The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak stands tall among the most luxurious, most impressive watches on the market today; but few know the interesting story of how it came to be. In 1971, on the eve of the Baselworld Fair, one of the most prestigious gatherings in the watch and jewelry community, Audemars Piguet were in trouble.
It just so happened that they needed an innovative sports watch that could fit all occasions but had no idea and extraordinarily little time to do it. They commissioned Gerald Genta with the task. Genta, one of the most ingenious watchmakers of all history, had a eureka moment that night when he witnessed a diver emerging from Lake Geneva.
The screws that held the diver’s helmet in place inspired the design of the Royal Oak. And Genta named it ‘the Royal Oak’ in honor of an infamous battleship, named in turn for the famed oak tree in which King Charles II of England hid from Oliver Cromwell’s army. The oak tree very probably saved the King’s life and has since become a well-known royal symbol.
This history tidbit appealed to Genta and this is how we came to have the AudemarsPiguet Royal Oak we have today.