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New Incoming: "Come in 15300, your time is up......"

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I've had an AP itch to scratch for a while now, having been a keen admirer of this style of watch for quite some time however a combination of lack of watch box space and not being able to find one at the right price and the right condition meant a fairly long wait to realise a desire. Fast forward 6+ months, endless hours scouring the net, visiting shops and bumping WTB's I had almost given up hope....then out of the blue one pops up briefly on SC ticking all the boxes and of course I miss it by a couple of hours....isn't it always the way. Anyways what was meant to be was meant to be as a couple of weeks later a chance random email was received and less than 12 hours later and this puppy was mine. Incidentally, it happens to be the same one I missed on SC. It's a funny old game this...

So what did we pick up, well itís a white dial reference 15300 (15300ST.OO.1220ST.01 to be precise but what's a couple of extra letters between friends). True to the original Royal Oak 5402 released over 40 years ago it has the trademark octagonal bezel, 8 hexagonal screws, angular case, mixture of polished and brushed finish and waffle style 'tapisserie' dial. A bit about the dialÖ.this type of dial is made using traditional techniques similar to that of a pantograph where a disc is fixed to a machine on one side and a burin chisels away at the disc as it follows the tapisserie pattern on an oversized model of the Royal Oak on the other side. Impressive stuff. And the result, a 3D grid like texture which my wife referred to as 'different'. She's not wrong. In this day and age where companies look to utilise modern technology and super sophisticated techniques in their watchmaking itís quite refreshing to see such an age old tradition being preserved. Itís also hard to believe that only up until 3 years ago these dials were manufactured by a third party, Stern Creations, founded by the Stern Family and owner of Patek, itís a pretty incestuous world this watchmaking. At 39mm this would ordinarily be a little on the small side for me, however the integrated case and bracelet make this wear much larger (more like 40/41mm).

So how does it wear? Surprisingly well actually - the case shape means a snug fit across the whole wrist and the bracelet is easily the most comfortable I have ever worn. Sized to my 6.75 inch wrists it weighs a respectable 132g (my Rolex Explorer II comes in at 154g and Datejust II at 148g) and fits comfortably under a shirt cuff which is where it currently gets most of its wear. The biggest negative, and also the biggest positive, of owning this watch in my view is the finish. Much has been made of the techniques AP use in getting this finish and boy does it look goodÖ.the negative being the amount of babying required to ensure it stays like that. Particular note should be made to avoid rushing around during rush hour wearing this, train stations during peak time are a no go, busy shopping malls a big no no....there doesn't seem to be any shortage of bag wielding maniacs out there so be careful RO owners. So far my OCD has not reacted well to owning this.

So that all being said was it worth the wait? You betcha! This watch has exceeded all expectations, the finish is simply breath-taking and the way the light catches the contrasting angles is simply mesmerising. I've never come across a dial with more subtle detail in my life, from normal wrist position you just don't realise how intricate it is and it's only when you get in really close do you notice the guilloche effect within guilloche effect. Sublime.

So enough of my waffle (excuse the pun), it's time to let the pictures do the talking...

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