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Audemars Piguet ROYAL OAK OFFSHORE QEII CUP Replica watch REF: 26474TI.OO.1000TI.01 • Author: yoyo, Fri Apr 22, 2022 9:00 am

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Royal Oak series 50 years of innovation

On April 15, 1972, watch designer Gérald Genta designed the first Royal Oak watch for Audemars Piguet, which caused a sensation as soon as it came out. The oversized case is crafted from stainless steel and hand-finished, with an octagonal bezel secured by exposed hexagonal screws, a stylish integrated stainless steel strap and an ultra-thin self-winding movement. Inspired by the changes in culture and industry in the 1970s, this watch born during the quartz crisis keenly grasped the changes in lifestyle at that time, and skillfully combined sports style design with fine watchmaking craftsmanship, ushering in a new era of fine watchmaking. .

In the 50 years since its inception, the Royal Oak Royal Oak series has continuously introduced new size designs, materials, styles and movements. cultural symbols. Let us trace the history of this legend together.

Controversial beginnings of the 1970s

In 1970, three agents had a keen insight into the new needs of customers and proposed Audemars Piguet to respond to this trend. Georges Golay, then president of Audemars Piguet, entrusted this extremely challenging task to Gérald Genta, who has a background in jewelry creation and extensive watch design experience, and invited him to design a watch. A never-before-seen stainless steel sports watch. After receiving the commission, Gérald Genta completed the design sketches of the Royal Oak Royal Oak watch overnight. His designs were inspired by many, including a diving helmet from his childhood memories. The pieces designed by Gérald Genta continue the subversive watch design style of Audemars Piguet in the 1930s, while also echoing the cultural trends that swept the fields of contemporary art, design, architecture and music from the 1960s to the 1970s.

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After the design was finalized, Audemars Piguet cooperated with the best watchmaking suppliers and master craftsmen in the industry, and Stern Frères, a well-known dial supplier in Geneva, created the "Petite Tapisserie" small lattice machine-engraved dial for the watch, and the case supply The stainless steel case is made by Favre & Perret, and the integrated stainless steel strap is made by strap supplier Gay Frères. However, due to the extremely complex production process of the watch, it was difficult to make it smoothly with hard stainless steel. In the end, the first prototype model had to be made of platinum with relatively low hardness. The stainless steel watch that was successfully made later is composed of 154 parts, including 20 links of decreasing width, which is one of the most complex stainless steel straps in the history of watchmaking. In addition, due to the extremely delicate process of alternating satin grinding and polishing of the stainless steel case and strap, the final finishing process can only be completed in the Audemars Piguet watchmaking workshop.

“In 1970, the Royal Oak watch came out on the advice of an agent. At that time, most people believed that a luxury timepiece could only be called a luxury timepiece if it was made of high-value precious metals. But our agent disagreed, and I agree This idea is outdated. They suggested a stainless steel watch that was more in line with the current lifestyle. To do this, we created a watch that is both sporty and stylish, suitable for a solemn dinner occasion or It is equally suitable for a variety of other occasions." - Georges Golay, 1982 interview transcript

In April 1972, the most expensive stainless-steel watch on the market at the time was unveiled at the Baselworld fair and immediately sparked a heated debate. Questions from customers and the challenges of producing and delivering the first finished products presented this watch with various challenges from its inception. Despite this, more than 490 pieces of this watch were sold in the first year, setting a single-year sales record for Audemars Piguet, and also opened the prelude to the long-lasting Royal Oak series.

For the next four years, Audemars Piguet has been cautiously focusing on the production of this single model, the now-famous Ref. 5402ST. Until 1976, Jacqueline Dimier designed the first Royal Oak ladies watch (Ref. 8638ST) with a diameter of 29 mm for Audemars Piguet. As early as 1977, these two watches have been launched in gold, white gold and stainless steel and gold two-tone models, so far the Royal Oak Royal Oak series has taken shape. In the same year, Audemars Piguet also launched the Royal Oak Ref. 4100 with a diameter of 35 mm, which became a new benchmark for men's watches. At this time, the Royal Oak Royal Oak series is no longer limited to the niche market, and is about to usher in a brilliant future.

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1984: Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Ref. 25654SA. In 1984, the stainless steel case (Ref. 25654ST) was used at the beginning, and then the two-tone version combining stainless steel and 18K yellow gold (Ref. 25654SA) was launched.
In the 1980s, the Royal Oak Royal Oak collection showed unimaginable diversity.

Audemars Piguet did not blindly follow the design of the Ref. 5402ST, but explored new aesthetic boundaries with new dimensions and materials. In addition to the white gold, yellow gold and two-tone gold and stainless steel models, the Royal Oak Royal Oak series immediately launched platinum and rose gold models. Most of these precious metal models are paired with a gem-set dial or bezel.


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In addition, Audemars Piguet has also made a new attempt on the movement. In 1980, under the trend of the times, the quartz movement was first used in the Royal Oak Royal Oak series watch. Initially, Audemars Piguet was reluctant to introduce this technology into the Royal Oak Royal Oak series. However, in 1978, the first watch (Ref. 6005) of the "Audemars Piguet Quartz Series", which has a long history with it, came out, and its unconventional design matched the subversive quartz technology. This watch borrows some of the aesthetic elements of the Royal Oak collection, including the geometric shape of the case and the integrated strap (both with alternating satin-finished and polished bevels), but the bezel is neither octagonal nor Eight exposed hex screws not embellished. Throughout the 1980s, the Royal Oak Royal Oak series launched at least 59 quartz models, equipped with a total of 6 different movements, ranging from 26 to 36 mm in diameter.

