The AP Chronicles Project

This online catalogue raisonné that we have named AP Chronicles results from years of research by the Audemars Piguet Heritage team and aims to become the reference source on the history of the Royal Oak collection from 1972 to the present day.

A first wave of articles and technical sheets for models and calibres is now available on our platform. The highlight? A detailed article which retraces the Royal Oak’s genesis and sheds light for the first time on archival photographs and exclusive anecdotes.  

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Article — 80 min

Birth of an Icon

The Royal Oak is one of the most famous watchmaking icons whose stories have become myths. Based on an examination of the original archives, numerous interviews and unpublished or published sources, this article offers a fresh look at the different stages and players involved in the creation of the Royal Oak: from the first idea in 1970 to the official launch on April 15, 1972.

Article — 30 min

From Enfant Terrible to Collection

Launched in 1972, the Royal Oak went through several major phases between 1976 and 1982 that turned it into a collection. Fifty years later, no less than 500 variations have joined an all-star cast interpreting the original iconoclast... that became an icon.

Article — 35 min

Calibres 2120-2121

Calibre 2120 and its 2121 version with date display are among the watch industry’s most famous movements. Born in 1967 from a collaboration between Audemars Piguet, LeCoultre & Cie and Vacheron Constantin, this ultra-thin selfwinding mechanism has been produced and perfected for over 50 years. It notably powered the first Royal Oak watches in 1972. This article takes a detailed look at the context that gave birth to this technical masterpiece and outlines its development.

Article — 25 min

The First Royal Oak Cases

The Royal Oak case is an aesthetic and technical masterpiece combining a rounded octagon, a circle and a tonneau shape, extreme thinness and water-resistance. This article looks at the interior and exterior architecture of the watch. It reviews the definition of the term monocoque and highlights some of the watch’s recognisable features such as the hexagonal through-screw system, the oversized rubber seal compressed by the bezel and the hexagonal crown.

Article — 35 min

Model 5402 Dial Variants

The dial of the first Royal Oak is a masterpiece of technique and design. After detailed scrutiny of the Tapisserie expertise in a previous article, here we look at the characteristics of the dial: a geometrical composition, truncated pyramids punctuated by thousands of diamond-shaped holes, the iconic Bleu Nuit Nuage 50 colour, luminescent hour-markers and hands, etc. You will also find out more about how the AP monogram migrated from 6 o'clock to 12 o'clock and the SWISS indication was replaced by SWISS MADE.