From tradition to modernity
When it was first released in 1972, the Royal Oak created an entire new category of collecting, namely luxury sports watches made from steel. One of the early advertisements from the period reads, "for the elite, the artist craftsmen of Audemars Piguet have created Royal Oak, a tribute to steel, the metal of the twentieth century, more difficult to fashion than fine gold."
The impact of the design was such that a few years later, Patek Philippe recruited the same designer, Gerald Genta, to create their own version of the Royal Oak, which became the Nautilus. Since then, the iconic status of the Royal Oak has only grown, as has its desirability amongst collectors.
In 2012, forty years after the original, Audemars Piguet released the ref. 15400, which took the core of the original design, and modernised it for a contemporary audience. The case diameter was increased - from 39mm to 41mm - and the lines were further dramatised, with sharper bevels, and more pronounced finishing.
A contemporary design
The dial of this Royal Oak 15400ST is executed in a shiny blue colour, which wonderfully complements the stainless steel case and bracelet. The striking blue colour is accentuated by the "Grande Tapisserie" pattern, a more contemporary take on the pattern found on the original design, from 1972. An applied "AP" symbol and "Audemars Piguet" signature stand out at 12 o'clock, whilst the applied hour indexes also integrates a facetted design, reminiscent of the angles of the case. The date disc features a blue background and white text, seamlessly blending into the dial.
The case and integrated bracelet are excellently finished, with angular, bevelled and polished edges throughout. The polished screws, bezel and case edges contrast with the brushed surface of the case and bracelet, creating a distinctive effect on the wrist. At 41mm in diameter, and only 10mm thick, the case proportions are decidedly more contemporary, whilst remaining balanced.
The Royal Oak 15400ST is powered by the Audemars Piguet Caliber 3120, which was envisioned in 1998 and entered serial production in 2003. Formed of 278 components, the 40-jewel movement is rhodium-plated, with Côtes de Genève embellishment. The balance’s frequency is 21,600 semi-oscillations per hour and the power reserve is 60 hours.
This Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 15400ST is accompanied by its outer paper box, inner wooden box, hangtag, instruction manual and Certificate of Origin. The watch was serviced by Audemars Piguet in June 2021, during which case and bracelet were also refinished. It is accompanied by a copy of its servicing paperwork and Timepiece Life & Care card.
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