Audemars Piguet is the oldest family owned and operated watch company located in Le Brassus in the Vallee De Joux, Switzerland. It has been in existence since 1875 making fine hand crafted timepieces producing under 30,000 pieces per year for the worldwide market.
Audemars Piguet did something revolutionary back in the 1970’s they created the world’s first “luxury sports watch” made in stainless steel and selling for what the price of a gold watch would go for back then. This watch was conceived by the late watch designer Gerald Genta and was introduced as the Royal Oak.
Since the inception of the Royal Oak it has become a cult icon and has earned its place on the wrists of serious watch collectors the world over. It belongs to the “holy trinity” of watch-making just behind the likes of Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin making it one of the top 3 watch companies in the world.
The watch worn on my wrist above is priced at $21,500 in stainless steel. That is a hard number to swallow considering that the watch is made out of stainless steel. The reason for the high price tag you ask? Well one has to understand that almost 40% of the value of the watch is due to the hands on labour intensive dial making, polishing, and movement finishing that goes into creating the Royal Oak. The watch case alone has three different types of finishing with a fine brushed, matte, and mirrored polish which is all done by hand!
The bracelet is a work of art and feels great on the wrist with a nice heft and overall high-end feel to it. The bracelet is brushed and polished between the links and tapers perfectly from the sides of the 41mm case and features a double deployant clasp as added security to ensure the watch won’t easily fall off the wrist.
Collectors and watch enthusiasts alike will recognize this watch from afar due to its distinct hexagon shaped bezel and beautiful engine-turned Grand Tapisserie dial. The Royal Oak is sought after, and not a watch that is mass-produced so acquiring this piece from an authorized retailer could mean limited availability and a lead time of several months to get your hands on one.
Bottom line: If you are in the market for a high-end luxury sports watch with a unique design this is an excellent piece to consider.