Daily Wear vs. Investment: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak "Jumbo" Extra Thin

Audemars Royal Oak Oak Jumbo 15202ST and 15202OR Lifestyle Image with Audemars Piguet Cufflinks

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak is one of the true icons from the world of horology, and the classic "Jumbo" Extra Thin is the quintessential example of this fan-favorite model. With that in mind, Audemars Piguet has been producing the "Jumbo" in various different executions for more than half a century, and while all examples serve as instantly recognizable status symbols, some variations are extremely rare and can be worth small fortunes on the open market. As an integrated bracelet sports watch, the classic AP Royal Oak "Jumbo" is perfectly suited to being a person’s daily timekeeping companion, although some executions of the model are arguably best enjoyed as investments, and two perfect examples of these polar opposite sides of ownership are the current-production stainless steel Audemars Piguet Royal Oak "Jumbo" Extra-Thin ref. 16202ST.OO.1240ST.02, and the ref. 15202BC.OO.1240BC.01, which is its limited-edition sibling from the previous generation that is crafted entirely from white gold and fitted with a unique salmon colored dial.

About the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak "Jumbo" Extra Thin

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo 15202ST Wrist Shot

Originally launched in 1972, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak was created by legendary watch designer Gerald Genta, and it is often credited with being the first model that truly pioneered the concept of a luxury sports watch. Inspired by the appearance of vintage diving helmets, the Royal Oak’s signature design consists of an octagonal bezel with eight exposed screws, and it is traditionally paired with an integrated bracelet that creates a highly cohesive aesthetic with its angular case. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak is easily one of the most recognizable timepieces in the entire world, and its signature design has served as the foundation for countless different AP models and even entire sub-collections such as the Offshore and Concept series. However, the classic "Jumbo" is the watch that started it all, and it is this version of the Royal Oak that most closely adheres to Gerald Genta’s original vision for what has ultimately become his most important and famous creation.

Despite its "Jumbo" name, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak "Jumbo" Extra-Thin isn’t actually the largest version of the model that the brand currently produces. While you can now get a 41mm version of the classic time-and-date Royal Oak, the "Jumbo" is the version that offers the same 39mm case size of the original model, which was dubbed the "Jumbo" long before Audemars Piguet introduced a lager 41mm version to the collection. Additionally, while the Royal Oak now exists in a wide range of different configurations and can also be found with a variety of complications, the "Jumbo" Extra-Thin represents one of the brand’s most simple and straightforward offerings, and the "Jumbo" moniker exclusively applies to the 39mm time-and-date models that are powered by self-winding movements and fitted with matching integrated bracelets.

Although the parameters for what qualifies as a "Jumbo" may initially seem rather concise, the "Jumbo" is the original Royal Oak, and Audemars Piguet has been continuously producing different versions of this model ever since it originally debuted back in 1972. Consequently, there are numerous variations of the Royal Oak "Jumbo" Extra Thin, and these models can be crafted from different materials, fitted with different dials, and even powered by different internal movements. While this diversity within the collection makes the "Jumbo" an exciting model for collectors, it also means that the definition of the "Jumbo" is inherently going to be a bit nebulous. That said, regardless of the specific model, all Audemars Piguet Royal Oak "Jumbo" Extra-Thin watches are united by their 39mm case diameters, flat sapphire crystals, time-and-date displays, and automatic mechanical movements.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak "Jumbo" Extra-Thin 16202ST.OO.1240ST.02

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo 16202st

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak "Jumbo" Extra-Thin ref. 16202ST.OO.1240ST.02 is the current-production version of the model that was recently released in 2022 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Royal Oak collection. Crafted from stainless steel and fitted with a blue dial that showcases the model’s signature “Petite Tapisserie” pattern engraved into its surface, the reference 16202ST.OO.1240ST.02 offers the same iconic aesthetic that has served as a cornerstone offering in AP’s catalog for over half a century, although it benefits from a number of key updates, such as a more robust clasp for the bracelet and the new-generation Caliber 7121 automatic movement, which is one of Audemars Piguet’s own in-house designs that offers superior performance compared to its direct predecessor.

