The 2022 Audemars Piguet Royal Oak "Jumbo" has arrived, and today's guide is a tribute to the outgoing AP Royal Oak Jumbo, the 15202. Since 2000, this Royal Oak Extra-Thin has carried the mantle of Audemars Piguet's most famous and coveted luxury watch. Directly descended from the Gerald Genta designed 1972 Royal Oak 5402, the 15202 "Jumbo" spent almost a quarter-century as the icon of Audemars Piguet and as an aspirational object for watch collectors around the world. This guide provides market prices, retail price, changes by year, and the technical specifications of the Royal Oak 15202ST.OO.1240ST.01.
Market prices for the Royal Oak 15202ST significantly exceed its final listed retail price of $33,200. Used Royal Oak Jumbos priced at $130-160,000 have been observed for sale on eBay, Chrono24, and preowned watch vendor.websites. It's easy to see why. First however, a history lesson is in order.
Audemars Piguet's 39mm Royal Oak "Jumbo," so named because it was large for its era, began its run as reference 5402 in 1972. Powered by a JLC-based automatic movement, crafted of stainless steel, and capped by a rounded octagonal bezel, the watch was provocative from the first. The AP Jumbo also helped to introduce the concept of ultra luxury stainless steel sports watches that were priced like precious metal dress watches. Reference 5402 was built from the 1970s into the mid 1980s. The 20th anniversary Royal Oak 14802 arrived in 1992 and introduced the first-ever sapphire display caseback on the Royal Oak Extra Thin. Royal Oak reference 15202 took up the title of "Jumbo" with the dawn of the new millennium in 2000.
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 15202 in all its iterations includes a 39mm package that is hand-finished to an exquisite degree of detail and refinement. Each Royal Oak 15202 bracelet requires 9-11 hours to finish by principally manual techniques. AP artisans in Le Brassus craft the case of the 15202 to the same standard as the bracelet, and the iconic octagonal bezel features a similar array of micro-surfaced facets. Each AP Royal Oak Jumbo bezel in steel features eight white gold hexagonal bolts that are aligned around the dial and fixed into position by nuts within the case. During the late "I series" serial numbers (~2015), case construction was simplified, and the monobloc case was replaced with the three-piece assembly. Audemars Piguet watchmakers upgraded the clasp design from a single-fold deployant to a double-folding deployant clasp in 2012.
Each Audemars Piguet 15202ST includes a "petite tapisserie" hobnail dial. The most famous and rarest mainstream version of this dial is galvanized blue. Historically, the blue dial Royal Oaks have been reserved for top Audemars Piguet dealers and factory boutiques. Each tapisserie dial is a hobnail matrix cut by a vintage pantograph lathe. The pantograph copies the pattern from a large template and transposes the design onto a brass dial blank that becomes the face of the Royal Oak. Historically, these dials were made by Stern Freres for AP, but since 2012, Audemars Piguet has made the tapisserie dials in-house. All hands and luminescent indices are crafted from white gold
Although Jaeger LeCoultre originally designed the caliber 920 ebauche for Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, and Audemars Piguet, only Audemars Piguet continues to make this movement in-house. The automatic caliber has a power reserve of 40 hours, a Gyromax-style free sprung balance, and extensive hand finishing. Prior to 2012, Audemars Piguet also fitted an elaborate skeletonized, beveled, and customized rotor featuring the "AP" company initials, but this was simplified considerably in 2012.
Audemars Piguet replaced the Royal Oak 15202ST.OO.1240ST.01 with the new reference 16202ST.OO.1240ST.01 in January of 2022.