The Royal Oak… A watch that needs no presentation anymore, a watch that’s so notable that its popularity goes way past the bounds of watch aficionados. In any case, on the off chance that you take a gander at Audemars Piguet’s catalog, you’ll see that the assortment is large (to say the least) and that it comprises many renditions. In any case, today, we’ll center around the two most important models, the foundations of the assortment, the automatic watches. This incorporates the new 41mm Selfwinding Royal Oak 15500… But we can’t ignore the symbol, the Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin 15202. How would they compare? Follow the guide below.
The Royal Oak – the creation of another category
1972 is probably Audemars Piguet ‘s most important year in its new history. A crucial defining moment. For several decades, the brand specialized in crafting the absolute generally delicate and valuable watches of Switzerland – especially perpetual calendars and repeaters. All things considered, as the quartz emergency gained energy, Audemars Piguet took the choice to develop, to change strategy, to counteract what might later be qualified as the most exceedingly terrible emergency of the watch business. The answer: a steel extravagance sports watch planned by Gerald Genta, named the Royal Oak, and almost as costly (if not more) than a classic gold watch.
The watch was provocative, because of its cost as well as generally because of its remarkable plan. The basic however clever idea of Genta was to apply a few ideas of adornments into watchmaking. Up to that point, watches were basically planned as an amount of components: a case, a strap, a development and a dial that, all together, would create a watch. Genta came up with an item to be viewed as a solitary, steady plan, where case, bracelet and dial were part of an entirety. This would later be named the extravagance sports watch category, with its definition created after the Royal Oak’s design.
The watch, known as reference 5402ST, was a blend of classic AP components – ultra-slender development, guilloché dial, top of the line decoration and unrivaled quality of the completing – with in any case unfamiliar specifications – utilization of steel, integration of a bracelet, nice water-resistance, time-and-date display and clear nautical inspiration. And if the 1972 plan was provocative, it gave birth to an array of competitors to become a genuine watchmaking category in its own right… and the most popular of them all, without a doubt. All things considered, the Royal Oak 5402ST was regularly replicated yet rarely equalled. It was created – under series A, B, C and D, all with slight advancements on the dial/bracelet/development – until the late 1970s.
The Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin 15202
After the classic vintage “Jumbo” reference 5402ST, Audemars Piguet celebrated the 20th anniversary of this model with a restricted “Jubilee” release, the reference 14802, created in 1,000 pieces just – including gold or platinum models and a salmon-dial form. Fast forward again to 2012 and the 40th anniversary of the model, when Audemars Piguet presented the updated variant of its classic Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin , a watch known as the 15202ST – certainly perhaps the most sought-after contemporary watches and one that is as yet underway today.
The idea behind the Jumbo 15202ST is easy: it is the immediate descendant of the original 1972, sharing approximately the same extents – 39mm diameter and 8.1mm in stature (marginally more than the 5402) – the same base development, yet improved and not, at this point delivered by JLC yet internally by Audemars, the same time-and-date display without seconds and approximately the same “petite tapisserie” dial – despite the fact that in our photos of a 5402 vs a 15202, you can see a distinction in shading and execution. In any case, the 15202 is the nearest to the 1972 model you can get today.
As such, this Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin 15202ST is regarded as the benchmark for any other Royal Oak model – and for any extravagance sports watch that is introduced.
A new fragment, the Selfwinding watches – 15300 & 15400
As of 2005, Audemars Piguet concluded the time had come to present another watch in the assortment, the 2000s rendition of the Royal Oak, a more contemporary, more masculine, more rough watch and a variant more in accordance with market expectations. This new sub-assortment, the Selfwinding watches, was launched simultaneously with AP’s new in-house automatic development, the Caliber 3120. The watch to house it was the reference 15300… Basically, the taste of the original Royal Oak, with a 39mm case, transparent caseback to see the advanced automatic development with seconds and date, a more powerful bracelet, a somewhat thicker case, and a lower cost – becoming the passage level candidate of the Royal Oak assortment. While the 15202 already existed back at that point, the new 15300 became the “standard” watch in the assortment, the one with higher creation and sales numbers. An important item for Audemars Piguet.
