In this review, we’re discussing a watch that launched in 2012. Really, this is the successor to both the 15300, which was the full-size Royal Oak automatic, and the prior 14790, which was the mid-size. So, this is the 15450, the 37-millimeter version of the automatic Royal Oak in stainless steel.
Let’s dive into it
It’s 9.9 millimeters thick from lug tip to Lug tip. The case is 47 millimeters, but if we include the double intermediate links, the rigid distance is actually 49.5 millimeters. So, like every Royal Oak ever and every offshore, it wears a size or two larger than its rated size, so think this is more like a 39 or a 40 in terms of how it fits on the wrist. The image below has a 16-centimeter circumference wrist, wears nicely, flat enough that it’ll fit underneath any cuff, especially with the sloped bezel. It isn’t as small as the 37 millimeter size would suggest. Just looking at it on the wrist, it looks like a 39, and I’m going to recommend you have a wrist of 14 centimeters circumference or larger to wear this. Any smaller than that, you’re going to want a smaller Royal Oak.
Now, taking a quick look at the watch, it’s finished in Immaculate fashion. I always feel you get a bit shortchanged if you buy a Royal Oak on a strap. Full bracelet is how Gerald Genta invented the watch in 1972, and full bracelet is how he envisioned it as he was principally a jewelry designer, and he envisioned the Royal Oak as a piece of jewelry for a man that just happened to feature a timepiece. So, the case flows into the lugs and flows into the bracelet seamlessly one into the other. The steps are so seamless that when you pull the bracelet to one side, you can’t actually feel the steps even though you can see the curvature.
The bevel of the case expands as it rides down the log hoods, and then it’s continued perfectly aligned across the shoulders of the links. The links and profiles are vertically satiated, and from the top, they’re longitudinally saturated. You can see the intermediate planks; they’re actually polished internally. So, as you roll the bracelet and take a look at those intermediate plots, you can see that they’re polished in a way that’s only really visible when you bend the bracelet. We love this detail and be sure, the planks are polished on our superclone AP watches as well!
The bracelet takes between 9 and 11 hours to finish by itself; that’s without the case, the clasp, and the bezel. So, this is a true artisanal work of art.
You can see that removable links are fixed by screws, so this is the way bracelets should be constructed on heavy and expensive sports watches. The bracelet is fixed to the case also using screws and bars, again, better than the conventional spring bars.
The screw system fixes it more securely, and unlike Patek Philippe which now uses pins and sleeves to fix its removable links, AP still makes these with screws even until the present days.
As expected, we have a double-folding clasp. You can see it’s a sequential close, one side before the other, a twin trigger release. You can’t just press one, you have to press both to release this clasp, so a lot of security for the sports watch. You can see internally it’s satinated in media blasted for a handsome double finish, even a triple finish if you look at the polished bevel on the flank of the triggers. Flipping over to the case, there’s a lot to love. The octagonal form was inspired by a vintage dive helmet, and so that’s where this rounded octagon comes from. You can see the crown, which is a screw-down, is hexagonal with a screw-down crown and a 50-meter water resistance rating. This is a swimmable surface watch.
You can see that the bezel is actually 3 facets. We have the satin finish vertical portion, the broad polished and rounded flank, and then a vertically satinated flat bezel top. The hexagonal bolts are perfectly aligned because they’re bolts, not screws. Little nuts hold them on the bottom inside the case. They’re actually made of white gold, and you can see the difference between the warmth of white gold and the silvery white flash of steel dramatically. There is a light contrast there. Also, the hexagonal form of the bolts matches the form of the crown.
The dial is the Grande Tepisserie. It is the large hobnail cut on a vintage pantograph lay, the mimicry engine.
From 2012 these were done in Audemars Piguet’s own manufacture, so you have a big template featuring the hobnails and the finer textures, a finger-follower traces the textures that template on a small brass plank, which becomes the dial. It recreates tens of thousands of tiny textures and large hobnels, an artisanal form that allows these dials to be crafted much the way they have been since 1972. AP logo hands and indices are white gold to prevent oxidation or tarnish over time. This is a sports watch, which means luminescence is respectable. You can easily read this watch in the dark.
We have a silver disc for silver dial, which is a nice match, and it has are two subsidiary setting modes. One is hacking or stop seconds, and the other is a quick-set system that allows you to rapidly cycle the date.
On the back, you can see an Audemars Piguet movement, the 3120 automatic winding. It’s quite tough with a full balance bridge, a freeze-prone balance, and relatively thin construction. It was designed with the Royal Oak offshore in mind, so it’s more than tough enough for this application.
It’s a bi-directional winder with hyper-efficient unlubricated ceramic rotor bearings with a 60-hour power reserve. If it’s on 40 joules, it has the quick set, and the stop seconds, and you can see it has a Gyromax style free-sprung balance that beats away at 21,600 vibrations per hour. In addition to shock resistance, the Gyromax style architecture allows for very precise adjustment. The rotor, which is 22 karat gold, features the coat of arms of the Audemars Piguet family to remind you that Audemars and Piguet remain involved as AP is the oldest Swiss watchmaker continuously owned and run by its founding families since 1875. The movement is a judicious and handsome blend of hand and mechanical finishing, worthy of the price. Reach out to Team also with thewatchbox.com for purchase and pricing details.