For 2012, Audemars Piguet has released a line of new novelties for their Royal Oak collection. Eight new Royal Oaks have been revealed, one for each screw and side of the iconic octagonal bezel I presume. All this is to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Royal Oak, which was first released in 1972. The Royal Oak became a landmark for both Audemars as a watch maker and the watch industry with its success. When it was released, it was a huge risk in the company’s long history. It was the first luxury sports watch made of steel, in a time where gold was the obvious standard.
Named after the wood used for old British warships and shaped like the portholes found on them, the Royal Oak featured a simple and bold design. Steel was the choice of metal for a sports watch at the time, but for a luxury watchmaker like Audemars Piguet, they treated it like gold. They used high-end finishing touches to the design normally seen only one precious metal cases, with alternating polished and satin-brushed surfaces. They also included gold inside the watch, with the strong steel watch protecting its valuable cargo.
The industry and many customers were skeptical at first about the simple design and they asked why anyone would pay gold watch prices for a steel watch? This watches failure could have led to the failure of Audemars as a whole, but the confidence in their work showed in the confident design of the Royal Oak. It’s has since been a proud symbol of Audemars Piguet and an icon in the world of haute horology. Following the first steel model, precious metals were also applied to the sports watch. Since, Audemars has gone far beyond the advantages of steel and has experimented and specialized in new ultra-hard and ultra-light materials, such as titanium, aluminum, ceramics and forged carbon.
This celebration of 40 years of the Royal Oak is limited to only 40 pieces. The traditional-sized 39mm case is made of platinum instead of steel, along with white gold screws and markers. The skeletonized movement is given a galvanic anthracite treatment, giving it a gray coloring.
This Royal Oak stands as one of the thinnest tourbillon watches available, while still following traditional Royal Oak styling. It is comes in a 41mm case size, in either steel or pink gold.
This is a true tribute to the original Royal Oak, mimicking closely the details of the 1972 model. It comes in the traditional steel 39mm case, with the original, smaller “tapisserie” motif and color for the dial, along with the placement of the name and AP initials.
This version of the Extra-Thin Tourbillon takes away the trademark “tapisserie” dial for an galvanic anthracite-treated skeletal dial. It is offered in a 41mm platinum case.
The new Royal Oak Chronograph takes a step forward this year, unlike the other new tribute models. It goes from the traditional 39m case to a 41mm case, in steel or pink gold. The black dial features their “Grande Tapisserie” motif.
This self-winding Royal Oak uses the contemporary s41mm case size in either steel or pink gold, with a choice of dial colors with their “Grande Tapisserie” motif.
This diamond version comes in a new 37mm pink gold case for the ladies. 40 brilliant-cut diamonds fill the bezel around the signature 8 screws, with a silvered “Grande Tapisserie” dial.
This revisit to the ladies Royal Oak Quartz retains its petite 33mm case size. You’ll find 40 brilliant-cut diamonds around the bezel with a silvered “grande Tapisserie” dial. Available in steel or pink gold.
If you’re one of the many Royal Oak fans I’m sure you enjoyed the preview of the 40th year of the iconic luxury sports watch. And don’t forget you can click on the watch names to view the Luxury Bazaar listing!
For our full selection of Royal Oak watches, click here.