There is nothing quite like the Royal Oak. It was the first luxury steel sports watch of its kind and caused quite the uproar when it was launched in 1972. The hullabaloo lay not just in the innovative design of the Royal Oak, which sparked off the trend of luxury steel sports watches, but also in the fact that it was priced just as highly as a gold watch. It signalled to all and sundry that it was not a watch’s material that makes it precious, but the precision engineering, innovative design, and meticulous hand-finishing that goes into crafting it.
Today, the Royal Oak is an icon unto itself, recognisable by anyone with the slightest interest in horology. Any doubts with regards to its popularity are assuaged by a glance at the waiting lists for various models within the Royal Oak collection. They are very long. And limited editions are snapped up in seconds—this latest one included.
Singapore-based watch retailer The Hour Glass has partnered with Audemars Piguet to introduce an exclusive Royal Oak Self-Winding Chronograph to celebrate its 40th anniversary. The watch, officially called the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Self-winding Chronograph The Hour Glass Commemorative Edition, is inspired by a much-beloved model from 2008. It had a duo-tone dial and subtly tweaked details such as larger chronograph counters at 3 and 9 o’clock, shorter and wider hour markers, as well as an angled date aperture and additional luminescent coating on the hands for better legibility. This model follows in much the same vein, with the watch’s characteristic “grande tapisserie” dial rendered in an unusually bright forest-green, paired with yellow gold subdials.
The watch is also made entirely out of 950 platinum, making it one of the only Royal Oaks to ever be made completely out of the metal. It is limited to just 20 pieces.
“We are delighted for the Royal Oak Chronograph The Hour Glass Commemorative Edition to finally see the light of day,” said Audemars Piguet CEO François-Henry Bennahmias. “This new limited edition celebrates the 40th anniversary of a successful watch retail group and acknowledges the collaborative relationship we have with The Hour Glass.”
It must be a strong relationship indeed, considering that this collaboration is occurring during a time when Audemars Piguet is cutting down on its partnerships with retailers and moving towards selling its watches exclusively through its own network.
The Hour Glass’ good relationships extend throughout the watch industry. It reports that it will be presenting a series of special editions developed with several other brands, including Chopard, De Bethune, Franck Muller, MB&F, Urwerk, Ulysse Nardin, Nomos Glashütte, Sinn, Tag Heuer and Longines. This is part of its year-long 40th anniversary celebrations, which will extend through May 2020.