Throwback Thursday: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak

Screen shot 2013-08-29 at 9.19.53 AMAt a time when watches, especially Swiss watches, were invariably round, mostly gold and no more than 34mm wide, Audemars Piguet shocked the watchmaking establishment when it launched the Royal Oak in 1972. Oddly named in honor of the British Royal Navy’s line of ships, the unconventional Royal Oak was the world’s first steel luxury sports watch, with a 38.7mm hexagon-shaped case and eight hexagon screws, a tapisserie-patterned dial and deeply beveled edges. The present collection still bears these characteristics, with some tweaks – the tapisserie dial is now the “mega tapisserie” dial, and there have been many variations on materials (including gold) and innovations in movement technology. It still has the power to surprise us.

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