Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Replica WatchesSeptember 23, 2021
Editor’s Note: This is a translation of one of the first articles that appeared on Japan, our joint venture with Hearst Fujingaho that went live last month in Tokyo. In this story, Masaharu reviews his own Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Ref. 15500. It is, he says, “a commemorative watch that I got when it was decided that I would join .” We will occasionally run articles and videos from our Japanese colleagues, and we welcome them to our team.
The focus of this review is going to be how I feel when wearing the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Replica Watches ref. 15500, but before we can get into that it will be helpful to look back at some of the history of this iconic model and how the latest iteration brings something new to the table. Let’s get right into it.
Interest in luxury sport watches is at an all-time high. If you ask about the origins of the modern luxury sports watch, inevitably you start with the Royal Oak by Audemars Piguet.
The original Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Replica Watches was the Ref. 5402ST, which was designed by the not yet famous watch designer Gérald Genta in 1971 and announced at Baselworld 1972.
The name of this model is taken from the HMS Royal Oak battleships of the Royal Navy, and the distinctive octagonal bezel is said to be inspired by these ships’ portholes. (Genta, however, stated that the shape was actually inspired by a deep-sea diver’s helmet.) The Royal Navy christened four battleships between 1769 and 1914 with this name, which actually has even deeper roots. The original Royal Oak was an oak tree that saved the life of Charles II of England, who hid inside it while eluding capture in 1651 in the midst of the Puritan Revolution. At present, this tree serves as a symbol of Great Britain.
Numerous models of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Replica Watches have been produced over the years, but the models that I will cover here are the original Ref.5402ST, which allows us to explore the model’s origin, and the stainless-steel models produced since the 2000s, specifically Ref.15300ST and Ref.15400ST, which represent the main collection.
The original Royal Oak Ref. 5402ST was manufactured between 1972 and the late 1970s. As part of the first lot, Audemars Piguet produced 1,000 watches without an alphabetic character in the manufacturing number. Then it manufactured four series, labeled A through D, based on slight differences in the specifications, such as with the clasp or the movement.
In the 1970s, Audemars Piguet mainly manufactured small dress watches equipped with complex mechanisms. The Royal Oak was its first sport watch and an extremely innovative watch.
Despite the fact that it is a sport watch that is water-resistant up to 50 meters, it has the thin design of a dress watch; its case is only 7mm thick. Thinness inevitably leads to better comfort, but it is extremely difficult to combine durability and thinness. Genta was able to achieve this by giving the case a two-piece construction and placing a gasket between the bezel and the case.
The design contains several distinctive characteristics as well. One example is that both satin and polished finishes are applied to the integrated bracelet and the stainless-steel parts to provide a three-dimensional appearance.
In these ways, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Replica Watches was a highly innovative watch, but it was not rated very highly at the time. It had a case with a diameter of 39mm, which was outstandingly large at the time, which earned it the nickname “Jumbo.” Another reason for its poor reception was that it cost as much as a gold watch, despite being made of stainless steel.
It took some time before the Royal Oak was accepted by the market. But it went on to influence many different watches and today is a model coveted by many.
The Royal Oak Ref.15300ST was released in 2005. The stainless-steel case has a diameter of 39mm and a thickness of 9.4mm. The most significant characteristic of the design is that a large AP logo is placed at the 12 o’clock position, and the dial plate is available in 3 colors: white, black, and blue.
The case size of 39mm, which is the same as the original 5402ST and current Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra Thin 15202ST39mm, makes it a perfect model for people with thin wrists. This model is also water resistant to up to 50 meters.
The movement in this model is the AP’s Caliber 3120, a low-beat movement of 3Hz (21,600 beats per hour).
The 15400ST was released in 2012 as an update to the 15300ST. There are several differences between the two models, but the main difference is the size of the case. The case for the 15400ST is 41mm, which is 2mm larger than the case diameter of the 15300ST. The case is also slightly thicker, increasing by 0.4mm to 9.8mm.
At 41mm, it has more of a presence, and has proportions that are sportier and more modern. Meanwhile, the same Audemars Piguet Caliber 3120 is used for the movement. The familiar engraved gold rotor can be seen on the caseback.
There were also numerous design changes. The large AP logo at the 12 o’clock position was removed in favor of a double-baton index and a small AP logo. This return to the double-baton index pleased fans of the vintage edition, who considered it an improvement.
Since the movement was not changed, despite the increased size, the date display window moves slightly closer to the center, but the extra space is filled by a stub. This is not something that always shows, but when the case is turned over, there is a flaw in that the movement is small compared to the diameter of the case, giving a slightly unbalanced impression.
The Ref. 15500ST is the latest stainless-steel Royal Oak. Because the CODE 11.59 by Audemars Piguet was a hot topic at SIHH 2019, the new 15500ST did not receive as much attention as it deserved.
