Widely credited as being the world’s first truly luxury steel sports watch, the Royal Oak by Audemars Piguet is still one of the world most lusted after timepieces. With its iconic integrated design, painstakingly beautiful bracelet finishing, and instantly recognisable dial, the Royal Oak is a sight to behold. If, that is, you are deemed worthy enough to purchase one.
The Royal Oak carries waitlists as long as the yellow pages at this point, purchasing this famed sports watch now means paying ungodly amounts of money on the grey market. Carrying an RRP of around $26,000 the Royal Oak has a slew of worthy competitors just waiting to adorn your wrist, without paying the pre-owned premiums.
The Zenith Defy classic
At less than half the RRP of the Royal Oak, Zenith offers an incredible value proposition with the Defy classic. The DEFY Classic incorporates a 41mm Titanium case with an integrated full Titanium bracelet. The entirety of the case and bracelet is finely brushed and offers an extremely similar visual impact as the Royal Oak.
Powered by a quintessential automatic movement, the Elite in-house manufactured and developed calibre has been a part of Zenith’s offerings for over 25 years. Ultra-thin in its proportions and irreproachable in its performance, the Elite provides a power reserve of 50 hours with its automatic winding mechanism. The watch is also realistically swimmable with 100 metres of water resistance.
RRP $10,700 AUD.
The Maurice Lacroix Aikon
Perhaps the most visually comparable to the Royal Oak, but certainly not comparable in pricing, the Aikon automatice from Maurice Lacroix is a viable, budget friendly alternative to AP’s juggernaut.
Renowned for its high-quality designs and its innovation, watch brand Maurice Lacroix has worked the AIKON to give it finishing of unparalleled perceived value.
From a distance, you may even be forgiven for mistaking the Aikon for its Royal Oak muse. Remarkably, the Aikon also sports 200 metres of water resistance, making it a real contender for daily wear.
RRP $3,150 AUD
The Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Steel
Bvglari have been making significant waves in the luxury watch market for a number of years now. The introduction of the original Octo finissimo saw the brand finally achieve the recognition it so rightly deserved.
However, not until the launch of the Octo Finissimo steel, and incorporating 100 metres of water resistance, did the watch become a real contender in the high-end sports watch category.
A true icon of the 21st century, the Octo Finissimo Automatic watch channels the rare fusion of edgy Italian design and Swiss engineering with its innovative satin-polished finishes. With its ultra-appealing look and uncompromisingly forward-thinking mechanics, the ground-breaking timepiece is emblematic of Bvlgari’s integral bond between jewellery savoir-faire and watchmaking art. The Maison’s creative approach in working modern materials is here employed to set unforeseen design trends through the world of its Swiss-made timepieces.
RRP $17,800 AUD
The Girrard-Perregaux Laureato
In 1975, Girard-Perregaux presented a sporty and original model equipped with an octagonal polished bezel and an integrated bracelet. In 2017, the curtain raised on a new chapter in the history of the Laureato model.
A successful combination between assertive – sporty lines, and highly classic elegance. The Laureato 42 mm is a daily watch offering a strong integrated design, with a reliable in-house manufactured mechanical movement.
RRP $11,600 AUD
The Cartier Santos Blue
In 1904, Louis Cartier granted the wish of the famous Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos Dumont: to be able to tell the time while flying. The birth of one of the first ever wristwatches sealed the bonds of friendship between these two pioneers. The rounded angles of the dial, seamless curve of the horns, and the exposed screws made for an iconic watch that would inspire countless reinterpretations.
The blue dial in the reference WSSA0013 offers a modern interpretation on Louis Cartier’s iconic design. The Santos now also features quick change bracelets, and quick-change links for perfect individual sizing.