Typically, the saying “you never want to meet your heroes” is a decent rule to live by. As a watch enthusiast, my “attainable” grail has always been a Royal Oak. So when that little black box showed up this month from the Crown & Caliber shop, I was a little nervous this piece of horological history might fall short. I slipped it on and actuated the butterfly clasp that locked with a very pleasing click. Then, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to share my experience. I turned my wrist for a “wrist roll” story on Instagram. As I did, the bracelet almost twinkled as the light graced its surface ever so lightly.
At first glance, the 39mm octagonal-case seems cold and industrial. However, upon further inspection, it’s truly elegant in design. At only 9.4mm thick, it wears far more comfortable and sleek than one might initially think. With celebrities such as Jake Paul and half of the NBA currently wearing the Offshore variant of this classic design, I think it is easy to become jaded about the “Hype-Culture” of this watch. One might feel that people have reduced this icon into nothing more than a tacky hunk of gold. Yet, this version of the watch is vastly different. In the age of twenty-year-old YouTubers driving Lamborghinis, it’s a jet-set gentleman in a subtle vintage Porsche.
The silver-toned dial, with what AP describes as their “Grande Tapisserie” pattern, has white gold applied hour-markers. The iconic bracelet features a stainless steel construction. Moreover, AP has brushed it to a level of finishing only a brand in the holy trinity of watchmaking can do. The folding clasp locks the timepiece to your wrist with a reassuring click. This bracelet design doesn’t allow for any micro-adjustments. However, with daily wear, it only felt slightly uncomfortable once in three weeks. Flipping the watch over reveals the display caseback, which shows AP’s self-winding Manufacture Calibre 3120. It boasts a power reserve of 60 hours and a monobloc oscillating weight in 22-karat gold.
The one potential downside I could see when it comes to the functionality of this watch is the water resistance. In short, this isn’t the Royal Oak to jump in the pool with. While yes, it’s technically capable with a rating for 50 meters, it isn’t advisable in my opinion. To feel fully comfortable diving off your boat or hanging out in the pool for long periods of time, I’d want the Royal Oak Offshore that has anywhere from 100-300M resistance.
The Royal Oak is a real luxury watch. To the general public, the name Audemars Piguet will mean nothing. Even when showing it to my mother, she at first confused it with a Piaget. But to those who know the name, it’s an instant conversation starter. The music and sports industries may have made the Royal Oak more widely popular. However, you still feel like part of a secret club when wearing it.
The brushed/polished case, paired with the silver dial makes it a truly blank canvas when pairing with an outfit. Because of the bracelet, the watch has a very sport-like appearance, which makes the thinner case thickness a nice compliment. Because of those two factors, I believe this is one of the more versatile watches in the Royal Oak line.
During my time with the watch, it paired nicely with a suit, while also dressing down equally as well. I really enjoyed adding it to simple outfits for a pop of style that brought something unique to the ensemble. I found it went perfectly with a heather gray knit and beautiful leather sneakers for an evening on the town.
So, do I regret meeting my horological hero? In short, I would say no, but maybe a little bit? When it comes down to it, the perfect luxury sports watch should, in theory, be a do-it-all piece. With the lack of true diving capability in the back of my head, it’s not perfect. But, man does it fall close. This isn’t a watch I’d take to the pool with full confidence. However, during the other three seasons of the year, I couldn’t ask for more. The way the light plays off the bracelet is truly remarkable. The finishing on the dial is a step above any Rolex or Omega in production. It really is an object of raw, industrial beauty. The level of detail in the way the surfaces of the case are polished and brushed will satisfy even the most discerning of critics.
Each time the watch graced my wrist, it made me feel special and unique. The exact emotional traits a watch of this caliber should give you. This really is a watch worth aspiring to, and if you get the chance, I’d recommend trying one on.