This isn’t something to wear with an LBD, but it does have an elegance to it, something that feels reminiscent of the sophisticated thuggery of Daniel Craig’s Bond.

When people talk about icons of the watch world, Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak is always on the list. This is a design classic that was created in 1972 by  Gerald Genta, a Swiss watch designer of incredible pedigree who was also behind such instantly recognisable timepieces as Omega’s Constellation, IWC Ingenieur and Patek Philippe’s Nautilius.

As wrongly and over-used as this phrase is, the Royal Oak, which takes its name from the British Royal Naval battle ships, really was a game changer. For starters, it was a luxury watch made from steel. Audemars Piguet and Genta had taken a massive risk, but one that ultimately paid off. The price of the Royal Oak was equivalent to a watch made in gold but it proved to the luxury watch industry that you could make something precious without using precious metal.

Despite its conviction about its new watch, Audemars Piguet was only hoping to sell 1,000 Royal Oaks and in the first year that figure was looking unachievable. What a difference 32 years make…

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak

At first glance

It is unmistakable. There is the strongbox case, the octagonal bezel, which is inspired by a ship’s cannon scuttles – or porthole to us non-maritime types – that is secured by eight visible hexagonal screws and the Grande Tapisserie motif on the dial. This is a cult watch design at its best.

Up close and personal

This is not a watch for those wanting something ultra feminine. It is a substantial piece with strong lines and a no-nonsense feel to it. That said, if it’s diamonds you’re after, the Royal Oak does come in a fully iced version if you have a few hundred thousand lying around. 

It has a 40-hour power reserve and the sub-dials are a small seconds at six o’clock, 30-minute counter at three and 12-hour indicator at nine.

On the wrist

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak on the wrist

The incredibly complex construction of the bracelet means that this is one watch that won’t also double as an epilator. The white dial gives the watch a less unrelenting look on the wrist than its case dimensions would have you believe – it’s a rather big fellow, clocking in as it does at 41mm.

The overall look is sporty, this isn’t something to wear with an LBD, but it does have an elegance to it, something that feels reminiscent of the sophisticated thuggery of Daniel Craig’s Bond.

See our other ladies luxury watch reviews including the Paneria Luminor Marina and Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date or learn more about our ladies sport watches such as the Breitling Galactic and Oris Aquis Date.

  • Everything from the amazing case design to the Grande Tapisserie dial
  • It’s so cool your other half will end up stealing it
  • No sapphire case back

RRP: £17,700

Available from: The Watch Gallery


Style: Sport Luxe
Colour: Silver
Watch movement: Self-winding automatic in-house calibre 2385
Functions: Hours, Minutes, Seconds, Chronograph
Case shape: Octagonal
Case material: Steel
Case width: 41 mm
Glass: Sapphire Crystal
Dial colour: White Grande Tapisserie
Strap type: Steel
Clasp: Fold over
Water resistance: 50 metres
Manufacturer warranty: 2 Year Guarantee 
Model reference: 26320ST.OO.1220ST.02
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