While we get access to some pretty special cars, bottles of whisky, and watches here at Man of Many, it’s not every day you get to spend a few hours up close and personal with some of the rarest and most sought-after new models from Audemars Piguet. And it’s a particularly special occasion when the vast majority of those watches are Royal Oak references.
Not only are some of these pieces worth upwards of AUD$100,000, but they represent the pinnacle of what it means to be very successful. So what’s it like to wear these watches? Do you feel like you made it? If you’re fortunate enough to buy one, should you? We put them on the wrist to find out.
Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-thin
First off the rank is the Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-thin ref. 16202 with the new blue grained dial. Powered by the Calibre 7121 movement – introduced back in January 2022 for the 50th anniversary of the Royal Oak – it’s one of the most perfectly executed pieces we’ve ever had the pleasure of putting on the wrist.
It starts with the 39mm white gold case. Comfortable, perfectly balanced, and matched with a hardly believable 8.1mm thickness. In the modern tie-less era of business casual, it’s the ultimate timepiece. Sliding under a white business shirt during the week, a linen shirt on the weekend, or paired with a polo shirt on the tennis court, we could see ourselves wearing this piece every day.
Beyond the integrated links on the white gold bracelet, the blue grained dial is the standout. With details that hark back to 1992 and the 20th anniversary of the Royal Oak (reference 14802), it’s best seen in dimmer natural light. The way in which even the smallest amounts of light reflects off the dial is hard to explain. We chose to photograph these in darker conditions to test the theory, and you’ll notice that you can still make out the details in the background of the date window. Individual grains shine like stars and with the addition of a white gold case and bracelet, the contrast adds the right amount of modernity to this timeless piece.
Price: 70 100 CHF
Reference no.: 16202BC.OO.1240BC.02
Movement: Self-winding calibre 7121
Case diameter: 39.00 mm
Case thickness: 8.1 mm
Case material: 18-carat white gold case, glare-proofed sapphire crystal and case back.
Water resistance: Up to 50m
Royal Oak Selfwinding
You can probably guess the show-stopper Royal Oak Selfwinding ref. 15550 with 18-carat Yellow Gold and turquoise dial was a favourite of ours. With no interest in using ceramic or painted precious metals to achieve the pop in colour, the dial is real Mexican turquoise stone. Cut to form a slender disc measuring just 0.75mm, the turquoise has then been ground, sandblasted and polished before being integrated into a gilded brass outer casing. Due to the natural composition of the stone, each piece is unique.
It’s also worth mentioning that this is the first 37 mm Royal Oak variation in yellow gold to release since 2018. We absolutely love the alternating satin-brushed and polished hand finishes on the gold case, bezel and integrated bracelet. Most of all, the technical prowess behind the Audemars Piguet signature that’s been affixed to the dial with tiny feet specially designed to fit the thickness of the stone
In terms of movement, the watch features the manufacture calibre 5900, which first appeared in 2022. You’ll notice the 22-carat pink gold oscillating weight peeking through the sapphire crystal display caseback. Don’t think for a second that AP has simply gone with the trends, it’s clear that photos don’t do the watch justice.
Price: 55 000 CHF
Reference no.: 15550BA.OO. 1356BA.01
Movement: Self-winding Calibre 5900
Case diameter: 37.00 mm
Case thickness: 8.9 mm
Case material: Case in 18-carat yellow gold, glare-proofed sapphire crystal and case back.
Water resistance: Up to 50m
Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph
The final Royal Oak reference we studied was the Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph 26238CE that introduces ceramic to the line-up for the first time ever on it’s 30th anniversary. Emphasising the sporty nature of the watch, the bracelet, pushers, and screw-locked crown are all finished in the material, which helps bring out the colour of the white gold bezel screws.
We’re not going to pretend that the watch doesn’t look chunkier on the wrist, but the ceramic material is lightweight, functional, and proves the technical prowess of the brand.
You’d expect the pitch black Petite Tapisserie pattern dial to be a tough read, however, the brand has played with contrasting white counters, hands, and Arabic numerals. The same goes for the circular date window (at 3 o’clock) and the three vertically arranged counters below the large luminescent hour and minute hands, small seconds at 6 o’clock, chronograph minutes at 9 o’clock and chronograph hours at 12 o’clock. The colour combination is legible and visually shrinks the large 42mm case size.
Finally, we have to mention the meticulous finishing process that’s been applied to the ceramic. Partly made of zirconium oxide powder that’s combined with a specific binder, each component is pre-polished and pre-satin finished before lines, angles and bezels are hand finished with the staple polished and satin-brushed contrast. For such a technical, sporty watch, it wears very casually.
Price: 75 400 CHF
Reference no.: 26238CE.OO.1300CE.01
Movement: Self-winding Calibre 4404
Case diameter: 42.00 mm
Case thickness: 15.3 mm
Case material: Case, push-pieces, push-piece guards and screw-locked crown in black ceramic, glare-proofed sapphire crystal and titanium sapphire case back.
Water resistance: Up to 100m
2023 Audemars Piguet Royal Oak On Wrist Photos
That’s it for this edition of ‘On Wrist’ but look for a full lookbook of the new Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet collection in an upcoming edition of ‘On Wrist’. In the meantime, check out the gallery of images from our shoot below.
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