My entrance into high end watches started with a Panerai. When you have only one nice watch, and it is a Panerai, you learn early on about strap options, and all the wonderful combinations you can create.
With Audemars Piguet, it is a bit different. Firstly, AP always seems to supply the best possible match for each watch they sell. Second, changing a strap on an AP Royal Oak or Royal Oak Offshore is not quite as easy as a Panerai or other springbar attached strap. So you need to have the correct tools, steady hands, and a bit of nerve if you want to work on something like the End of Days, where one little slip could cause much anxiety.
When you have a bracelet model, perhaps you want to try a strap. As we have discussed, recently too, sourcing authentic AP parts required for this change is not always the easiest thing to do. Policies vary by region, and even in a single market, the rules change and evolve over time. Sometimes you can purchase something, sometimes not.
I started with the Royal Oak Chronograph reference 26300 and enjoyed it for a while on the supplied steel bracelet. I think all of the dimensions on this 39mm Royal oak are perfect, and that includes the sturdy bracelet. Definitely thicker and heavier than Jumbo owners are accustomed to, but it fits this robust watch wonderfully.
Despite the wonderful look provided by this watch right out of the box, I still saw some nice possibilities to match it with a strap. If you have never held an AP without a strap attached, it is a cool experience. I’m not sure we always realize how heavy these watches are until we handle the case alone.
My first attempt mounted the watch on the Royal Oak Chronograph Tour Auto edition strap. The perforations in the black leather definitely match well with this “panda” dial.
Serious on the wrist. Still, I could not help but wonder if some colored stitching would elevate it even higher.
I got sidetracked a bit when I was able to hunt down a strap I had always kept an eye on, the Royal Oak Chronograph City of Sails rubber strap. I’m not sure it is as rare as a unicorn or hen’s teeth, but at the time I acquired it, the task was difficult.
The smooth black rubber is awesome on this watch. The strap itself is also more pliable than the same style rubber strap mounted on something like a rubberclad Offshore. Quite enjoyable, comfortable, and pleasing to the eye. A sports watch all the way now.
But that perforated leather was so unique, I had to place a custom order for my vision. And behold, the original “ROC Racer”. This is it for me, the best combination of an AP Royal Oak Chronograph in steel.
Red is so commonplace on sports watches, and AP certainly has utilized the bold color frequently over the years. But for me, it is most effective as an accent, and to carry that accent across the entire piece is what makes this pairing so special.
As always, any watch or strap or combination comes down to the feelings it evokes while on the wrist. The ROC Racer never disappointed.
I have really enjoyed these past few weeks and seeing all of the special Royal Oak Chronographs posted. This 26300 is not a limited edition, and while discontinued, it is still able to be found. With a little creativity and authentic AP parts, you can really take this model in a different direction.
I seriously thought about acquiring a 39 mm ROC. I asked the AP Boutique to sell me the needed parts for converting the ROC to a strap watch. They refused…
So I did not buy the watch but two other chronographs. The other came today, the other early next week and I’m considering over the weekend to get a third. It’s a pity that I can’t buy the ROC.
But you have a lovely watch there!
I can’t believe I had two of those pass through my hands. I’d love to have one back.
No message bodyI must say I especially like this rubber design on pics, even if I think I would go for a natural material if I was considering a change (and if I had one haha…).
I’m not a fan of the ROCs’ layout usually but I love this one (I was really thinking about getting it 2 or 3 years ago).
I wish it was easier to switch from bracelet to straps on the ROs and Nautiluses, even if I would keep them with the bracelet as far as I’m concerned.
Thanks for sharing Michael.
This message has been edited by Mark in Paris on 2015-02-20 08:45:28 The tour auto strap with red stitching looks great with your ROC.
No question about it. I live every dial color for this generation, too. But yours is probably the most versatile, and it is one of the most beautiful sporty chronographs I can think of. I like all the combinations of strap and watch you show, but I think you ended on the best one.
I’m glad you posted these pics Michael, makes my decision to change out the bracelet easier.Still trying to convince AP to sell me the plots,but not having much luck.
Looks equally fantastic on both bracelet and strap!Wear it in good health Mikey!
-MWI think is one of the beauty of this brand you can mix it with leather, rubber, bracelet and the watch will look pretty nice!!
Great pictures of the watch!