A few weeks ago, we brought you our in-depth hands-on review of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph with silvered dial ref. 26320ST.OO.1220ST.02 here. Also, we've published our hands-on review for the previous iteration of the Royal Oak Chrono ref. 26300ST with a 39 mm case here and for the latest iteration ref. 26320 with its 41 mm case and blue dial —boutique exclusive— here. And just as if those hands-on reviews weren't enough when it comes to the Royal Oak Chrono, we also brought you the Royal Oak Chronograph ref. 26326ST 'Tribute to Italy' here.
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chrono was first released almost 20 years ago and today with a beefier 41 mm case and with no less than 12 references in between, this watch is still a favorite here at WCL. When a watch is this beautiful, our live photography speaks louder than the words you will read in this review.
The Dial & Case
The latest iteration of the Royal Oak Chrono under ref. 26320 maintains the same case design and finish as its predecessors but with a more robust 41 mm case diameter. While the stainless steel model with silvered dial ref. 26320ST.OO.1220ST.02 is one of the most versatile Royal Oaks out there, the 18K pink gold iteration of this watch, takes things to a much higher level. with its solid gold case and its finely crafted brown alligator leather strap.
Its silvery 'Grande Tapisserie' dial is very clean and well balanced and serves as the perfect backdrop for the 18K pink gold applied batons and matching hands. The chrono registers feature two different textures with snailed centers and flat borders.
The dial, features a 12-hour chrono register at 9 o'clock, a 30-minute chrono register at 3, a running seconds subdial at 6 and a handy date aperture between 4 and 5 o'clock. All rounded out by the beautiful double baton at 12 o'clock, the white gold hands and the applied 'AP' logo also at 12.
As mentioned before, its 41 mm 18K pink gold case features the same construction as all other Royal Oaks with a satin brushed finish and highly polished angles. Among all Royal Oaks, we feel that the case on the Royal Oak Chrono features the most beautiful and prominent chamfers in this collection. The screw-down pushers and crown feature the iconic hexagonal construction that marries the octagonal bezel to perfection.
While nothing compares to having a Royal Oak or a Royal Oak Chronograph on its iconic bracelet —the best bracelet in the watch industry—, the comfort that comes with wearing this special piece ref. 26320OR.OO.D088CR.01 on an alligator strap is worth the sacrifice. Since many watch collectors are concerned about the weight and flashiness of a solid gold piece on a full on gold bracelet, Audemars Piguet offers this elegant option to bring the 'bling' of this timepiece just a notch down. Now, while the strap is very nice looking, we feel that it could've been much thicker than what it is, and maybe slightly darker in color. The strap is fitted with the same 18K pink gold AP folding clasp as that on the pink gold Royal Oak Offshore Rubber Clad.
The Royal Oak Chronograph ref. 26320OR.OO.D088CR.01 features a solid case back to protect its beating heart. The automatic movement powering the Royal Oak Chrono is still the Audemars Piguet calibre 2385 based off of the legendary Frederic Piguet calibre 1185 —also used on the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Chronograph as caliber 1137 and the Breguet Marine Chronograph as calibre 576. This movement composed of 304 parts and 37 jewels, still remains the thinnest automatic chronograph calibre ever made measuring only 5.5mm in thickness and providing a power reserve of 40 hours when fully wound.
On the Wrist & Pricing
On the wrist, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph ref. 26320OR.OO.D088CR.01 wears true to its size but slightly smaller than the Royal Oak ref. 15400 —also in 41 mm— due to the thicker case construction on the first. If you want a gold AP but you don't want to be ultra flashy, the Royal Oak Chrono in 18K pink gold with strap is a perfect option. While many would think that the alligator strap makes this watch much dressier, it is not the case. The Royal Oak Chrono on strap, looks as good with a suit as it does with a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, and that my friends, is the beauty of the iconic design of the Royal Oak.
Sticker Price $38,300 USD. For more info on Audemars Piguet click here.