audemars-piguet-royal-oak-iconic (2)
Audemars Piguet

If you're a watch nobody (like myself), you may not be familiar with the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève; it's basically the world's pre-eminent watch awards ceremony, the Oscars for timepieces. Most of the big players received platitudes this year, but Audemars Piguet's Royal Oak may have taken home the finest prize of them all.

At the 2021 Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG), Bulgari's Octo Finissimo took home the grand prize, the Aiguille d'Or, while other covetable nods were snagged by Grand Seiko's Hi-Beat 36000 80 Hours Caliber 9SA5 (Men's Watch Prize) and Piaget's Altiplano Ultimate Automatic (Mechanical Exception Prize).

But it was Audemars Piguet's Royal Oak "Jumbo" Extra-Thin — one of our favorite models from Only Watches 2021 — that nabbed the Iconic Watch Prize, which is basically a lifetime achievement award for the model that has been revamped that particular year.

The Royal Oak "Jumbo" Extra-Thin lives up to its name by slimming the classic timepiece without losing that iconic shape. I am of the opinion that you can't go wrong by gently flattening a timeless shape: Reese's THiNS just taste better than the regular peanut butter cups, for some reason.

"While the watchmaking industry had to reinvent itself during the pandemic, many people educated themselves about Haute Horlogerie," said Audemars Piguet CEO François-Henry Bennahmias. "Today, we see a rise of very young clients fascinated by Swiss fine watchmaking around the world so let’s make them dream with our craft. The best is yet to come."

AP has tinkered with the Royal Oak in crazy, blinged-out iterations and flashy women's variants but it's no surprise that a slightly tweaked version of the OG took home the prize: what could possibly be more "iconic" than a no-frills, smoothed-down Royal Oak?

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