Designed and launched in 1990 for those that spend their lives traveling, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Dual Time ref. 26120OR.OO.D002CR.01 is one of the most convenient watches for globe trotters in terms of functionality, by displaying a second time zone along with a power reserve indicator, date and day/night indicator. Typically available in stainless steel —with blue, silver-toned or black dial—, 18K yellow gold with silver-toned dial and in 18K rose gold with black or silver-toned dial, the Royal Oak Dual Time ref. 26120 in stainless steel was slowly phased out in 2015 due to its lack of popularity among Royal Oak enthusiasts. Regardless, a new ladies version in stainless steel was reintroduced at the SIHH 2016 as reference 26124ST.OO.D011CR.01 and more recently replaced by a boutique exclusive men's version with a striking blue dial and blue alligator strap as reference 26124ST.OO.D018CR.01.
Even though the Royal Oak Dual Time ref. 26120ST in stainless steel with stainless steel bracelet is now a discontinued reference, if you look around you can still stumble upon it in new old stock condition at some AP authorized dealers. For now, the 18K pink gold version of this watch should suffice. Now, let's move on to our hands-on review of the Royal Oak Dual Time ref. 26120OR.OO.D002CR.01, one of our all-time favorite Royal Oak models.
The Case & Dial
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Dual Time ref. 26120OR.OO.D002CR.01 is fitted with the traditional 39 mm satin brushed Royal Oak case with its satin brushed octagonal bezel with eight 18K white gold hex screws. The 18K pink gold case on this watch, features the traditional hexagonal screw-down crown with AP logo and has a thickness of 10.30 mm. The Royal Oak Dual Time features a black —or silver-toned— grande tapisserie dial with a layout that for many has seemed somewhat busy. In reality to us, the design is well balanced with extremely graphic counters and perfect readability. The Royal Oak Dual Time features a dual time zone with a superimposed day/night indicator at 6 o'clock, a power reserve indicator between 9 and 11 and a date indicator between 1 and 3 o'clock. With white and red transfers, the dial is somewhat sporty and easy to read. The only downside to this dial is the poor luminescent material that Audemars Piguet utilizes across all their watches, making it quite challenging to tell time in very low light or complete dark places.
The Movement & Case Back
Fully protected by a solid case back featuring the traditional Royal Oak medallion also seen on the case back of the Royal Oak Chronograph ref. 26320 we reviewed here, the Royal Oak Dual Time is water resistant to a depth of 50 meters and powered by an automatic movement. The beating heart in the Royal Oak Dual Time ref. 26120 is the Audemars Piguet automatic calibre 2329/2846. This movement composed of 261 parts and 33 jewels is based off of the Jaeger-LeCoultre calibre 920 and quite similar to the Vacheron Constantin calibre 1122 SC powering the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time.
One thing worth mentioning is that the main difference between the AP calibre 2329/2846 and the VC calibre 1122 SC, lays in the fact that on the AP Royal Oak Dual Time the date can be adjusted via the crown; however, on the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time you need to push a button located at 1 o'clock to set the date. Even though the movement is not visible due to the solid case back on this watch, we can assure you that this calibre is extremely well finished. This very reliable movement beats at a frequency of 28,800 vph to provide a power reserve of 38 hours when fully wound. One last thing to mention is that this calibre is one of the few automatic movements from AP that is still a unidirectional automatic winding movement; therefore, be careful when selecting the right winding setting when using an electric winder.
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Dual Time ref. 26120OR.OO.D002CR.01 is fitted with a matte large square scale black alligator strap —brown for the silver-toned dial model— with a matching 18K pink gold AP folding clasp. The clasp has the same construction and design as the clasp on the Royal Oak Offshore Rubber Clad or on the 15300 on leather strap.
On the Wrist & Pricing
On the wrist, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Dual Time ref. 26120OR.OO.D002CR.01 wears slightly smaller than its actual size due to its black dial with so many indications on it. Regardless, this is one of our favorite Royal Oaks out there and one that we wish Audemars Piguet brings back one day in a 'reimagined' version with a stainless steel bracelet.
Sticker Price $35,000 USD. For more info on Audemars Piguet click here.