Ironically, the once-unfathomably-expensive Royal Oak is now far from being the most expensive stainless steel sport watch in the market, with other watchmakers jumping on the bandwagon, seeing the potential, and making their own attempts to gain sway in this unique market segment. But enough about what the Royal Oak was – let’s look at what it is today.

Reference 15400 is the latest stainless steel Royal Oak, and it is one of the newest branches on a family tree as large as the collection’s namesake. This model was introduced in 2012 and it replaced the smaller ref. 15300, size being the chief distinction between the two, but one that has its importance (more on that later). There is, of course, also the ref. 15202, the so-called “Jumbo.” It retains the original 39mm diameter and an ultra-thin design, essentially acting as a reissue of the original 1972 Royal Oak. However, it comes at a price premium, is difficult to get your hands on, and is considered a more niche, collector-focused product. It’s great, don’t get us wrong (we love the new yellow gold version too), but it’s tough to really call it the mainline Royal Oak. That title goes to the ref. 15400.

So, for now, let’s dig a little deeper into Audemars Piguet’s current hero watch.