Robert-Jan Broer, 33 years old and long time collector and admirer of fine timepieces. Although not professionally occupied in the watch industry, I know my way around pretty well and get things done for my dedicated blog (FratelloWatches) about fine watches.
My all time favorite watches are those designed by Gérald Genta in the 1970s. Why? Not because every self respected playboy was wearing one of these time pieces when relaxing in St Tropez or Monaco in those days, but because they reflected something new… something unheard of… a luxury stainless steel wrist watch for the price of a gold Patek Philippe Calatrava. Although only made in a limited number at first, demand soon outstripped supply.
I am, of course talking about the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak ‘Jumbo’, introduced in 1972.
Later on, Gérald Genta repeated the same with his design for the stainless steel Patek Philippe Nautilus timepiece and the IWC Ingenieur SL. Hysek followed with his ’222′ (now Overseas) model for Vacheron Constantin.
You either hate or love these watches at first sight (and start to learn loving them later on in your watch collecting career). I belong to the first category and ever since I learned about the Royal Oak, I promised myself to get one whenever possible.
Although the Royal Oak Off-Shore (introduced in 1993) and the Royal Oak Date which got a facelift in 2005 are timepieces that will fit the current standards for tough looking stainless steel sports watches a bit better than the original 1972 based model, I still decided to pursue the mother of all Royal Oak watches.
The Royal Oak ‘Jumbo’ by the reference of 15202ST is the one I bought last year December, the crown jewel of my modest collection. The Jaeger-LeCoultre caliber 920 based movement, the AP 2121, has a height of just barely over 3 millimeters thanks to the clever rail-system for its rotor and the Gyromax balance wheel which makes my heart tick faster.
The hour and minute hand seems to float between the tapisserie dial and the flat sapphire crystal, the stainless steel octagonal bezel with eight bolts made out of white gold clearly demonstrating their difference in color when playing with (sun)light and the hand crafted bracelet with its amazingly razor-sharp satinized finish are proof of a well thought through design by its creators, Gérald Genta and Audemars Piguet.
Category: My Watch