The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak was released in 1972 as the world's first stainless steel luxury sports watch. Critics were initially skeptical about the Royal Oak's larger size, but came to love it with time. The Royal Oak was the first Audemars Piguet timepiece to sport the iconic octagonal contours. It initially employed a custom Jaeger-LeCoultre movement.
The Royal Oak's roots can be traced back to the days of the Napoleonic Wars, when the British Royal Navy ruled the sea. The Fame-class ship of the line, known as the HMS Royal Oak, served as inspiration for both the watch's name and unique octagonal shape. The wood of the HMS Royal Oak was markedly distinct from that of other ships, and the octagonal porthole of the HMS Royal Oak was iconic. Audemars Piguet employed an octagonal shape for the bezel screws and crown of the watch. The technique used to install the specially-shaped screws remains a secret to this day.
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