? This question may not have a good answer because the beauty of the time piece and its value lies within the tastes and preferences of the collector.

New production of the Royal Oak Chronograph

AP Royal Oaks have been released in quite a few different styles and along with way, new designers have contributed some exciting features that appeal to a variety of AP Royal Oak enthusiasts and collectors. Each watch is made with the signature characteristics that makes it readily identifiable to the brand, but there is always room for enhancement. The designers of the latest editions of the Royal Oak have implemented some amazing features.

The famous AP (Audemars Piguet) logo is placed just under the marker for 12 o’ clock on the dial. The new application is crafted in white gold which gives the watch greater aesthetics than previous editions. There is also a change in size which renders a slightly larger version that the predecessor. It also features an open case back which is a first for this line. It is available in 37 mm , 30mm and 41mm. All are gorgeous so the best choice amounts to a matter of sizing, comfortable fit and personal preference.

Specifications

The Case and Bracelet features an unmistakable design which is unique to Royal Oaks and it distinguishes them from all others on the market. Whether the stainless steel version or the Rose Gold, the cases is bevelled and polished with polished screws and a vertically brushed top for contrast and a hexagonal bezel which is a signature design in this line. The sapphire crystal is glare proofed. The crown is screw locked and is engraved with the AP logo. Water resistance is high with effectiveness up to fifty meters. The bracelet features a folding clasp which is AP engraved.

One of the most impressive elements of the Royal Oak is the Grand Tapisserie pattern of the dial. The hand are luminescent which makes it easier to read the dial. This component was previously outsourced, but has been manufacture in-house since 2012.

AP Royal Oak movement

The self winding movement is viewable through the sapphire caseback which is open to reveal the inner workings. The self winding movement features 21,600 vibrations an hour. Cotes de Geneve finish the bridges and the bevels are diamond graved with inverted snailing featuring circular graining for the main plate. The manufacturing of this process is accomplished with machines that are hand operated. The mainspring is automatically wound and is aided with a monobloc which is 22karat gold and engraved. When the watch if fully wound, it has a reserve of power of approximately sixty hours. The movement is forty jewels with a total of two hundred and eighty components.

There are no second hands on the Royal Oak Jumbo editions as they feature minutes hours and the date. This model, however, does feature second hands and a function for stop seconds.

Pricing

Depending upon the condition of the particular AP Royal Oak in question, the price tag ranges in between $16,700 and $23,000 in USD. Condition, whether worn or in brand new condition and edition have an effect upon the valuation of the piece. There are a few other considerations which will have an effect on the asking price which includes the materials used in the creation of the watch, e.g. stainless steel versus Rose Gold, the number of watches in the run produced (limited editions are more rare than others) and so forth. At the end of the day, there is a recommended price that should not exceed expert valuation, but each Royal Oak is worth what a collector or enthusiast is willing to pay for it.

Final thoughts

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph may serve as a source of debate for watch enthusiasts who lean towards the Patek Phillipe Nautilus, but dyed in the wool AP Royal Oak fans know the worth of this timeless masterpiece. The value of watches in this line of course, have a monetary assignment which makes them a good investment, especially when the price is reasonable, but there is a greater value for collectors who insist on having the very best with great aesthetics and a history of reliable and excellence in performance.

The AP is truly a one of a kind watch, regardless of the model that is preferred. They are easily distinguished in the world of high end luxury watches so whether you go with a larger dial or the smaller versions, flashing it around will raise notes of envy. The AP has a rich history and its predecessors were no slouches and are still highly prized. The AP Royal Oak has been in production for over four decades and it is still being produced with a larger portion of the components being manufactured in house.

True AP enthusiasts don’t need to argue about the value of their collections because the true value goes much further than the monetization. It also lies in the history, the evolution of the watch up to current and more modern times and the fact that it has held firmly onto its loyal customer and fan base. This is the true definition of being timeless.


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