Book Look: At The AP House with Audemars Piguet and Assouline
To continue the 50th Anniversary celebration of the iconic Royal Oak, Audemars Piguet partnered with the equally iconic Assouline publishing house, to create a coffee-table book for enthusiasts all around.
After over two years of research, acclaimed journalist Bill Prince delves headfirst into not only the past 50 years of the Royal Oak, but the Audemars Piguet brand itself to fully explain and illustrate how the watch became the icon it is today.
Filled with almost 300 pages detailing the Royal Oak’s iconic six-decade story, the exquisite tome showcases more than just the watch mechanics, but also the cultural impact the timepiece has made—and will undoubtedly continue to make.
From Iconoclast to Icon
Few watches have been as uniquely enduring as the Royal Oak, especially when you consider the watch was designed and sold at a mechanical premium during the watch industry’s quartz crisis. When it comes to the Royal Oak, it genuinely takes wearing one to fully understand its magic.
During a breakfast at AP House in New York’s Meatpacking District, publisher Alex Assouline spoke on this very notion, having just been gifted one for his 30th birthday. “I was gifted one for my 30th birthday,” he shares. “I didn’t fully understand it until I put it on, and now, I can’t stop staring.”
Author Bill Prince attributes that phenomenon to the very design and weight of the watch, noting in his research that he found that the magical moment of having one on your wrist was something many of the brand’s enthusiasts shared. Speaking of those enthusiasts, the book is filled with excerpts from the brand’s loyal supporters like Elle McPherson, John Mayer, Serena Williams, and Kevin Hart, to name a few.
Furthering his thesis on the watch’s icon status, Prince further theorizes another reason for the watches popularity that really hits home: the Royal Oak appeals to the young. So much so that Prince debated naming not just a chapter, but the entire book, “Forever Young.”
Full confession, here: Without a doubt my favorite brand and my favorite watch, the Royal Oak, had already appealed to the teenage J.J., a J.J. that knew a tenth of what she knows about watches now. But I did know one thing about the Royal Oak: ownership gave me membership into a club of the cool.
If You Know, You Know
The watch always had an appeal to a different kind of crowd: artists over bankers and creatives over number crunchers. Producer and DJ Mark Ronson famously bought a gold midsize reference after seeing it on “all the cool kids in Paris.” And who can ever forget Karl Lagerfeld’s black-PVD model that recently sold at Phillips. Transcending decades and tastes, the Royal Oak has long lived up to its status as an icon.
Despite the out-of-the-box gamble that Gérald Genta’s Royal Oak design was in 1972, the timepiece has always maintained its subtle sophistication and subliminal appeal. Though in the past decade it has certainly skyrocketed past the “if you know, you know” crowd, the Royal Oak will always be the utterly cool counterpoint to its steel competitors.
In The Pages
Royal Oak: From Iconoclast to Icon is a book sure to live on many coffee tables, even until the Royal Oak’s next significant birthday. While fans will want a copy for themselves, it’s also the perfect party favor for someone who appreciates a celebration of Audemars Piguet’s most beloved icon.