The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph offers a solution for those who like the muscle of the Royal Oak Offshore but prefer a package that retains the essential proportions of Gerald Genta’s seminal 1972 Royal Oak. With a 41mm 18-karat rose gold case, an automatic chronograph, and a profile that would make Genta himself proud, the Royal Oak Chronograph is a “just right” blend of AP’s “Royal Oak” and “Offshore.”
While the original Royal Oak preceded the 1993 Offshore by over two decades, the Offshore itself debuted several years ahead of the Royal Oak Chronograph. Not launched until 1997, the Royal Oak Chronograph filled a final gap in Audemars Piguet’s sports watch line; a more imposing Royal Oak complication for those who didn’t quite feel the urge to “Go Offshore.”
As of 2012, the reference 26320OR sees the Royal Oak Chronograph follow the 15400ST’s adoption of a 41mm case. In fact, the standard Royal Oak and Royal Oak Chronograph are almost indistinguishable with one’s eyes closed. The 15400ST measures 9.8 mm thick; the Chronograph is only 10.8mm thick. Standard Royal Oak bracelet, clasp, and lug dimensions do not change on the Royal Oak Chronograph, and the famous Genta octagonal bezel retains its white gold bolts (the Offshore employs steel).
A stunning silver Audemars Piguet “waffle” or “hobnail” black dial exhibits the “grand tapisserie” cut pattern that is reserved for the traditional Royal Oak models. Produced in-house since 2012, these intricately cut dials are mesmerizing to examine under a loupe, and each one is created on an anachronistic “pantograph” engine that wouldn’t look out of place in the original 1875 workshop of Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet.
Frederic Piguet provides the mechanical foundation upon which Audemars Piguet lavishes its legendary movement finish. As the longtime movement powerhouse behind Blancpain complications, Vacheron Constantin’s Overseas Chronograph, and AP’s 1997-present Royal Oak Chronographs, F. Piguet is an haut-de-gamme engineering house to the elite of Swiss high horology.
Audemars Piguet’s vertical clutch (smooth engagement) and column wheel (crisp pusher feel) caliber 2385 is based on F. Piguet’s vaunted cal. 1180 series of integrated automatic movements. Considered to rank among the greatest chronograph movements of the late 20th century and often cited as the inspiration for Rolex’s industry-benchmark Daytona cal. 4130, the Piguet chronograph is a perfect horse to draw AP’s legendary “coach.”
watchuwant.com is proud to offer this outstanding stainless 18-karat rose gold Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph 26320OR. See it in high-resolution images on www.watchuwant.com. Video and content by Tim Mosso.