Audemars Piguet Royal Oak "tropical"
The archives reveal that as early as 1991, technical plans were ready to relaunch a non-limited Royal Oak „Jumbo“ in the current collection, with a solid caseback. However, Steve Urquhart and Georges-Henri Meylan, who were co-directors of Audemars Piguet at the time, put the project on hold until the 1,000 examples of Model 14802 were sold out. That took four years, compared with the less than two years required to distribute the first 1,000 Royal Oak 5402 watches 20 years earlier.
In 1996, Audemars Piguet had a stock of 350 Calibre 2121 ébauches and the time had come to case them up. Model 15002 was finally launched in 1996. Its production was limited however, as out of the 14,000 watches planned for that year, only 100 were Royal Oak „Jumbo“ watches! The following years confirmed these extremely modest proportions. In three years, 174 of these timepieces were produced in steel and 12 in yellow gold.
From aesthetic and technical standpoints, Model 15002 was the one most closely resembling the 5402 from 1972 – so much so that many components were interchangeable with the latter. The architecture of the exterior showed little change: a monocoque case with a solid caseback, a Tapisserie dial, a tapered bracelet and an oversized seal. Only the angle of the bevelled bezel was slightly modified to reach 45 degrees, compared with 40 degrees for Models 5402, 14802 and future 15202. It is also worth noting the monogram AP at 12 o’clock and the AUDEMARS PIGUET signature featuring slightly more generous dimensions than in 1972. Although respectable, this utmost fidelity to the origins of the watch had reached its limits. In order to enter the third millennium in due style, the Royal Oak „Jumbo“ had to be renewed – and that is exactly what Model 15202 would accomplish. This model has an astonishing tropical dial and comes with original box & papers. Full AP service 2022, all parts remain original.
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