There is no significant deviation from the basic Royal Oak design, but there are some major updates and changes.
The most important update for the 15500 has to be the movement. The 15500 is equipped with the Caliber 4302, which is the same self-winding movement in the new CODE 11.59 collection.
This newly developed movement has several improvements on its predecessor, Caliber 3120. That low-beat movement makes 21,600 beats per hour; Caliber 4302 makes 28,800 beats per hour. The power reserve has also been increased from 60 hours to 70 hours.
In addition to its improved specifications, the movement now has a diameter of 32mm, providing better balance with the diameter of the case. Also, the skeletonized 22k-gold rotor makes it easier to appreciate the beauty of the movement through the exhibition back. All parts, including the bridges, are adorned with Geneva stripes, and the bevels are polished, giving this sport watch the beauty of a dress watch.
One of the major design distinctions of the Royal Oak is its dial plate, which has a square pattern called the “Grande Tapisserie.” When you take a close look at the “Grande Tapisserie” pattern, you see that the convex squares have a line pattern and the concave portions have a grain pattern, demonstrating the degree of detail in the design.
The dial plate for the current model is available in three colors: blue, gray, and black. The blue dial plate is only available at AP boutiques.
Let’s take a look at the differences from the 15400. The minute track around the circumference of the 15400 was carved into the Tapisserie pattern, but the minute track on the 15500 is carved into a new flat surface around the circumference. Also, the inscription of “AUTOMATIC” at the 6 o’clock position has been removed, while the “AP” and “AUDEMARS PIGUET” logos at the 12 o’clock position have been expanded slightly. I thought that removing “AUTOMATIC” might throw off the balance and make the dial plate seem lacking, but it actually leaves a good, clean impression.
In addition, the indexes and hands have been renewed. Although the shapes are faithful to the past models, they have been made thicker, resulting in a sporty look due to the greater surface area that the luminous paint is applied to. The indexes have been shortened very slightly, emphasizing the differentiation from the 15202. Furthermore, if you look at the second hand closely, you can see that its counterweight has the same shape as the indexes.
Finally, what I feel is a major update is the position of the date display. Thanks to the new movement, the 15500’s date window is located right next to the minute track on the circumference of the dial plate. Fans of the original 1972 model will say that it has returned to its correct position.
The 15500 has a case diameter of 41mm, the same as the 15400. The integrated bracelet, the octagonal bezel, and the finishing are mostly the same as before, but you will notice differences when you look closely.
While the case diameter is the same, the thickness has increased slightly from 9.80mm to 10.4mm due to the new movement. When I actually wear each watch, the difference of 0.6mm is not very noticeable. Considering the benefits of the new movement, this can be considered a trade-off, or even a positive change in terms of convenience.
A screw-down crown is used again for the 15500, which is still water resistant to 50 meters. The familiar mix of satin and polished finishes is still present, maintaining the beauty of the watch.
The bracelet makes an extremely sharp impression, but the edges are not pointy and do not hurt to the touch. In addition, the multiple parts with satin and polished finishes give an air of three-dimensionality and luxury. In the 1970s, many watches were designed with leather straps. But from the beginning, Genta always designed the case and bracelet together to enhance the overall sense of unity and completion.
Examining the watch closely, we see that this new model does not deviate from the original Royal Oak concept that Gérald Genta envisioned. It is very clear that Royal Oak traditions live on today in the details.
The first thing that you notice when you start to use the Royal Oak is the beauty of the light that reflects off of the polished surfaces. It shines like no other watch that I have ever worn and reflects even the smallest amount of light brilliantly. Therefore, it has a great presence when you are wearing a T-shirt or other pieces of clothing that show the arms. Another factor that contributes to its presence is the 41mm size.
Because of the limited range of movement of the integrated lug and bracelet, this watch is not the most comfortable. Depending on how thick your arm is, it is possible that it is not suitable for you. Thankfully, despite the fact that my arm is relatively small — just 6.3 inches around — I did not feel that the watch was too big, and I became accustomed to it right away.
The appeal of luxury sport watches is their great versatility and ease of use. They go well with casual clothing because they are sport watches, but they also look good in formal situations when you wear a suit. Although the 15500 is slightly thicker than the 15400, it still falls in the category of thin watches and easily slips under shirt sleeves.
Personally, I really like the gray-dial version. The blue watch that is only available at boutiques is popular, as it was expected to be. But I believe that the gray watch is an all-purpose model that goes with any type of clothing because the tone of the dial matches the tone of the stainless-steel case.
Although the satin polish is extremely beautiful, scratches really stand out on this watch. I have been picking up small scratches without noticing, especially on the bezel and the bracelet. It’s interesting: Since I obtained a Royal Oak, I feel that I have become more careful about handling other things as well as I handle my watch. And I should stress that the brilliance of this watch is truly beautiful and is a factor behind the great satisfaction of owning it.