Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak 50th Anniversary Is Celebrated In Fabulous Culinary Style

The 50th anniversary of the Royal Oak, a horological icon if there ever was one, was marked by events across the globe. For the region, Audemars Piguet celebrated by hosting a series of dinners that would take their invited guests on a journey through the last five decades.

In Malaysia, the venue was Sentul Depot – a place of its own history, having began as a railway workshop over a century ago. Past the entrance hall which featured an exhibit of vintage Royal Oak watches and a watchmaker’s workbench where one could dabble with the finer points of case assembly, dinner took place under the high ceilings of the converted warehouse building.

The food for the Royal Oak 50th anniversary was attended to by two of Malaysia’s rising culinary stars: Chef Aidan Low of Akar, and Chef Eddie Ng of Okaju. Together, they created a six-course menu, with each course a re-interpretation of an iconic dish from a decade the Royal Oak has witnessed. A vol-au-vent pastry represented the 1970s, while salmon with a fresh herbs and light sauce was served up in the style of nouvelle cuisine of the 1980s. The 1990s saw an ambitious Le Gargouillou salad that consisted of 40 types of local vegetables, flowers, and herbs, followed up by a tuna tartare inspired by the molecular gastronomy of the 2000s. The 2010s main course was a duck breast that exemplified the farm-to-table movement; the dessert, representing the present-day, was a French-Japanese mille-feuille exemplifying today’s interest in fusion cuisine.

Such a walk through the decades was a reminder of the Royal Oak’s enduring appeal. It was officially launched on 16 April, 1972, in Basel, and would go on to be a pillar of the watch industry. At the time, its design and positioning was avant-garde: nothing quite like Gerald Genta’s faceted case with integrated bracelet and octagonal bezel had been seen before on such a scale, and as a meticulously decorated high-end timepiece but one delivered in stainless steel, it essentially invented the luxury sports watch. That genre has gone on to become a fixture throughout the industry, but there remains a special appeal to the Royal Oak – the one that came first.

Audemars Piguet

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