Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Dials 101

audemars piguet royal oak dials 101

In the upcoming year, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak will mark its 50th birthday. It was introduced in the midst of the Quartz Crisis in the 1970s and is the precursor to the class of watches we now know as luxury sports watches. It violated all of the then-current watch rules with its steel structure and geometric relief.

The Royal Oak has all the characteristics of a timeless style. Gerald Genta’s handwriting, its amazing shape, and workmanship are all wonderful qualities, but its distinctive dial design is the one that gets the most disregard.

The waffle-patterned face of the Royal Oak has been strongly linked to the brand and is known as “tapisserie” dials. Let’s examine the development of these dials and the various types that are accessible.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak White & Black Dial 15400ST (photo: Google)

Making the Royal Oak Dial

The dials on Royal Oaks have had a tapisserie pattern on them ever since the first one was sold to the Shah of Iran. The weaving design, which creates tiny squares, catches light and draws attention to the Royal Oak’s profile.

From the outset, AP outsourced the creation of their dials to Stern Creations, a renowned dial manufacturer. If the name Stern seems familiar, it may be because it was established by the Stern family, which later acquired the Geneva watchmaker Patek Philippe.

A Tapisserie dial in progress (photo: Google)

A burin, a fine metalworking chisel that copies the motif on a disc, is used for the delicate technique. The machine that creates the smaller lozenges in between the square knobs is used in conjunction with this technique.

Since 2012, Audemars Piguet has produced all dials internally after purchasing ‘guilloché’ manufacturing equipment from Canada and the United States. There are now 3 primary tapisserie dials that are used on Royal Oak timepieces.

Types of Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Dials

The Royal Oak’s dials have very slight variations, yet they are very obvious when you look closely.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak with a Petite Tapisserie Dial (photo: Google)

Petite Tapisserie

The initial Royal Oak Jumbos, the majority of Royal Oaks from the 1980s and 1990s, and the 40th anniversary Extra-Thin Royal Oak Jumbo models all have the Petite Tapisserie.

These have a more compact pattern and smaller pyramidal squares on the dial. There are 10 squares between the centre pinion, where the hands are affixed, and the date aperture on earlier Petite Tapisserie patterns that date back before 2012. In the more recent Petite Tapisserie dials, there are now only 9 of these.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak White Dial 15400ST (photo: Google)

Grande Tapisserie

On models released in the early 2000s and beyond, you can find the Grande Tapisserie dial. The squares on the Grande Tapisserie dial pattern are considerably bigger by at least 50% in comparison to the Petite Tapisserie pattern. The brand name “Audemars Piguet” and the label “Automatic” are also imprinted on flat portions of the dial.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Black Dial 15703 (photo: Google)
 

Méga Tapisserie

The greatest pattern on the dial of the Royal Oak is displayed on the Méga Tapisserie dial, as its name suggests. In contrast to the Grande Tapisserie, it is at least twice as big.

The majority of Royal Oak Offshore models, including the Themes, Safari, Diver, Bumblebee, and Rubber Clad watches, as well as every model in the new 43 – 44mm range of the Royal Oak Offshore line, use the Méga Tapisserie dial. The Mega Tapisserie dial differs from the other two in that the motifs are stamped rather than guillochéd.

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak has developed over the years while keeping the original’s rule-breaking attitude.