How Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Made History

At the beginning of the seventies, Audemars Piguet was in its critical moment due to financial issues. Georges Golay, as the managing director of the company, found that people in Italy need a sports watch that is versatile enough for any occasion. He successfully saw it as a big opportunity to evolve with revolutionary Royal Oak.  Without severe industry pressure and risk-taking executives pushing for an innovative design, the Royal Oak may never be the signature watch of Audemars Piguet and become one of the most wanted luxury watch models in the market. Find out more detail about how Royal Oak Made History, here!

Designed less than 24-hours before its presentation

Gerald Genta Royal Oak

Source: Heartapps

Georges Golay quickly recruited watch designer Gerald Genta who designed iconic watches for Omega and Patek Philippe.  The day before the Basel Fair in 1971, Golay outlined the brand’s expectations and told Genta to submit his design by the following morning. Remarkably, Genta was able to deliver the iconic Royal Oak design in less than 24 hours.

Inspired by a diver’s helmet

Royal Oak

Source: thehoursglass

Genta stated that the traditional diver’s helmet primarily inspired the Royal Oak’s design. The 1971 diving helmet was made of copper, the glass of which is fastened with bolts. He translated the diver helmet’s bolts into a series of screws around an ocangular-shaped bezel. Its design became a huge international success and one of the most iconic watches ever. 

The Royal Oak was named after a battleship—not the tree

Royal Oak Battleship

Source: orcadian

Genta named his design after a fleet of ships called the HMS Royal Oak--was in fact to protect King Charles II during the Battle of Worcester in 1651. Before the Royal Oak, he considered naming it The Safari. Long before that, the name was The Safari. Audemars Piguet considered that the name did not align with the brand's identity and image. Hence, it is Royal Oak.

Saved Audemars Piguet’s business

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak History

Source: chronoluxe

In the 1970s inexpensive quartz watches flooded the market and effectively replaced the high-end mechanical watches. Audemars Piguet and several other luxury watch brands were having a hard time. However, Audemars Piguet effectively brought the company back from the brink of bankruptcy with the production of the revolutionary Royal Oak. Despite of a rocky start, now the Royal Oak remains Audemars Piguet's best-selling watch.

Explore and buy Audemars Piguet Royal Oak’s collection here!

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