It seems as though Audemars Piguet has been decidedly contrarian this year and none more so than with the Royal Oak 15450. In a market where brands blindly follow trends AP have made a bold move and in this article I’ll get into what exactly they have done this year.
Firstly, this watch is in yellow gold, as all of this year’s Royal Oak collection in precious metals have been so. They’ve pushed very hard this year to bring the metal back, turning away from the more marketable and seemingly preferred rose gold. For a while now, many people have turned their noses up at yellow gold for being too old-fashioned, so for Audemars Piguet to try to bring it back, is no easy feat. Next, this time only 15450, is sized at 37mm, 2mm smaller than the classic 15250 and a whole 4mm smaller than the more common 15400! The 15450 is no new model, but for them to create one in solid gold is, in my opinion, a serious statement and shows an emphasis they are placing on it. This week, I go hands on to see whether they’ve managed to pull it off.
The Audemars Piguet 15450 features a familiar blue grande tappiserie dial, which is one of my favourites from the manufacture. The ability for the dial to reflect off different gradients of blue based on different light sources is a joy to look at and it is further emphasised by the warmth of the gold case. The yellow gold applied markers and baton hands are classically in the style of the Royal Oak and filled with luminous material.
The case is expectedly excellent, and at 9.8mm thick, it is surprisingly elegant for a sports watch. Similarly, the Genta designed bracelet of the Royal Oak is second to none, with a combination of brushed surfaces and polished bevels, it really showcases the excellence of the manufacture. While the AP folding clasp is easy to use and the bracelet is extremely comfortable, the weight of the watch, as it is solid gold, is something to get used to.
Powered by the in-house self-winding Calibre 3120, it is the same found in other time only Royal Oaks and is a fantastic movement, considered one of the finest automatic movements around. Featuring a bidirectional 22k rotor expertly engraved with the coat of arms for the Audemars and Piguet families, it is finished in true haute horlogerie standards with all edges and screw heads bevelled and polished and Côtes de Genève on the bridges. It has a power reserve of 60 hours.
Sure, a purist would disregard both the 41mm and this 37mm, as the original Jumbo was 39mm and in that sense the more traditional choice, but wearing the watch, I must say that I immediately enjoyed the proportionality it had on my wrist. Also, I feel that the fact that it is solid yellow gold, a smaller size does give it more elegance and makes it less showy. Ok, there’s no discretion when it comes to a solid gold watch, but you know what I mean when I say a smaller size dampens its effect. Overall, I wouldn’t disregard this 37mm Royal Oak as a ladies watch, as if you have smaller wrists, this would indeed be a great choice.
The new yellow-gold Royal Oak 15450 is available with either a blue dial (as seen in these images) or a silver-toned dial, priced at £32,200. For more information, visit the official Audemars Piguet website.