These watches are luxurious but bold, overly designed, ultra-thin but still wearable on a daily basis thanks to their robust-enough cases. The first watch launched was the 1972 Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. The two other members of the Holy Trinity, Patek and Vacheron, followed a few years later with the Nautilus and the 222 (which later became the Overseas). Multiple brands relied on the concept – Rolex with the Oysterquartz, IWC with the Ingenieur, Seiko, Omega and more. Few reached an iconic status but the 5 watches we have chosen, tick all the boxes.
AUDEMARS PIGUET ROYAL OAK JUMBO EXTRA-THIN
If there had to be one and only one, it would be the Royal Oak. Not that the other watches don’t deserve to be here, but the RO is the mother of all luxury sports watches, the one that put this genre on the map, back in 1972. With its octagonal bezel on top of a tonneau-shaped case, its integrated bracelet with a chain-like profile, its ultra-thin movement and its delicate hand-guilloché dial, it has become a classic. Hundreds of editions have been created since its inception, however, in our book, one truly deserves iconic status: the “Jumbo” 15202.
Available in steel, yellow gold, red gold or in a brand-new and desirable combination of titanium and platinum, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Extra-Thin ref. 15202 is the version that is most faithful to the original: 39mm case, ultra-thin, automatic, 2-hand, refined “Petite Tapisserie” guilloché dial… It might be extremely difficult to find at retailers and far from cheap, but nevertheless remains one of the definitive options when it comes to luxury sports watches.