Since it arrived in the 1970s, Royal Oak has left its mark in the annals of luxury watchmaking. He was the creator of the first exclusive steel sports watch on the market; Gérald Genta followed in the wake of the unconventional wristwatch designs launched by Audemars Piguet in the 1930s, resonating with the cultural transformation experienced throughout the time in disciplines such as contemporary art, design, architecture, and music. A controversial start, because of the scepticism of customers and the difficulty after its manufacture made its first steps a complicated path.

In ten years Royal Oak ushered in an era of reinvention by exploring new aesthetic possibilities with new sizes and materials. It launched itself to follow market demand by integrating the arrival of quartz mechanisms into its lines, a new possibility in terms of the movements of precise machines; as well as introducing the first Royal Oak to be equipped with the thinnest central rotor automatic perpetual calendar movement of the time.

On the occasion of its 20th anniversary, the Royal Oak took a more radical path that would anticipate the following years, launching the first Royal Oak on a leather strap: the controversial 36mm Model 14800, developed outside the Manufacture by independent Swiss designer Jörg Hysek. In the 1990s, the first skeleton watches for women debuted with the historic ultra-thin 2003SQ calibre, just 1.64 mm thick. In addition, the 1990s consolidated the presence of complications in the collection, also creating the first Royal Oak Grand Complication fitted with a minute repeater, perpetual calendar, and split-seconds chronograph.

At the arrival of the third millennium, a new trend made its way into the history of “Jumbo” watches, Royal Oak reinterpreted the aesthetic codes with more freedom, with new colours for the dial and the return of the sapphire background, resulting in the model 15202, which thanks to its combination of tradition and modernity, this version enjoyed the popularity of yesteryear and became one of the most coveted Royal Oak models.

The 2010s witnessed what the new millennium brought to the workshop, a blend of refined aesthetics and technical mastery was introduced with the arrival of the 2016 Royal Oak Skeleton Double Balance. Conceived by Audemars Piguet watchmakers, the patented mechanism that presents improves the accuracy and stability of the watch. Thanks to the fact that it incorporates two flywheels and two spiral springs assembled on the same axis, the system oscillates in perfect synchrony.

Audemars Piguet inaugurated the 50th anniversary of the Royal Oak with a new generation Royal Oak “Jumbo” Slimline 39mm Reference 16202 model, equipped with a new slimline automatic movement (7121 calibres) designed to fit perfectly in the case of the Royal Oak. Royal Oak “Jumbo” 8.1mm. Over the years, the Royal Oak has spawned an incredibly complete collection, with new sizes, materials, styles, and movements. It is this capacity for reinvention without leaving behind the characteristic Royal Oak aesthetic that has allowed this brand to establish itself as a cultural icon inside and outside the field of watchmaking.

Photos: courtesy.

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