Super-rare, near-mint, blue-dial, full-set example of quite possibly the most iconic watch of the past half-century.
This mid-size version (ref. 14790, discontinued years ago) is in remarkable physical and working condition, especially for a watch manufactured in 2004. It is extremely accurate and has only a few minor surface scuffs on a couple of links that are only visible from certain angles. There are a few others available for sale but none as pristine and complete, with all original boxes and papers, including outer and inner box (in absolutely perfect condition), the original warranty booklet stamped by the authorized dealer, owner's manual, hangtag, and pillow. It has only been serviced by Audemars Piguet and I do not believe it was ever refinished, as the depth of the hexagonal bolts in the bezel suggests.
As the original luxury steel sports watch with an integrated bracelet, designed by legendary watch and jewelry designer Gérald Genta in 1972, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak helped to revive the luxury mechanical watch industry during the quartz crisis and spawned an entirely new watch segment that, to this day, outsells all other segments. With its harsh industrial design and the price tag of a Jaguar E-Type (and a dozen Rolex Submariners!), it was extremely polarizing and not immediately embraced by customers or the industry. But after it was seen on the wrist of Italian playboy industrialist Gianni Agnelli, sales picked up, AP manufactured another batch, and the rest is history. It was an existential gamble that paid off in spades for AP and the swiss mechanical watch industry, inspiring just about every other luxury watch brand to launch steel models with integrated bracelets, including Gerard-Perregaux (Laureato, 3 years later), Patek Philippe (Nautilus, 4 years later), and Vacheron Constantin, IWC and Rolex (222, Ingenieur and Oysterquartz, 5 years later). Today, steel sports watches are the most popular and sought after models in the catalogs of most luxury brands. And they can all be traced back to the trail-blazing Royal Oak, a true icon that will forever hold a place of distinction in the annals of watchmaking history.
This model has a 36mm x 8.1mm stainless steel case (which wears like a 39-40mm) with an integrated bracelet and folding clasp, white gold luminescent hands and indices, and the dark blue "Grande Tapisserie" dial -- the rarest of the dial variants only available at AP boutiques and premium dealers. The brushed steel case and bracelet with polished bevels are exquisitely hand-finished with exacting precision to an excruciating level of detail. This model embodies the original Gerald Genta design with mono-bloc case construction and ultra-thin profile. And with a screw-down crown, the watch enjoys 50m of water resistance. Because the solid case back is part of the case, the movement is loaded through the dial side and sealed under the dial and signature octagonal bezel with eight white gold hexagonal bolts. Though not visible, the in-house calibre 2225 (derived from Jaeger LeCoultre calibre 889) is hand-finished, beats at 28,000 vph (4 Hz.) and is adjusted in six positions making it extremely accurate, includes a quick-set date and hacking seconds, and features a 21 kt. gold rotor.
In the words of AP, which fitted the original 1972 model with a similar JLC movement, the Royal Oak has "a body of steel and a heart of gold."
Functions: hours, minutes, (hacking) center seconds, (quick-set) date.
Lug-to-lug measurement: 46.5mm
|Hands||Luminous, Royal Oak Hands|
|Functions||Hours, Minutes, Seconds, Date|
|Bracelet Strap||Stainless Steel|
|Box & Papers||Original Box and Original Papers|
|Other||Original Box and Original Papers|
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