A fine, classy and attractive stainless-steel self-winding wristwatch of the famous Swiss watch brand Audemars Piguet, founded in 1875. Reference production period: 2005–2012. Produced circa 2010. Case in stainless steel, diameter 39mm, thickness 9.4mm, dark blue dial with enlarged ‘Grande Tapisserie’ pattern and AP applied logo at 12 o’clock, sapphire caseback. Self-winding caliber 3120, rotor in 22k yellow gold, embellished with the brand’s coat of arms sculpted in relief, power reserve of up to 60 hours. Functions – indication of time in hours, minutes and seconds, date aperture at 3 o’clock. Royal Oak stainless steel bracelet, Audemars Piguet double-AP triple folding clasp.
Introduced in 2005, the Royal Oak 15300 was the first basic time-and-date Royal Oak reference to feature an in-house movement, caliber 3120, featuring a power reserve extended to 60 hours. In 2012, after discontinuing the 15300, Audemars Piguet introduced the second-generation time-and-date model, reference 15400, with a case size enlarged to 41mm. Also, in 2012, the brand launched the smaller 37mm reference 15450, meaning the 39mm Royal Oak Self-winding currently remains the only model keeping the size of the legendary Royal Oak ‘Jumbo’ and making reference 15300 a special attraction both as a collectible and as a luxury daily wearer.
The 39mm case of Ref. 15300 has almost the same proportions as the original Royal Oak Ref. 5402 from 1972, but with a display caseback that slightly increased the thickness of the case to 9.4mm. The watch has a central seconds hand, and therefore differs from the famous Royal Oak ‘Jumbo’ design created in 1972 by the renowned Gérald Genta. Nevertheless, in all other aspects the 15300 keeps the unique proportions, shapes and features of the high-quality finish of the original Ref. 5402.
Ref. 15300ST is the first time-and-date Royal Oak with an in-house caliber, and features a transparent exhibition caseback, which gives a chance to admire one of the best modern self-winding calibers.
It should be noted that a careful study of the reference 15300 examples, which was produced for 8 years and is now available on the market, reveals very interesting varieties, which may be found in any of three stainless-steel references, with the matt silvered dial (15300ST.OO.1220ST.01), the dark blue dial (the present lot, 15300ST.OO.1220ST.02), and the black dial (15300ST.OO.1220ST.03). They were all about equally popular and produced in similar quantities. Rather than being a single Jumbo-like Royal Oak Self-winding watch, this watch proves to be an appeal to the thoughtful collector who appreciates difference and variety. When collecting the early Royal Oak Self-winding watches, the following variations in design should be considered. Firstly, the inscription “Automatic” on the dial, which has two clearly distinguishable types: one with a narrow ‘U’ (the most common) and one with a wide ‘U’ (rarer, about a quarter of examples). One noteworthy feature of this variety should be emphasized: the narrow ‘U’ is exactly the same as the ‘U’ from the Audemars Piguet logo, while the wide ‘U’ looks noticeably different than in the logo. Secondly, the typeface that the aperture date is printed in: the serif typeface with notches looks very nice but is more common, while the sans serif typeface looks more modest and technical, but is less common. Finally, the last aspect we urge attention to be paid to is the position of the date aperture relative to the square shelfs of the ‘Grande Tapisserie’ relief pattern – the window may be aligned against the squares (which is less common), or nonaligned and shifted closer to the centre of the dial (more common). The information we have does not allow us to correlate these varieties with the watch release time – this could certainly be a subject of exciting research in the future.
The present example features a narrow ‘U’, sans serif date and nonaligned aperture, this combination certainly increases its collector’s appeal.
Reasons to bid
Nowadays, due to the incredible popularity of Audemars Piguet Royal Oak watches, Ref. 15300ST is seeing a fabulous increase in prices in the previously worn watch market, indicating significant interest in this item as a collectible and as an investment. Therefore, the Royal Oak Self-winding 39mm Ref. 15300ST.OO.1220ST.02 ‘Narrow U’ would be an excellent purchase for the collector who desires a very attractive, sporty and rare self-winding wristwatch from a world-renowned traditional watch brand, one of the undisputed leaders in the haute horlogerie watch market. Ref. 15300ST is the first time-and-date Royal Oak with an in-house caliber, and features a transparent exhibition caseback, which gives a chance to catch sight of the now famous 3120, one of the best modern self-winding calibers. The present lot is a rare timepiece of the ‘Narrow U’ variety, so we are sure it will attract an enthusiastic collector.