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Watch & Learn: Stan Wawrinka’s Audemars Piguet

The French Open winner’s smashing timepiece

On the eve of the US Open, most fans were focused on Swiss tennis star Stan Wawrinka’s legendary backhand. But we spied Wawrinka paying ample attention to his wrist action at The Standard, High Line in New York City.

Wawrinka and his doubles partner (and fellow Audemars Piguet ambassador) Serena Williams were in town to be feted by the watchmaker for having such a spectacular season. To mark the occasion, Wawrinka wore a classic Royal Oak self-winding watch.

Tennis fans may argue about who is the best player on the tour, but no one can deny that the grand slam winner has earned his place in the top five. Similarly, the Royal Oak is a classic grail watch—a timepiece that most serious collectors need to have.

Stan Wawrinka’s Audemars Piguet Royal Oak self-winding watch

The great Gerald Genta designed The Royal Oak in 1970. At the time, Audemars Piguet was already well regarded for its horological innovations, but introducing a high-end steel sports watch was a revolutionary act.

It was also a hit. Over the next 45 years, AP has introduced offshoots, such as the Royal Oak Offshore, and upgrades (Wawrinka’s version is 18k rose gold), but the original design is still instantly recognizable. You could say that while the Royal Oak hasn’t changed much, the watch itself helped transform the way we wear watches, making it acceptable for a gentleman to wear a sports watch to more civilized spaces like dinner parties and boardroom presentations.

Which is why the Royal Oak reminds us of Wawrinka’s career. At the age of 30 Stan the Man’s game still seems to be evolving. In fact, its getting better and better. And Wawrinka’s model of the moment also keeps fine-tuning its performance. It has power with its bidirectional, oscillating weight automatic movement with ceramic ball bearings (and a 60-hour power reserve). It has great technique thanks to its ability to stop the balance whilst setting the time. And it has polish—just look at its dashing 18k pink gold case, black “Grande Tapisserie” dial, pink gold applied hour-markers and Royal Oak hands with luminescent coating.

We also love the fact that Wawrinka’s is a bit of an outsider, just like the Royal Oak was when it was introduced. And standing out from the crowd is the first step in building a legacy.