Why the Royal Oak "Jumbo" 16202ST.OO.1240ST.02 Is Perfect for Daily Wear and Use

As the most recent iteration of the Royal Oak "Jumbo" Extra-Thin, the reference 16202ST.OO.1240ST.02 represents the latest and greatest in regards to Audemars Piguet’s manufacturing capabilities, and this statement applies to both the overall construction of the watch and the internal movement that powers it. Modern Royal Oak watches feel more substantial than their vintage predecessors, and factors such as water resistance and serviceability are also hardly a concern with contemporary timepieces, which means that they are more capable of standing up to the rigors of daily wear and use. Additionally, since the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak "Jumbo" Extra-Thin 16202ST.OO.1240ST.02 is the stainless steel version of the model, it is inherently more common and less expensive than its precious metal siblings, and its stainless steel construction also means that it will be both lighter on the wrist and more resistant to scratches.

While a modern watch with a stainless steel case and bracelet is a proven recipe for a highly practical everyday timepiece, the movement inside the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak "Jumbo" Extra-Thin 16202ST.OO.1240ST.02 is also a key factor that makes this model perfectly suited for daily wear and use. When the current generation of the Royal Oak debuted in 2022, it introduced the in-house Caliber 7121 to the collection, which represents a major step forward in terms of performance compared to the JLC-based movement that had been trusted to power the "Jumbo" since the very first Royal Oak made its appearance back in the early 1970s. The higher operating frequency of the Audemars Piguet Cal. 7121 (28,800vph vs. 19,800vph) promises more accurate timekeeping, and the movement also benefits from a longer power reserve of 55 hours, compared to the 40 hours of autonomy that was offered by the previous generation of the Royal Oak "Jumbo" Extra-Thin.

While its stainless steel construction and updated in-house movement make the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak "Jumbo" Extra-Thin 16202ST.OO.1240ST.02 a practical choice as everyday timepiece, another key detail that helps promote the care-free wearability of this particular model is that it isn’t some mega-rare or insanely valuable iteration of the "Jumbo" that could never be replaced if it were somehow lost, stolen, or destroyed beyond all hopes of repair. Although all Audemars Piguet Royal Oak watches are inherently expensive items, the ref. 16202ST.OO.1240ST.02 is the least expensive version of the current-production Royal Oak "Jumbo" Extra-Thin, and aside from the 50th Anniversary Edition that was only produced during 2022 and fitted with a custom rotor, you could easily source a replacement from directly from Audemars Piguet or even a secondary market dealer for less than six-figures.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak "Jumbo" Extra Thin 15202BC.OO.1240BC.01

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo 15202BC

Unveiled in 2019 as a limited-edition offering of just 75 pieces, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak "Jumbo" Extra Thin 15202BC.OO.1240BC.01 is one of the more unique and special variations of this classic fan-favorite model. At a quick glance, it may look like just a regular stainless steel "Jumbo" from the previous generation; however, the ref. 15202BC.OO.1240BC.01 is crafted entirely from solid 18k white gold. Additionally, while the dial offers the same fundamental design and layout with a date window at 3 o’clock and a “Petite Tapisserie” pattern engraved into its surface, this unique “salmon” color isn’t found on any other Royal Oak model, and the pairing of a pink gold dial with a white gold case creates an unusual yet striking appearance that sets the ref. 15202BC.OO.1240BC.01 apart from all other AP Royal Oak "Jumbo" watches.

Why the Royal Oak "Jumbo" Extra Thin 15202BC.OO.1240BC.01 Makes a Good Investment Piece

Since Audemars Piguet only ever produced 75 examples of the Royal Oak "Jumbo" Extra Thin 15202BC.OO.1240BC.01, this limited-edition model is inherently more rare and collectible than its standard-production stainless steel siblings. All 75 watches were quickly claimed when the model was first announced in 2019, and while you can typically still find a handful of examples for sale on the secondary market, this model is entirely unavailable at a retail level. Even if you had a time machine and could travel back to when the ref. 15202BC.OO.1240BC.01 was first announced, you probably still wouldn’t be able to purchase one directly from Audemars Piguet, as its small-batch production and limited allocation meant that these watches only ended up in the hands of the brand’s most important collectors.

