The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 15202ST’s discontinuation announcement startled the watch-collecting community lately.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Watch is a luxury watch that was first manufactured in 1972. The watch is known for its iconic design and its high-quality craftsmanship.
The Ref. 15202ST, so called Jumbo was considered by many to be a “holy grail” timepiece because of its extremely low manufacturing numbers and the resulting year-long waiting lists. Audemars Piguet has stated that the Royal Oak 15202ST will be phased out in 2022 to favor a new timepiece in its lineup. Gérald Genta’s Ref. 5402 design was first shown in 1972, and since its introduction in 2012, the Ref. 15202ST has been a fixture of the manufacturer’s core range.
Patek Philippe’s Nautilus) 5711/1A-010 was just discontinued, and Audemars Piguet’s announcement comes right on the heels of its demise. It’s not quite over yet, but collectors have been scrambling to get their hands on these references, with prices on the “grey” and “secondhand” markets soaring. There is no waiting list or “first-come, first-served” approach for these watches, viewed as an investment item in more ways than one. There was a huge emotional component to the first remarks made by the public. This with the 5711 news “makes me want to stop following the watch industry almost entirely,” read one remark, while “tough being an aficionado these days” commented another.
Despite the many who chose to criticize the new course of events, they call to mind the strange tendency to vanish fan favorites. It’s a necessary evil for an insider to remove references that have gotten overly popular. Patek Philippe’s president, Thierry Sterne, criticized the Baselworld 2019 Nautilus flood as “extremely risky.” He went on to say, “We can’t even place one watch on top of our pyramid.” When you stop and think about it, it all makes sense. To allow the Nautilus 5711/1A-010 to eclipse the rest of the Patek Philippe line and divert attention away from future launches. The company’s demise might be triggered by any apparent stagnation in its portfolio. Due to “too many speculators buying,” Christie’s former director of timepieces John Reardon praised the decision.
Consider the recent statement from Audemars Piguet as a way of calming things down. Of course, we’ll all miss the Royal Oak 15202ST and the rich heritage it represents. Nonetheless, it’s intriguing to see how the manufacturer plans to outdo this specific comparison. New forms, new materials, and new motions are only a few possibilities. Francois-Henry Bennahmias, the company’s CEO, has a reputation for keeping his mouth shut. During a recent video conference held by the AP Social Club, he stated cryptically, “We will not be making the 15202ST next year, but it will be replaced by something else, and for particular reasons that we will not talk about now.”