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A Week On The Wrist The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Ref. 15500ST

Editor’s Note: This is a translation of one of the primary articles that appeared on HODINKEE Japan , our joint endeavor with Hearst Fujingaho that went live last month in Tokyo. In this story, Masaharu audits his own Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Ref. 15500. It is, he says, “a commemorative watch that I got when it was concluded that I would join HODINKEE.” We will occasionally run articles and recordings from our Japanese colleagues, and we welcome them to our team. 

The focal point of this survey will be the manner by which I feel when wearing the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak ref. 15500, yet before we can get into that it will be useful to glance back at a portion of the historical backdrop of this famous model and how the latest iteration brings something new to the table. How about we get directly into it. 

History Of The Royal Oak

Interest in extravagance sport watches is at an all-time high. On the off chance that you ask about the roots of the advanced extravagance sports watch, inevitably you start with the Royal Oak by Audemars Piguet. 

The original Royal Oak was the Ref. 5402ST, which was planned by the not yet famous watch creator Gérald Genta in 1971 and announced at Baselworld 1972.

Early advertisement of the Royal Oak

The name of this model is taken from the HMS Royal Oak battleships of the Royal Navy, and the particular octagonal bezel is said to be propelled by these boats’ openings. (Genta, nonetheless,  stated that the shape was actually propelled by a remote ocean jumper’s cap.) The Royal Navy initiated four battleships somewhere in the range of 1769 and 1914 with this name, which actually has considerably more profound roots. The original Royal Oak was an oak tree that saved the existence of Charles II of England, who covered up inside it while escaping capture in 1651 amidst the Puritan Revolution. As of now, this tree fills in as an image of Great Britain.

Numerous models of the Royal Oak have been created throughout the long term, however the models that I will cover here are the original Ref.5402ST, which allows us to investigate the model’s inception, and the stainless-steel models delivered since the 2000s, specifically Ref.15300ST and Ref.15400ST, which address the main collection.

Let’s take a gander at a straightforward timeline.

1972 – Royal Oak Ref. 5402ST

The original Royal Oak Ref. 5402ST was manufactured among 1972 and the late 1970s. As part of the principal parcel, Audemars Piguet created 1,000 watches without an alphabetic character in the manufacturing number. At that point it manufactured four series, labeled A through D, based on slight contrasts in the specifications, for example, with the clasp or the movement.

In the 1970s, Audemars Piguet mainly manufactured small dress watches furnished with complex mechanisms. The Royal Oak was its first game watch and an incredibly innovative watch.

Despite the fact that it is a game watch that is water-resistant up to 50 meters, it has the slender plan of a dress watch; its case is just 7mm thick. Slenderness inevitably leads to all the more likely comfort, however it is incredibly hard to combine durability and slimness. Genta was able to achieve this by giving the case a two-piece development and placing a gasket between the bezel and the case.

The configuration contains several particular characteristics as well. One example is that both satin and cleaned completes are applied to the integrated bracelet and the stainless-steel parts to give a three-dimensional appearance.

In these ways, the Royal Oak was an exceptionally innovative watch, yet it was not rated profoundly at the time. It had a case with a diameter of 39mm, which was outstandingly large at the time, which earned it the nickname “Enormous.” Another reason for its helpless gathering was that it cost as much as a gold watch, regardless of being made of stainless steel.

It took some time before the Royal Oak was accepted by the market. Be that as it may, it proceeded to impact many various watches and today is a model pined for by many.

2005 – Royal Oak Ref. 15300ST

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 main characteristic of the plan is that a large AP logo is placed at the 12 o’clock position, and the dial plate is available in 3 tones: white, black, and blue.

The case size of 39mm, which is the same as the original 5402ST and current Royal Oak “Enormous” Extra Thin 15202ST39mm, makes it an ideal model for individuals with slender wrists. This model is also water resistant to up to 50 meters.

The development in this model is the AP’s Caliber 3120, a low-beat development of 3Hz (21,600 beats for every hour).

2012 – Royal Oak Ref. 15400ST

The 15400ST was released in 2012 as an update to the 15300ST. There are several contrasts between the two models, yet the main distinction 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 marginally thicker, increasing by 0.4mm to 9.8mm.

At 41mm, it has to a greater extent a presence, and has extents that are sportier and more current. Meanwhile, the same Audemars Piguet Caliber 3120 is utilized for the development. The familiar engraved gold rotor can be seen on the caseback.

