The Royal Oak is almost synonymous to Audemars Piguet. Since its creation by renowned jewelry and watch designer Gerald Genta, it has spawned many models since, the Royal Oak Chronograph arguably the most popular among them. First launched by Audemars Piguet in 1997, it has seen three re-releases, with the latest in 2017 to commemorate its 20th anniversary. The unique and elegant line has introduced seven new models to celebrate this milestone, all bearing the reference number 26331.
Compare AP Royal Oak Chronograph – 26331ST Prices Online
Release date: 2017
Price: US$24,300.00 – US$56,600.00
The design of the anniversary Royal Oak Chronographs is a call back to the two-tone dial of the 2008 models, with the addition of small but aesthetically significant changes. Like the chronographs that went before it, the series is still powered by the caliber 2385, which in turn was heavily influenced by the celebrated Frederic Piguet caliber 1185.
- Caliber: 2385
- Case size: 41mm
- Case thickness: 11 mm
- Case: Stainless steel case, glare-proofed sapphire crystal, screw-locked crown
- Water resistance: 50m
- Bracelet: Stainless steel bracelet with AP folding clasp
One thing that is immediately noticeable about the 26331 models is the improvement on the display. It is more readable than the ones on the previous Royal Oak Chronograph releases, particularly because of the added luminescence in its markers. Besides the glow, the hours and minutes have also been enlarged for increased legibility. The stainless steel version has the most distinguished face owing to the black background that lets the markers really stand out. If you want to make the watch appear more personalized, you can with straps available in stainless steel and pink gold. It also comes with a decent water resistance of 50m.
The changes in the 2017 edition of the Royal Oak Chronograph is largely aesthetic. While there is emphasis on the improved appearance of the dial, there are also questionable choices, particularly in the location of the date aperture that makes it stick out like a sore thumb. Fans of the luxury brand have also been waiting for a Royal Oak Chronograph to be released with an in-house movement, but still, there’s no luck with this edition. The featured movement is by no means a disappointment, but it would be more exciting to have a version that’s not only improved on the exterior but also on its inner workings.
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Image credits: watchesmiles (featured image), WX Watches, Big Watch Buyers, Rox, Watch Collecting Lifestyle, Swiss Time Buyers, Jomashop (article images).