Our All-Time Favourite Versions of the Soon-Replaced Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo 15202
Looking back at the best of a watch that will soon be upgraded.
The Royal Oak Jumbo, a watch known under its current guise as the reference 15202, is one of the most sought-after and desirable watches produced by the Swiss industry. Its popularity has reached far beyond just the small circle of seasoned collectors. It’s a cult object, a design icon. Yet, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo Extra-Thin 15202 will leave us soon. We also know from the words of the brand’s CEO that its replacement, due for the 50th anniversary of the model, is expected to be presented soon. And we also that the legendary JLC-based automatic calibre 2121 will be replaced by a new, in-house-produced movement. What, when, how…? We still don’t know. But what we can do for now is to look at what are MONOCHROME’s top 5 versions of the emblematic Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo 15202.
The Steel Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo 15202ST
Let’s start with THE obvious one… The most classic, most emblematic, most relevant, most praised and most historically faithful version of the Royal Oak Jumbo, the stainless steel and blue dial 15202ST. In fact, if there was only one, it should be this version. Why, because it is the closest you can get from the original concept developed in 1972 with the 5402ST. This version, first released in 2000 before being extensively revised in 2012 for the 40th anniversary of the model, has it all; the same 39mm stainless steel, a movement that is rather close from the movement used in 1972, a dial with the same Petite Tapisserie pattern and the same Bleu Nuit, Nuage 50 colour and, of course, the same overall design with octagonal bezel, extra-thin case and integrated steel bracelet. Sure, manufacturing techniques have evolved over the years and a 15202ST feels slightly different from a 5402ST, but the overall spirit is there. So yes, the star of the collection, the stainless steel Royal Oak Jumbo Extra-Thin with a blue dial had to be part of this list, if not simply on top of it! It will be missed, and let’s hope the new model will live up to its ancestors.
The White Gold, Salmon dial Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo 15202BC
The very concept of a salmon-coloured dial on a Royal Oak Jumbo isn’t new. It actually is a 30 years old concept, first seen in 1992 with the “Jubilee” version 14802ST launched for the 20th anniversary of the model, also marking the return of the Jumbo after about 10 years of absence. It remains, nevertheless, a relatively rare combination, and certainly an extremely attractive one. In 2019, Audemars Piguet presented its new Royal Oak Jumbo Extra-Thin 15202BC, the last 2 letters indicating a case and bracelet made of white gold… If that was possibly a disappointment for some collectors expecting to see this watch in a stainless steel case, the result, with the rose gold-coloured Petite Tapisserie dial and the unique shine of white gold is simply stunning. A heavy and fairly expensive watch (EUR 68,300, not even talking about pre-owned prices), it is also a very rare watch that is a boutique exclusive edition, produced in very low quantities (in the low three-digit pieces a year). Still, the 15202BC is such a stunning edition of the Royal Oak Jumbo that we clearly want to see it back when the model will be rejuvenated.
The Titanium/Platinum Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo 15202IP
While the two editions above were somehow rather classic for the Royal Oak family, the reference 15202IP we’re going to look at now was, when presented in 2018, far more intriguing, as it brought its lot of novelties. First of all, its case is made mostly of brushed titanium, and it combines with polished platinum elements – for the bezel and the bracelet’s mid-links – enhancing the architectural design of the RO. Second, its dial… Still using the classic Petite Tapisserie pattern, Audemars Piguet gave this Royal Oak Jumbo 15202IP a stunning gradient/smoked effect, with a bright blue colour in the centre gradually changing to black at the periphery. The combination of this lively dial with the polished surface of the bezel made quite an impact and changed the style of the watch more than you can expect. And the use of titanium for the case/bracelet makes it a joy to wear. Unfortunately, we’re talking about a dream watch, produced in a limited run of 250 pieces. But what a striking edition…
The Yellow Gold Case and Dial Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo 15202BA
Enters the big boy, the yellow gold edition with a yellow gold-coloured dial, presented at the SIHH 2017. Quite the Midas touch, arguably. I know, this is by far the less discreet edition of the Royal Oak Jumbo Extra-Thin, and yes, it’s sort of a guilty pleasure. I had that discussion with my boss Frank where we both had this feeling of not being able to admit we actually love this full gold edition. In fact, there’s nothing to be shameful about. While it also exists with a classic dark blue dial, this yellow gold on yellow gold edition has not only an incredible presence but it also has a rather surprising coherence in its shine and “demonstrativeness.” Surely, the Royal Oak Jumbo 15202BA is a watch that requires a certain level of self-confidence and it’s a watch that you’ll need to assume, but at the same time, it really has that “je ne sais quoi” that makes it terribly cool.
The unique but stunning Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo 15202XT for Only Watch 2021
Yes, we know, it’s a unique piece, and thus a completely inaccessible piece. But just look at it… It might well be one of the most stunning editions of the Royal Oak (all references included) ever done. Presented at the occasion of charity auction Only Watch 2021, this version was the last of the Royal Oak Jumbo 15202 ever to be released. And, as such, it managed to sale for a record price of CHF 3.1 Million. The whole idea with this unique 15202XT was to bring new textures, new colours and new materials. The case is made of matte, sandblasted titanium, giving it its darker grey colour, and greatly contrasting with the bright polished chamfers. The bezel and bracelet’s studs are made of Bulk Metallic Glass, a palladium-based alloy used in micro-electronics with a non-crystalline nature, and highly resistant to wear and corrosion. And the Petite Tapisserie dial is dark grey, finalizing the monochromatic look of this edition. Clearly, if Audemars Piguet wants to make a limited edition of the upcoming new model in the same style, sign me in immediately!
For more details about the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo Extra-Thin, please visit www.audemarspiguet.com.
With any luck the replacement won’t have the waffle dial