There were also various plan changes. The large AP logo at the 12 o’clock position was taken out in favor of a twofold baton list and a small AP logo. This re-visitation of the twofold baton file pleased fans of the vintage release, who thought of it as an improvement.

Since the development was not changed, regardless of the increased size, the date display window draws somewhat nearer to the middle, however the extra space is filled by a stub. This isn’t something that always shows, however when the case is turned over, there is a flaw in that the development is small compared to the diameter of the case, giving a somewhat unbalanced impression.

That’s the set of experiences. Presently, we should take a glance at the most up to date model, Ref. 15500.

The Royal Oak Ref. 15500ST

The Ref. 15500ST is the latest stainless-steel Royal Oak. Because the CODE 11.59 by Audemars Piguet was an interesting issue at SIHH 2019, the new 15500ST didn’t get as much attention as it deserved. 

There is no significant deviation from the basic Royal Oak plan, yet there are some major updates and changes.


The most important update for the 15500 has to be the development. The 15500 is furnished with the Caliber 4302, which is simply the same twisting development in the new CODE 11.59 collection.

This recently created development has several enhancements for its archetype, Caliber 3120. That low-beat development makes 21,600 beats each hour; Caliber 4302 makes 28,800 beats each hour. The force save has also been increased from 60 hours to 70 hours.

In addition to its improved specifications, the development currently has a diameter of 32mm, furnishing better balance with the diameter of the case. Also, the skeletonized 22k-gold rotor makes it easier to appreciate the beauty of the development through the display back. All parts, including the extensions, are adorned with Geneva stripes, and the slants are cleaned, giving this game watch the beauty of a dress watch.


One of the major plan differentiations of the Royal Oak is its dial plate, which has a square pattern called the “Grande Tapisserie.” When you take a nearby glance at the “Grande Tapisserie” pattern, you see that the arched squares have a line pattern and the concave bits have a grain pattern, demonstrating the level of detail in the design.

The dial plate for the current model is available in three tones: blue, gray, and black. The blue dial plate is just available at AP boutiques.

Let’s take a glance at the distinctions from the 15400. The moment track around the perimeter of the 15400 was carved into the Tapisserie pattern, however the moment track on the 15500 is carved into another flat surface around the boundary. Also, the engraving of “AUTOMATIC” at the 6 o’clock position has been eliminated, while the “AP” and “AUDEMARS PIGUET” logos at the 12 o’clock position have been expanded marginally. I felt that eliminating “AUTOMATIC” may lose the balance and make the dial plate appear to be lacking, yet it actually leaves a decent, clean impression.

In addition, the files and hands have been reestablished. Although the shapes are faithful to the past models, they have been made thicker, bringing about an energetic look because of the greater surface area that the glowing paint is applied to. The lists have been abbreviated marginally, emphasizing the differentiation from the 15202. Besides, in the event that you take a gander at the second hand intently, you can see that its stabilizer has the same shape as the indexes.

Finally, what I feel is a major update is the situation of the date display. Thanks to the new development, the 15500’s date window is located right close to the moment track on the circuit of the dial plate. Fans of the original 1972 model will say that it has gotten back to its right position.

Case And Bracelet

The 15500 has a case diameter of 41mm, the same as the 15400. The integrated bracelet, the octagonal bezel, and the completing are for the most part the same as in the past, however you will see contrasts when you look closely.

While the case diameter is the same, the thickness has increased marginally from 9.80mm to 10.4mm because of the new development. At the point when I actually wear each watch, the distinction of 0.6mm isn’t entirely noticeable. Thinking about the advantages of the new development, this can be viewed as a trade-off, or even a positive change regarding convenience.

A screw-down crown is utilized again for the 15500, which is as yet water resistant to 50 meters. The familiar blend of satin and cleaned completes is as yet present, maintaining the beauty of the watch.

The bracelet makes an incredibly sharp impression, however the edges are not sharp and don’t damage to the touch. In addition, the different parts with satin and cleaned completes give an air of three-dimensionality and extravagance. During the 1970s, many watches were planned with leather straps. In any case, all along, Genta always planned the case and bracelet together to enhance the overall feeling of solidarity and completion.

Examining  the watch intently, we see that this new model doesn’t deviate from the original Royal Oak idea that Gérald Genta imagined. It is extremely clear that Royal Oak traditions live on today in the details.