In 2012, Audemars Piguet updated the Royal Selfwinding with a larger 41mm case, which originally differentiated it from the Jumbo, and then also wound up in a watch somewhat more balanced than the 15300 – the diameter/tallness ratio was, as I would see it, better. This new reference 15400 actually featured the in-house caliber 3120 however came with a larger case and updates all finished. These incorporated another dial done internally on turning machines, new text styles and a logo placed beneath the marker at 12 o’clock.
This reference 15400 was delivered until early 2019 and has now been replaced by another, drastically updated Royal Oak Selfwinding 41mm, the reference 15500 . The latter features numerous advancements, the vast majority of them coming about because of the new and larger development – caliber 4302, presented first in the CODE 11.59 assortment . Being fairly larger than the past caliber 3120, the outcome is a larger dial opening, an alternate situation of the date, yet additionally configuration updates on the dial and the case.
The New Royal Oak 15500 Compared to the “Jumbo” 15202
So here we are presently, with that same inquiry over again… What in the event that you want an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak automatic, without additional complications – aside from a date – and the classic look of the assortment (obviously, we are overlooking the issue of availability in the equation here, as that’s another debate)? Indeed, you have two choices. One is the classic, the Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin 15202ST (which just exists with a blue dial now, at least for the steel model). The subsequent choice is the brand new, more present day and somewhat more hearty Royal Oak Selfwinding 41mm 15500ST. How would they compare? Read below.
Case and bracelet – Same look, changed proportions
Let’s start with the main theme since not many watches put the case and the bracelet on a particularly level as the Royal Oak. The basic idea of this watch was to be a uniform piece to be worn on the wrist that tells the time. As such, comparing first cases and bracelets makes a great deal of sense.
The main distinction between these two watches comes from extents. On one side, we have the alleged Extra-Thin model, with its relatively restrained 39mm diameter and its 8.1mm tallness. By all means, the Jumbo isn’t a small watch and wears larger than its diameter would propose. In any case, by current standards and because of its smooth profile, it is a relatively compact watch.
The Royal Oak Selfwinding 15500 is, regarding overall plan, exceptionally near the original idea. The shape of the case is identical, so is the octagonal bezel with hexagonal screws and the integrated bracelet with its chain-like plan. The thing that matters is, in any case, to be seen on the measurements, as this 15500 isn’t just larger at 41mm in diameter yet additionally marginally thicker at 10.4mm. The distinction in stature is circulated all over the watch, with some extra thickness on the bezel, the center case and the caseback. All things considered, 10mm isn’t thick as such. On the wrist, because of the larger diameter, the ratio is some way or another regarded and feels balanced.
Still, the two watches have to be compared and the 15500 feels like a classic Royal Oak on testosterone. All the parts, from the case to the crown, the bezel, the bracelet and the clasp, have been increased in size and tallness. While this outcomes in an alternate inclination on the wrist – heavier and more strong – the extents are kept and the plan of the Royal Oak is regarded. No changes regarding water-resistance, as the two watches are rated at 50 meters – all that could possibly be needed considering the natural habitat of a Royal Oak.
In terms of execution and completing, there are basically no noticeable contrasts. The two watches are incredibly exact in their execution, with glossy cleaned slants, profoundly articulated brushed surfaces and the same combination of these two surfaces all over the watches. In the event that a distinction exists, it would really need to be seen under a loupe however isn’t obvious to the naked eye.
Dial – “Petite tapisserie” vs. “grande tapisserie”
Together with the distinction in tallness, the dials are certainly what separate these watches visually. At the outset, the two watches could appear to be identical. A trained eye will, be that as it may, immediately recognize the distinction in execution between these two unmistakable “tapisserie” pattern.
