Audemars Piguet 26331ST
Originally introduced at SIHH in 2017 the reference 26331ST builds upon its predecessor reference 26320ST through subtle updates to the dial and utility of the chronograph.
The History of The Royal Oak
First unveiled by Audemars Piguet in 1972 and designed by the visionary Gerald Genta, the original reference 5402A Royal Oak fundamentally changed the landscape of horology, paving the way for high-end luxury sports watches. The design is thought to have been inspired by the portholes found on a scaphander diving helmet and is said to have been drawn overnight by Gerald Genta and presented the following day at Basel World circa 1971.
The original Royal Oak was not only revolutionary in terms of design, but it was also the most expensive steel watch ever made, retailing north of 3’750 Swiss Francs. As a result, the Royal Oak was not instantly celebrated, it took several years before the brand was able to galvanize its collectors and fellow enthusiasts. The movement that powered the now-iconic reference was derived from Jaeger-LeCoultre’s ultra-thin JLC 920 calibre, the ultra-thin AP-calibre 2121 is still used in some of Audemars Piguet’s references today.
The Royal Oak now possesses a cult-like following and is arguably Audemars Piguet’s bestseller. Since 1972, the Royal Oak has come a long way, although the original design cues found in the very first Royal Oak, reference 5402, are still ever-present today.
The Grande Tapisserie is synonymous with Audemars Piguet, the arduous task of creating the waffle-like pattern is not as seamless as it appears. The dial has completely been reworked from its predecessor, reference 26320ST, the major difference lies within the three sub-dials and the typography used. In the past, all sub-dials retained the exact same dimensions, this ref. 26331 ST, no longer follows that tradition, the 60-second counter is shrunken to accommodate for the enlarged 12-hour and 30-minute counters. The sub-dials feature a brushed chapter ring and guilloched interior resulting in a fine contrast. The hands found on the sub-dial are now jet black. At 12 o’clock the dial is signed Audemars Piguet – Automatic and at 6 o’clock it’s signed Swiss Made.
This 41mm stainless steel reference 26331 ST is powered by the venerable calibre 2385. The calibre stems from Frédéric Piguet’s ebauche calibre 1185. The movement beats at 21’600 vph and features 304 parts. The major update within this reference is the activation of the chronograph, the traditional method required unscrewing the crown guards. This reference still possesses crown guards although they are not functional, the chronograph can be used with relative ease, unlike previous models. Through fine engineering, the water-resistance remains unchanged from its usual 50m.
This watch was recently serviced and is accompanied by both its inner and outer boxes signed Audemars Piguet, as well as its original warranty card.
Brand: Audemars Piguet
Movement: Calibre 2385
Case Diameter: 41mm
Year: 2019 (sold)
Box & Papers: Full Set.