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Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph Ref. RO 26331ST: Malaysia Price and Review

Audemars Piguet proves that a classic goes a long way.

It may be the Royal Oak’s 20th anniversary but Audemars Piguet is keeping it simple this year making only subtle updates to the collection after a slew of additions in the previous year.

Introduced in 1997 with a 39mm case, the Royal Oak has pretty much been every Audemars Piguet fanboy’s grail watch, with its iconic octagonal riveted bezel and sporty aesthetic.

In 2012, the watch got a size upgrade to 41mm, making for a more balanced and comfortable fit. Now essentially replacing the 2012 line-up is a collection of two-tone iterations offered in seven versions (three in stainless steel and four in pink gold) but still in a modest 41mm case size.

Audemars Piguet Ref. RO 26331ST
Here, we look at the Ref. RO 26331ST in stainless steel that gleams with the brand’s hallmark finishing. A result of an eight-stage process, which includes many hours of cutting, sandblasting, lapping, polishing, and varnishing, the watch shines in a robust shade that exudes a pristine yet rugged appeal.

Contrasting the steely skin of the watch is the trademark ‘Grande Tapisserie’ pattern on a choice of black, silver or blue dial, accented with contrasting counters, white gold applied hour-markers and Royal Oak hands with luminescent coating.

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Aside from the two-tone appeal of the watch, perhaps the most distinctive upgrade of this collection is the odd placement of the date window between four and five o’clock. Those with OCD might find this placement somewhat unsettling but this is unavoidable due to the enlarged hour and minute chrono registers at nine and three o'clock.

Audemars Piguet Ref. RO 26331ST
Inside the watch is the automatic Calibre 2385 that’s based off Frederic Piguet’s Calibre 1185 used on the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Chronograph and Breguet Marine Chronograph (Calibre 576). The movement is self-winding with 37 jewels, a 21,600-vph frequency, and a minimum 40-hour power reserve when fully wound. Although it would’ve been great for Audemars Piguet to add an in-house movement, the Calibre 2385 is still a pretty robust machine as a remarkably thin automatic chronograph calibre measuring only 5.5mm in thickness.

Despite this collection being mostly cosmetic, the Royal Oak Chronograph still remains one of the essentials for an Audemars Piguet enthusiast. A solid piece with a thicker and bulkier build, the watch is much sportier than it is fancy but doesn’t lack anything in its regality and premium appeal.

 Case

41mm stainless steel with glare-proofed sapphire crystal and screw-locked crown

 Dial

Black, blue or silver with 'Grande Tapisserie' pattern, rhodium-toned counters, white gold applied hour markers and Royal Oak hands with luminescent coating

 Movement

Self-winding Calibre 2385

 Bracelet

Stainless steel with AP folding clasp

 Functions

Chronograph, hours, minutes, small seconds, date

 Price

RM93,800

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Last modified on Friday, 13 October 2017 11:51
Sim Wie Boon

Sim Wie Boon loves classy dress watches from timeless Swiss and Japanese marques. Wrist affections aside, he finds comfort in quiet rainy evenings with a hot cup of coffee and a stable internet connection.

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