The Jumbo Extra-Thin 15202ST, as the immediate descendant of the original 1972 model, remains fairly close as far as dial pattern, with the purported “petite tapisserie” (French for small tapestry) guilloché finished plate. Executed by turning machines (a machine-controlled guilloché, not the Breguet sort of guilloché done by hand), the “petite tapisserie” is the best pattern available at AP, with a progression of minuscule raised squares. No compelling reason to say, a comparison between a 1970s watch and an advanced model will reveal to you a ton on how manufacturing has evolved… The new dials are neat, accurately executed and very detailed. The old ones, as pleasing as they are, have a lot gentler surface. Tolerances are clearly not the same nowadays.
The Royal Oak Jumbo 15202ST used to be available in white, anthracite/black and dark blue. The latter being the best, and creation volumes being low for this model, Audemars Piguet has chosen to just offer this rendition now – in addition to valuable or more extraordinary materials. The 15202ST adheres to the classic time-and-date display without seconds hand, to a printed logo at 12 o’clock (not in a cartouche but rather straightforwardly on the square pattern) and to the applied AP logo at 6 o’clock, much the same as the 5402ST A-and B-series. Hands and applied lists are white gold and have the classic Royal Oak configuration, understand batons with adjusted edges. All are loaded up with iridescent material.
Moving to the new Royal Oak Selfwinding 15500, you’ll see that it is a significant distinctive watch. Cleaner, more present day, sharper, more on the lively side than the 15202ST. What was valid for the case and bracelet is also noticeable on the dial. As a matter of first importance, the 15500 features an alternate pattern, named “grande tapisserie”, with larger squares. While marginally easier to manufacture, the execution remains fairly great and very exact – in fact, a lot neater than what was found on its archetype, the 15400. As for the actual pattern, size apart, it’s AP standards all the way. Nonetheless, there are some major advancements concerning the dial of this new Selfwinding model, the greater part of them inferred by the new movement.
First of all, the new development is 6mm larger than the more seasoned 3120 and the date window has moved to the fringe of the dial. Second, there’s now a smooth moment track on the outskirts of the dial. Finally, Audemars Piguet has chosen to clean the watch as much as conceivable and taken out the “automatic” notice. While I do understand this point, the outcome is actually a dial that feels somewhat unfilled, since the AP logo and Audemars Piguet name are both located at 12 o’clock. After all, the “automatic” notice wasn’t bad. Note here that the Audemars Piguet name is imprinted in a smooth cartouche.
Finally, a nearer examination will reveal some plan contrasts on the hands and files. As with the 15300 and 15400, the white gold hands/files of the Selfwinding model are larger, bolder and faceted. And obviously, the 15500 features a seconds hand, which animates the dial. Note that the 15500ST – the steel model – is available in 3 distinct releases: the current black model, the classic Royal Oak blue and finally, a slate gray version.
In end here, while the new Royal Oak Selfwinding 15500 shows a great degree of execution, we can’t reject that the Jumbo form is essentially unrivaled. More refined, more elegant…
On the wrist
While the old 5402ST is some way or another a delicate and fragile watch, the sort of watch that you don’t want to use as daily beater, the advanced 15202ST, despite the fact that it has almost the same measurements, is a cutting edge watch. Tight, strong, marginally heavier as well, you can actually utilize it consistently without considering everything. Presently, as I already said, the Royal Oak Jumbo may just be 39mm in diameter, yet it isn’t a small watch because of its shaped case. In any case, with its integrated drags and bracelet, it is comfortable, even and can be worn even by men with smaller wrists – or by ladies as well, in the event that you like the curiously large look…
With the new 15500, the inclination is of having the same watch with extra material all around. Everything has developed marginally, regardless of whether it is the diameter, the tallness, the thickness of the bracelet or the drag to-haul measurement. Visually, the positive point is that the balance of the plan has been kept – I think the choice to change from 39mm to 41mm with the 15400 was savvy since these extra 2 millimeters bring about a superior diameter/tallness ratio. On a standard 18cm wrist, the 15500 is a masculine watch without a doubt however it doesn’t feel larger than average by the same token. And since the angle of the hauls is more articulated than on the 15202, the case feels rather compact. The real distinction is as far as weight, this 15500 being heavier – and considerably more with a gold case.
