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There are a lot of fantastic luxury brands that have an amazing history. As a result, choosing a watch to add to your collection can be quite a task.
One of the Swiss watchmakers that seems to hold a special place in the hearts of watch collectors is the family-run Audemars Piguet. Though there are a lot of great models produced by this company, the one that seems to get a lot of publicity is the Audemars Piguet 15202ST.OO.1240ST.01 a.k.a. the Ultra-Thin Royal Oak.
We thought it would be of great help to you, while on your mission to find the most exceptional new watch to enhance your collection, if we took an in-depth look at everything you need to know about this stylish and elegant watch. However, one must first understand why its maker is held in such high regard. So let’s explore Audemars Piguet’s history.
Audemars Piguet History
Audemars Piguet’s reputation for producing high-quality reliable timepieces started almost immediately upon its inception in 1875. Two men who both came from watchmaking families, Jules-Louis Audemars and Edward-Auguste Piguet, set up shop in Le Brassus and began crafting watches that would eventually become some of the most respected and sought-after watches across the globe.
Audemars worked on the technical aspects of the business, while Piguet took on the business-related tasks. Finding their fame with pocket watches, they soon began to wonder if the world might like a watch that you could strap to your wrist. Thus in 1891, they created and released the very first wristwatch. This prompted a revolution in watchmaking that would never be superseded.
Unlike many watchmakers across the globe, Audemars Piguet continued to produce watches during the Great Depression and World War II. Situated in neutral Switzerland, there were no exterior forces demanding their time and energy be spent on any country’s complex military needs. Thus, they thrived, even during all this tragedy.
In fact, it was during the war that the company found its fame in the United States. Since then, innovation and passion for quality continues to preside over everything the company does today.
History Of The Royal Oak
Out of all Audemars Piguet watches, perhaps the most famous is the Royal Oak watch. It is such a well-known model that many experts say it is the reason that the company has remained one of the most well-regarded watch brands for so long.
The story of the Royal Oak began in the ’70s. With quartz gaining more popularity, many Swiss watchmakers were feeling the fire. Audemars Piguet took the challenge and put on their innovation hat and got to work.
In 1972, the Royal Oak made its big debut. This watch broke all the rules that had been set in stone for decades –it was a sports watch, and its case was crafted in steel.
The Royal Oak was meant to be a luxury watch with a sporty design, and this just was not something that had been done by a luxury brand. It could have been the end of this iconic watchmaker, but its gamble paid off. The company turned the page, thereby launching the new era of designs and styles.
Because of the company’s willingness to take a chance, the Royal Oak is still one of the most popular watches on the market today. In fact, it has spawned some variations, including a much more sporty version called the Royal Oak Offshore. In the end, the popularity of the Royal Oak is well earned. But along with a stellar reputation and image, it comes with quite a hefty price.
This watch is definitely an investment, but one that you will be able to justify once you look closer at the design. By looking under the hood and dissecting the watch down to its core features, you will find yourself falling in love with this watch, just like the rest of the watch lovers across the globe.
Dissecting the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Ref. 15202
This model is the closest you will get to the iconic original. It is a jumbo watch that offers elegant and sleek lines. But where the difference comes in is in the subtle differences in both the exterior design and the interior mechanisms. This watch is often called the Ultra-Thin Royal Oak, and it is designed with a sapphire crystal lens and case back. It also houses the well regarded and iconic 2121 Calibre.
The 2121 calibre is the thinnest one ever made. It offers a nice power reserve and is comprised of over 200 parts, with a jewel count of 36. The cool thing about the new version of the legendary Royal Oak is that, for just a small extra fee, you can customize the oscillating weight rotor. This can make your watch a unique collector’s piece, so it might be well worth the extra expenditure.
This watch offers a lot of great benefits that can greatly assist anyone who wears it. Though it may not come with a calendar that is quick-set, it is fitted with an advanced system. This system allows you to set the date by winding the hands past 12, and then to 2, and then back to 10, which advances the date.
The one thing that differentiates this watch most from the original version is that its case back display is thicker than its predecessor. This is only really noticeable to die-hard fans. But even with this minor change in the design, the ability to peer at the beauty that is the 2121 calibre is well worth the change.
The new model has a stunning dial that includes a petite blue tapestry as its background. This blue shade is very close to the hue of its predecessor, which gives it a modern feel while still offering a vintage design.
There are dual batons at the twelve o’clock marker, and the traditional AP logo sits at the six o’clock indicator. The dial is where you may find the most difference between the models. With the Ref. 15202, the wheel for the calendar matches the colour dial, and there is a different font used on the dial and wheel.
When you begin to look at the bracelet, you will notice that it is slightly thicker than the original. Nevertheless, it is still incredibly comfortable to wear. The clasp is designed in the same fashion, with a dual folding design with push buttons on the side engraved with the AP logo.
Essentially, the Ultra-Thin Royal Oak Ref. 15202 is an ode to the iconic Royal Oak of 1972. It still offers a nice design with plenty of style and elegance, yet brings some unique variations that add a touch of modernity.
With the popularity of this watch, the company also released a gold variation. Of course, the first thing you will notice is the use of yellow gold for the case and bracelet. It still houses a traditional calibre, and the watch face is designed the same. But the inclusion of this model allows for the watch collector to tailor their style and their personality easier.
This watch has a unique look especially with the mixture of the blue dial and gold case. You will be sure to attract attention if you decide this to be the model you want to sport.
Overview of Features
- Stainless steel case (39mm)
- Water-resistant down to 164’
- Glare-proof sapphire crystal glass lens
- Sapphire crystal glass case back
- Power reserve of 40 hrs.
- Automatic, self-winding movement (2121 AP Caliber)
- Illuminated hands and indicators
- Stainless steel bracelet w/AP clasp (folding)
- Available in gold and rose gold
Price: $22,000 – $40,000
The fine craftsmanship of the Ref. 15202’s case is one thing, but, when you look at its inner mechanism, you can why it holds such high value. The Ref. 15202 is a well-executed homage to the original that ties in everything you loved about the Royal oak Jumbo released in 1972 and wraps it in a modern stylistic package.
So, you can see why this watch is so beloved. It is crafted with care and attention to detail, which in turn makes for a long-lasting iconic piece that any watch collector would be glad to add to their collection.
We hope you enjoyed reading this article. For another exciting watch experience, check out Rolex GMT Master II: Pepsi vs Batman.