Whether or not you were a fan of Neil Patrick Harris’ turn at hosting the 87th annual Academy Awards (we were), it’s hard to deny that the show was a visual treat. Especially for watch fans who noticed that NPH sported not one but two versions of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Self Winding during the show—an 18k rose gold model with a black dial and a stainless steel number with a blue tapisserie face.
Harris is a multitalented entertainer who can sing, dance and act with the best of them. Likewise, the Royal Oak offers something for every kind of watch lover. Collectors value the classic Audemars Piguet caliber 3120 automatic movement, which beats at that beats at 3Hz or 21,600 vibrations per hour. The bridges of the mechanism are also finely finished with Cotes de Geneve striping, diamond graved beveling, inverted sailing and circular graining on the main plate—pure watch porn that you can peep through the sapphire case back.
Meanwhile, style conscious fans are attracted to the look of this iconic timepiece. Legendary designer Gérald Genta created the first Royal Oak in 1970s—the octagonal bezel secured by eight visible, hexagonal gold screws was inspired by a diver’s helmet. Unlike its bulkier brother, the Royal Oak Offshore, its 41mm sized is nicely balanced by its elegant and thin 9.80mm thick case.
Basically the first haute horology sports watch, The Royal Oak’s chunky design, visible gasket and screws and integrated bracelet caused quite a commotion when it launched. Today, the design has mellowed enough that 43 years after its introduction, Harris can wear one with a tux and not get called out on the red carpet.