The year was 1971, and Swiss watchmakers were getting distressed due to Japan throwing out a ton of cheap quartz-powered watches onto the market. There was a dearth of buyers for expensive watches in those dark days. What was a brand to do? The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak was the Swiss watch industry’s Hail Mary.
Audemars Piguet watches were not exactly flying off the shelves back then. In fact, the company was on the verge of bankruptcy. However, if it would have just one successful watch, everything would be saved. After listening to some feedback coming in from Italy, the company made a last-minute decision to create a luxury steel watch. Thus, the AP Royal Oak was born.
The creation of the watch revitalized the luxury watch industry. This sportier timepiece became all the rage, and since then has come in many different models and variations.
The design was inspired by a diving helmet. Originally, the AP Royal Oak featured an octagonal bezel that has eight screws that were easily visible. The uniquely-patterned dial also helped it stand out. There was also the striking integrated steel bracelet that separated it from its luxury timepiece peers.
Powered by an automatic Calibre 2121, this watch was using some of the latest technology available at the time. This movement allowed for the watch to be extra slim.
The unusual design of the AP Royal Oak was not without its detractors, with controversy abounding. As innovative as it was, it was a bold and daring decision to design. A couple of decades after the initial release of this watch, Audemars Piguet decided to make a sportier version of their new hit watch. This was primarily done to appeal to younger folks who wanted something a bit more modern. In fact, it was designed by a 22-year-old! Nicknamed "The Beast" due to its large size, there were plenty of purists who took offense to it. However, it's clear to see that the Offshore has been a glowing success.
Even though this watch originally came out in the early 70s, it still appears modern by today’s standards. That is the mark of an excellent watch that had completely transformed the luxury watch market at the time, and it continues to make its mark today. There is no other watch like it, which is why Audemars Piguet still lays claim to a sizable share of the luxury watch market.
When it comes to the Audemars Piguet price, you can expect the floor to be around $18,000 for an AP Royal Oak Offshore model. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak price for the Tourbillon model is going to run you over $200,000. As you can see, there is quite a spread. However, there are a number of Offshore variations that come in at various price points, usually up to around $50,000. Whatever your budget, Wrist Aficionado has an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak watch for you. Browse our collection today!