Movements – Caliber 2121 and Caliber 4302
The contrast in developments between the 15202ST and the 15500ST is answerable for a large portion of the disparities between these two watches. On one side, we have the Jumbo Extra-Thin, with its fairly old caliber 2121 (the original plan is more than 50 years old), which isn’t far away from the original development found in the 1972 watches. In any case, thanks to numerous upgrades and an in-house manufacturing measure, it is as yet seen as outstanding amongst other ultra-slight automatic developments on the market. Measuring just 3.05mm in tallness, it features an oscillating load with an annular ring running on four gems, a suspended barrel and a fairly unusual recurrence of 2.75Hz (19,800vph). The development is pleasantly decorated, with cleaned slants, satin-brushed edges, perlage on the main plate and a 21k gold rotor with top of the line decoration.
The 15500 features Audemars Piguet’s recently presented self-winding caliber 4302, a development that will gradually replace the more established 3120 in many watches without complications. This marginally thicker development is large (32mm in diameter), consequently adapted to currently measured watches, and shows various mechanical upgrades over the caliber 3120. The force hold is presently 70 hours (vs. 60 hours) and the recurrence has been increased to 4Hz (vs. 3Hz). It features a traversal balance connect supporting a free-sprung balance wheel.
As for the decoration, the 15500 also marks a stage forward compared to past iterations, the caliber 4302 reveals some hand-completed parts, including pleasant cleaned inclines and a 22k gold rotors with various hand-executed sharp angles. In addition, the development currently feels appropriately sized…
Certainly, between these two developments, some dramatic contrasts exist. As a ultra-slim development, the caliber 2121 is somewhat more complex to assemble. Also, since this development is delivered in a lot smaller numbers, it also requires more human mediations. On the opposite side, the goal of the Caliber 4302 is extraordinary. It is a cutting edge development, meant to be exact, vigorous and delivered in larger quantities. It’s the backbone of AP’s manufacture. In any case, it remains very noteworthy in its specs and decoration.
Once again, the distinction in developments mirrors the distinction in strategy and placement between these two watches.
One subject we haven’t considered at this point is cost. The Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin (reference 15202ST.OO.1240ST.01) is valued at CHF 24,800. The Royal Oak Selfwinding 41mm (reference 15500ST.OO.1220ST.02) retails for CHF 19,300. Altogether fairness, the distinction in cost is relatively easy to understand, realizing that the dial of the 15202ST is more delicate, that its development is somewhat more demanding regarding manufacturing and, mainly, that creation quantities of the 15202 are a whole lot smaller. Also, let’s indeed eliminate the issue of availability from the equation.
So what can we close about the new 15500 compared to the classic 15202? Indeed, to put it plainly, these are two distinct watches targeting various gatherings. As an item, the 15500 is amazing and pays recognition for the quality you anticipate from an Audemars Piguet. Case, dial, development, bracelet… Everything is completely executed, adjusted, wrapped up. It is a top of the line sports watch with an advanced and amazing development, no uncertainty about it.
I think the Selfwinding 15500 and the Jumbo 15202 are essentially not meant for the same audience. For somebody with relatively humble information and interest in watchmaking, the 15500 will work really hard. In addition to the fact that it has all the components you anticipate from a Royal Oak, yet it also answers the demands of current clients who want to wear their watches widely, with a more masculine size.
On the other hand, the 15202ST ought to remain a connoisseur’s watch, a watch meant for seasoned authorities who know and care about history and faithfulness. I accept that the 15202ST is a watch that has to be earned… such a very much kept treasure, an advantage that is hard to obtain, which makes it significantly more desirable.
My personal inclination goes, without question, to the Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin 15202ST – and I get it will be the same for the majority of our readers, for the straightforward reason that they understand what it really addresses. Presently, don’t misunderstand me, the new Royal Oak Selfwinding 15500 is an intense package. Nonetheless, most watch clients are not watch-geeks and Audemars Piguet has the correct item with the 15500 for them.
More details at www.audemarspiguet.com .