Stainless steel luxury watches are currently at their peak as collectors all around the world have pushed demand to an all-time high. The origin of this trend and the first luxury watch in steel can be traced back to one person and AP’s Royal Oak. The most famous characteristic of an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak watch is the octagonal shape of the case. Interestingly, one of the most famous personalities in the world of horology, Mr. Gerald Genta, designed the distinctive octagonal shape in 1972 and it has been part of Audemars Piguet’s heritage ever since. Today, this shape is carried by the Swiss brand’s basic male model: the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 15500ST..
Mr. Genta was not only a visionary watchmaker for Audemars Piguet, he was also responsible for the captivating design of the Nautilus. He unfortunately passed away in 2011, but his personality is still ubiquitous across the watch industry. People come and go but legends stay forever.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 15500ST
Let’s get back to the beautiful reference 15500. The watch was introduced at the SIHH 2019 (among other AP novelties), replacing the ref. 15400 that came out back in 2012. Only minor changes were made in comparison to its predecessor but, as with many things, it’s the small details that matter. Back in 2019, the reference was introduced in only 3 dial colors for the stainless-steel version – blue, grey and black. The white dial, which you see on our stunning pictures (by Yves Müller), was introduced in 2020 to complete the product line.
One of the aforementioned small changes is the position of the date window. It moved further from the center; back to where it was for the first Royal Oaks. The lettering on the dial “Automatic” has been removed completely, which leads so a cleaner face of the watch. Another small change is the size of the applied luminous indexes – these are a bit wider now.
The dial however keeps its prominent square pattern, known as a Grand Tapisserie and seen on plenty Royal Oaks variants before.
New caliber 4302
A new movement, caliber 4302, has found its place inside the Royal Oak. Actually, Audemars Piguet also decided to use the caliber in other watches of their “Code 11:59” models. This updated movement is more modern than the one used before for ref. 15400. It is designed totally in-house and now provides a power reserve of 70 hours instead of 60 hours. So far, so good. But the new movement led to an increase of the case thickness. While the latter increased to 10.4 mm (instead of 9.8 mm for ref. 15400), the diameter remained the same at 41 mm. Additionally, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 15500ST keeps its water resistance of 50 meters.
It’s no secret that we at The Collectors Circle are big fans of the Swiss watch manufacturer and most of our clients are too. That is why we always enjoy writing about this very exclusive brand and their rich brand story. Did you know about Audemars Piguet the following?
Audemars Piguet History
Audemars Piguet is one of the few Swiss watch manufacturers that still operates as an independent family business. The timepieces are still created in the birthplace of the brand: Le Brassus (Canton Vaud). There, in 1875, Jules-Louis Audemars and Edward-Auguste Piguet – both in their early 20s – joined forces and opened a joint watchmaking operation – initially in their own living room, which was very common at the time. It was not until six years later that they officially founded the company “Audemars Piguet & Cie., Manufacture d’Horlogerie” and began their successful watch journey with the production of pocket watches. The rest is history.
Royal Oak 15500ST
Retail price is at CHF 21’100 but current market price is around CHF 40’000.
No official limitation but extremely rare due to low production number by AP
Diameter: 41 mm; height: 10.4 mm
When to wear:
There is a reason why the watch is one of the most sough-after luxury watches in world. It perfectly suits any occasion. It is stylish enough to wear with any casual outfit, such as jeans. But at the same time, it is also a great fit to a beautiful business outfit.
What we love about the watch:
Altogether, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 15500ST has great proportions and sits perfectly on the wrist, making it one of my favorite daily beaters. The clean lines of the octagonal case and the new tidy dial let you fly under the radar, yet making a statement among watch nerds.