While boldly introducing quartz technology, this watch series has also greatly promoted the revival of traditional complex horological functions. In 1983, the Royal Oak Royal Oak series launched the first watch with day and date display (Ref. 5572SA), the case diameter was 36 mm, and there were four styles: stainless steel, yellow gold, white gold and stainless steel and yellow gold. Two-tone watch. The following year, more calendar functions were added to it, and the first perpetual calendar watch (Ref. 5554ST) was launched, equipped with the Calibre 2120/2800 movement launched by Audemars Piguet in the Ref. 5548 watch in 1978. The world's thinnest self-winding perpetual calendar movement with a central automatic rotor at the time. In 1986, the Royal Oak Royal Oak series added a new work, launched the hollow perpetual calendar model (Ref. 25636BA). This 18K yellow gold watch is the first time in the series to use a hollow design, and it is also the first time that it is equipped with a sapphire crystal case back, so that the unparalleled mechanical structure inside can be seen at a glance. These early perpetual calendar models were not only favored by fans of traditional fine watchmaking, but also opened a new chapter in the Royal Oak series.

1990s Pushing the Limits

1997: The first Royal Oak Royal Oak Tourbillon watch Ref. 25831OR, limited to 5 pieces, the crown is located on the bottom of the case, this design pays tribute to the world's first self-winding tourbillon launched by Audemars Piguet in 1986 Watches (the crown is on the bottom of the case instead of the traditional case side)
Into the 1990s, the Royal Oak Royal Oak series further introduced different styles, sizes and movements, constantly establishing new technological and design monuments.

In 1992, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the birth of the Royal Oak Royal Oak series, Audemars Piguet made more eclectic attempts, setting the tone for the development of this series within 10 years. To commemorate the 39 mm diameter "Jumbo" watch that came out in 1972, the series debuted a limited edition model (Ref. 14802) with a sapphire crystal case back. The same year also saw the launch of the first model with a leather strap (Ref. 14800), commissioned by the brand to the Swiss independent watch designer Jörg Hysek. This watch is 36 mm in diameter and has a hollowed-out central part of the middle of the case, which is secured to the case by a movable pivot rod. As a maverick member of the Royal Oak Royal Oak series, this model was subsequently given a more free and uninhibited interpretation, launching nearly 20 styles in different materials and dial designs.

In 1993, the Royal Oak Royal Oak series broke the limit from a new angle and launched the Royal Oak Offshore Royal Oak Offshore watch, which fully reflected the lifestyle of the 1990s that pursued excellence and dared to challenge the limits. The watch, designed by Emmanuel Gueit, gave this series a powerful reinterpretation, with a case size of an impressive 42 mm, which quickly won the favor of the younger generation. They call it the "Beast" and see it as the ideal companion for an adventurous lifestyle. This new interpretation of the Royal Oak collection is in a class of its own, giving birth to a separate collection.

In the past ten years, the Royal Oak Royal Oak series men's watches have constantly challenged the limits in design, showing eclectic imagination, and women's watches have also burst into vigorous creativity. In the early 1990s, the Royal Oak Royal Oak series launched the first skeletonized women's watches, equipped with the historic Calibre 2003SQ ultra-thin movement, only 1.64 mm thick. Gem watches have also gradually emerged, and the Royal Oak Royal Oak High Jewelry Skeleton Watch (Ref. 15073), which came out in 1998, pushed this trend to its peak. The case, strap and hands of this 30mm watch are made of 18K white gold, paved with 446 brilliant-cut diamonds and emerald hour markers, with a total gem weight of approximately 4.64 carats. The traditional essence of high jewelry and high watchmaking is subtly blended with contemporary design, opening a magnificent chapter for a new generation of high jewelry timepieces in the early 21st century. In 1997, the Royal Oak Women's Watch pushed its limits again with the launch of the most slender watch in the history of the collection, the Royal Oak Mini (Ref. 67075). Measuring just 20mm, this yellow gold watch with a quartz movement fits perfectly on a woman's slender wrist.

During this period, the complications of Audemars Piguet’s specialty also shined in the Royal Oak collection. In 1997, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the birth of the Royal Oak Royal Oak series, the first tourbillon watch (Ref. 25831) came out, with a limited edition of 25 stainless steel models, and five rose gold, platinum and yellow gold models. pieces. Audemars Piguet’s second-generation tourbillon movement, Calibre 2875, is housed in the 40 mm-diameter case, which can be glimpsed through the unique octagonal tourbillon cage at 6 o’clock. The crown of the watch is located on the bottom of the watch, a design that pays tribute to the world’s first self-winding tourbillon watch launched by Audemars Piguet in 1986 (the crown is located on the bottom of the case, rather than the traditional case side). In 1997, the Royal Oak Royal Oak series also released the first chronograph with a diameter of 39 mm (Ref. 25860), and the first grand complication watch with minute repeater, perpetual calendar and split-seconds chronograph (Royal). Oak Grande Complication), the movement contains 648 parts, and the huge white gold case of 44 mm in diameter contrasts sharply with the mini-watches launched in the same year of the series.

From 1972 to 1999, Audemars Piguet has developed more than 300 Royal Oak Royal Oak series watches, of which nearly 200 came out in the creative 1990s.

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