While you certainly can wear a solid gold watch every single day, gold isn’t exactly the most practical material when it comes to creating a highly durable wristwatch. Gold is both heavier and softer than alloys such as stainless steel or titanium, and while a gold Royal Oak can easily serve as a person’s everyday timekeeping companion, the white gold components of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak "Jumbo" Extra Thin 15202BC.OO.1240BC.01 will inevitably acquire a bit more scratches and wear than if they were crafted from stainless steel. Additionally, given that white gold and stainless steel offer a somewhat similar overall appearance, those who simply want a classic Royal Oak "Jumbo" can pick up an example of the standard stainless steel model from this same generation for less than a quarter of the price of the ref. 15202BC.OO.1240BC.01, and the only obvious difference between the two watches when viewed from across the room will be the color of their dials.

Realistically speaking, you could wear the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak "Jumbo" Extra Thin 15202BC.OO.1240BC.01 as your everyday wristwatch, although given that the open-market value of this limited-edition model is currently more than three times its original retail price, this particular version of the "Jumbo" is one that you might want to consider preserving as an investment. The wear that accumulates from daily use almost always detracts from the value of watches, but for the ref. 15202BC.OO.1240BC.01, the resulting difference in resale value can often be incredibly significant. Although this unusual version of the Royal Oak “Jumbo” has always been a desirable and exclusive offering, the present-day collectibility of this model means that the price difference between a well-worn example and one in mint condition can ultimately span tens of thousands of dollars.

Choosing the Right Audemars Piguet Royal Oak "Jumbo" Extra Thin Watch

Audemars Piguet 15202OR Wrist Shot

Given that Audemars Piguet is one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious manufacturers, all of its timepieces are crafted to the highest possible standards, and every single version of the Royal Oak "Jumbo" Extra Thin is more than capable of being worn on a daily basis. Similarly, since every single reference also trades hands on the open market for values that are significantly higher than their original retail prices, all "Jumbo" watches are also capable of serving as investment pieces. With that in mind, since some examples can be worth exponentially more than others, choosing the right Audemars Piguet Royal Oak "Jumbo" Extra Thin really just comes down to how you want this iconic timepiece to fit into your personal collection.

For daily wear and use, it’s hard to beat the classic "Jumbo" in stainless steel, and the updated movement inside the current-production Audemars Piguet Royal Oak "Jumbo" Extra-Thin ref. 16202ST.OO.1240ST.02 offers superior performance compared to all previous generations of the model. Not only is stainless steel one of the most practical materials for a wristwatch, but the stainless steel versions of the "Jumbo" are significantly more common and less expensive than their precious metal siblings. Alternatively, if investment potential is your primary objective, you might want to start with an exclusive limited edition such as the white gold ref. 15202BC.OO.1240BC.01, as there are a finite number of examples in existence and it has already appreciated in value during the fairly short amount of time since it first made an appearance.

All Audemars Piguet Royal Oak "Jumbo" Extra-Thin watches offer a similar overall appearance, although getting yourself the right model can have a significant impact on your ability to enjoy your new timepiece. Having an extremely rare or valuable watch on your wrist everyday can often be a mental burden, while trying to preserve all of your watches as investments can ultimately prevent you from enjoying them to the fullest. At the end of the day, you can’t really go wrong when buying a Royal Oak, and the "Jumbo" is the quintessential model that faithfully upholds this time-honored aesthetic that has been around since the early 1970s. However, not all "Jumbo" watches are created equal, and while some are ideally suited to being worn daily in a care-free manner, others rank among the most collectible luxury timepieces on this planet, and preserving their condition can ultimately result in a six-figure profit.

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