While Audemars Piguet is known for the technical firsts it has brought to the watchmaking world since 1875, this Royal Oak automatic chronograph, reference number 26331OR.OO.1220OR.02, brings a feeling of familiarity and comfort to fans of the watch brand born in Le Brassus, Switzerland.
More Than 20 Years of the Royal Oak Chronograph
In 2017, Audemars Piguet released a new series (under the references 26331) to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Royal Oak Chronograph. The 26331 models replaced the 26320 Royal Oak chronograph series, bringing about several updates to the dial.
These updates include larger hour and minute counters at 9 and 3 o’clock, in addition to a smaller seconds counter at 6 o’clock. What’s more, this trio of counters is now finished in a different color to the main dial to create better contrast. Another subtle change is the inclusion of wider hour markers, which benefit from more lume.
Royal Oak Chronograph 26331OR in Rose Gold
While there are several variations available, this particular Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph 26331OR is furnished with a rich brown dial and matching 18k rose gold integrated bracelet.
The signature, now 50-year-old, slightly curved octagonal bezel of the famous Royal Oak is placed proudly on the front of the watch, complete with eight hexagonal screws that line up perfectly at the corners of the iconic outline. The slots of the screw heads line up parallel to the tangents of the circular dial and anti-reflective sapphire crystal. There is vertical brushing extending from the bezel to the case and throughout the integrated bracelet to give the whole package a seamless look. However, there are expertly placed polished areas around the edges of the case, bezel, and bracelet, which frame the masterpiece within.
Audemars Piguet carefully modified the delicate gold, copper, and silver mixture to make a beautifully lustrous 18-carat pink gold (also known as rose gold) to use throughout the case and bracelet. The beveled hour markers are also made from 18-carat pink gold and are applied by hand to the dial.
The dial features what AP calls its “Grande Tapisserie” motif, characterized by a larger hobnail pattern. Paired with the pattern is an irresistible dark chocolate brown dial that gives this a tasty look – if it was late night and your watch box happened to be in the pantry, you could easily mistake this for a bar of chocolate. Luckily, the Royal Oak luminous hands and hour markers would likely keep you from making that mistake.
The 41mm wide case manages to fit time, date, and chronograph complications into a very competitive 11mm case thickness. It fits under a cuff with the best of them (or does this define “best of them”?). The date placed at 4:30 manages to not obstruct anything on the dial with just the slight compromise of a little bit of dial symmetry. However, the color matching of the date wheel to the dial really minimizes any dial symmetry concerns. The date is there when you need it, but disappears at a glance.
The screw-down crown adds to the peace of mind that you won’t accidentally pull out the crown when you’d rather it stay in place. However, with 50 meters of water resistance, it’s best to leave this beauty in a safe, dry place if any undersea excursions were to take place.
Self-Winding Caliber 2385
Identical to its predecessor, the Royal Oak Chronograph 26331 watches are powered by the self-winding Caliber 2385. The AP Caliber 2385, which is based on the famous Frédéric Piguet 1185 movement, is prized not only for its slimness but also its vertical clutch and column-wheel construction.
The undoubtedly finely finished Caliber 2385 movement has a central chronograph seconds hand, 30 minute counter at 3 o’clock, and 12 hour counter at 9 o’clock. The 30-minute counter is broken up into one-minute increments and is easy to read at a glance. The 12-hour counter has increments every half hour, with each hour indicator being bolder and longer than the adjacent half-hour indicators.
So the next time you want to time your flight or the length of that meeting that just seems to never end, this should do the trick. The 40 hours of power reserve is kept topped off by the oscillating rotor hidden by the closed case back. The outer edge of the dial has lines for every 1/6 of a second so you can get an accurate time reading from the movement that has six discrete steps per second, being a 21,600 vibrations per hour movement.
A Must-Have Luxury Chronograph
Royal Oak Chronographs are some of the most coveted fine timepieces in today’s market, and with looks like these, it’s not difficult to understand why. Since it’s difficult to get your hands on one of these masterpieces from one of the holy trinity of Swiss watch brands, they are exceedingly valuable on the secondary market.
Occasional glances down at the wrist turn into long gazes – the top-notch quality of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph 26331OR is tough to look away from.
Gray and Sons is proud to have a pre-owned Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph 26331OR in stock, ready to ship. Don’t miss your opportunity to own this hard-to-find luxury watch – get in touch with us today.