A Skeletonised Royal Oak
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.
The reference 15305 was first introduced in 2010, in stainless steel, featuring an open-worked version of the manufacture’s in-house calibre 3120. Audemars Piguet has a long tradition of skeletonised watches, which it has successfully integrated within the Royal Oak case on a handful of occasions, from perpetual calendars to tourbillons. The combination of their angular case, with an intricately openworked movement, highlights the manufacture’s craft and skill.
The openworked dial on this reference 15305 makes use of a technique that stretches back to the 1760s, when French watchmaker Jean-Antoine Lepine reworked the plates and bridges of a movement to make his pocket watches considerably thinner and more stylised than other makers of the period, all to showcase the beauty of the movement itself.
Rather than looking overly baroque, the reference 15303 has a distinctively modern, almost industrial look. The openworked section of the dial is alternately brushed and polished, allowing for a compelling interplay with light that falls across the surface. Meanwhile, the slate-grey, “anthracite” dial includes all the traditional indications of a time-only watch, with white-gold, applied hour-markers and Royal Oak hands, with luminescent coating. A minute chapter ring runs around the outermost section of the dial, and also bears the “Audemars Piguet” signature.
The steel case and bracelet are excellently finished, with angular, beveled and polished edges, striking the perfect balance between utilitarian function and elegant design. The polished screws, bezel and bevels fantastically contrast with the brushed surface of the case and bracelet. At 39mm in diameter, and only 9.4mm thick, this Royal Oak ref. 15305 case is a beautiful twist of perspectives and size, further demonstrating a more industrial feel over its traditional contemporaries. The outer case back correctly displays the unique serial number, along with its sequential case number.
This Royal Oak ref. 15305 is powered by the AP caliber 3129, derived from Audemars Piguet’s in-house 3120 calibre movement. The automatic 3129 calibre features 38 working jewels, 239 individual components and ceramic ball bearings to support the full-diameter rotor, manufactured from 22-carat gold and embellished with Audemars Piguet’s monogram.
The glare-proofed sapphire display case-back allows for an uninterrupted view of the movement decoration, which exhibits prominent, polished bevels on the edges of the diamond-cut bridges, with ruthenium plating for its dark grey finish. The skeletonised movement is finished in contemporary style, forming geometric shapes in the open-working. The balance oscillates at a rate of 21,600 vibrations per hour, with a power reserve of 60 hours.
This Audemars Piguet refremce 15305ST comes with a copy of a digital Extract from the Archives, which confirms the watch's case and movement number, as well as production in 2012. The bracelet comes with 17 links, including 3 removable ones.
If sold within the United Kingdom, this Audemars Piguet Royal Oak will be subject to 20% VAT.