On The Wrist

The first thing that you notice when you start to utilize the Royal Oak is the beauty of the light that reflects off of the cleaned surfaces. It sparkles like no other watch that I have at any point worn and reflects even the smallest amount of light brilliantly. Consequently, it has a great presence when you are wearing a T-shirt or different garments that show the arms. Another factor that adds to its quality is the 41mm size.

Because of the restricted range of development of the integrated haul and bracelet, this watch isn’t the most comfortable. Contingent upon how thick your arm is, it is conceivable that it isn’t suitable for you. Thankfully, in spite of the fact that my arm is relatively small – simply 6.3 crawls around – I didn’t feel that the watch was too huge, and I became accustomed to it right away.

The appeal of extravagance sport watches is their great versatility and ease of utilization. They work out positively for casual garments because they are sport watches, however they also look great in formal situations when you wear a suit. Although the 15500 is somewhat thicker than the 15400, it actually falls in the category of slight watches and easily sneaks by shirt sleeves.

Personally, I really like the gray-dial rendition. The blue watch that is just available at stores is popular, as it was relied upon to be. Yet, I accept that the gray watch is an all-reason model that goes with any sort of garments because the tone of the dial matches the tone of the stainless-steel case.

Although the satin clean is amazingly beautiful, scratches really stand out on this watch. I have been getting small scratches without seeing, especially on the bezel and the bracelet. It’s fascinating: Since I obtained a Royal Oak, I feel that I have become more careful about handling different things as well as I handle my watch. And I should pressure that the brilliance of this watch is really beautiful and is a factor behind the great satisfaction of possessing it.

The Competition

The 15500 expenses $19,200. At this value, various watches can be viewed as competitors, yet I will compare it with other extravagance sport watches that are water-resistant and have integrated stainless-steel bracelets.

Chopard Alpine Eagle

The Alpine Eagle is Chopard’s most up to date extravagance sport watch. It is based on a model called the St. Moritz from 1980. This watch is made of a stainless steel called Lucent Steel A223, with high durability and reflectivity, that was created for this watch over a time of four years. This watch is awesome on the off chance that you focus on avoiding scratches.

The development is furnished with the Chopard 01.01-C chronometer, which makes 28,800 beats each hour, has a force save of 60 hours, and is COSC (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres) guaranteed. It is water resistant up to 100 meters.

Like the Royal Oak’s “Grande Tapisserie,” the dial of this watch is particular, and the fact that you can appreciate a plan that will probably be handed down is another valid statement. It is also worth referencing that this watch is more affordable.

$12,900; chopard.com

Vacheron Constantin Overseas 4500V

The Overseas by Vacheron Constantin plays an important part in the field of extravagance sport watches. The development is outfitted with the Caliber 5100 that has obtained the Geneva Seal. It makes 28,800 beats each hour, has a force hold of 60 hours, and is water resistant up to 150 meters. Compared to the Royal Oak, it is sturdier and gives a more current impression.

Another aspect of this watch is that it boasts an interchangeable framework wherein the steel bracelet that is attached when you purchase the watch can easily be replaced with an elastic strap or a leather strap, without you requiring any instruments. The fact that a solitary watch can be utilized in various situations can be viewed as a great benefit.

$18,900; vacheron-constantin.com

Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref.5711

To be straightforward, I contemplated whether I ought to remember this watch for this rundown, since the Nautilus is nearly difficult to obtain, as all of you know. In any case, it is a model that cannot be avoided with regard to a conversation of extravagance sport watches.

The Nautilus was planned by Gérald Genta following the Royal Oak. Although the bracelet is integrated, it is very smooth and more comfortable compared to the Royal Oak. In addition, the plan and finish of the Nautilus gives a more held, relaxed impression compared to the Royal Oak. On the off chance that you lean toward dressy over energetic, this watch may be for you. On the off chance that you can get one.

$30,620; patek.com

Final Thoughts

In summary, the most current Royal Oak 15500 acquires the Royal Oak’s DNA and advantages from certain updates. The development has been improved as far as its appearance and functionality from numerous points of view, and the adjustments to the components of its dial give it a sportier impression overall. I appreciate the 41mm size and don’t wind up wishing this was the ref. 15202 Extra-Thin at all. This is the mainline, center Royal Oak – and for great reason.

However, you should be careful. Regardless of whether you already have an assortment of several magnificent watches, you will most likely be attracted by the brilliance of this watch to reach for it each day. I know because this has happened to me.

Please visit Audemars Piguet online for more. 

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