Designed in 1972, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak has been widely considered a cultural icon in watchmaking history.
The birth of the watch marked the beginning of a new genre for the watch market, a luxury stainless steel sports watch with an integrated bracelet that had never been seen before and caused an immediate sensation.
The fact that the watch is designed by the legendary Gérald Genta, and assembled by the best in the industry, including Stern Frères who worked on the Petite Tapisserie guilloché dial and Gay Frères who designed the integrated steel bracelet, only makes enrich the historical relevance of the model today.
To celebrate the model’s 50th anniversary, Phillips has curated a tight selection of the finest, rarest and best-preserved Royal Oak wristwatches known to be offered at ‘The Royal Oak 50th’, a themed sale on May 6. . 2022, in Geneva.
In a joint comment, Alexandre Ghotbi, Head of Watches, Continental Europe & Middle East, and Virginie Liatard Roessli, Watch Specialist and Head of Sale, declare: “To our knowledge, we have never seen or heard of such Assembly. of so many historically significant, rare and, in some cases, unique Royal Oak models brought together in one place or shown to the public.
Eight-eight lots will be offered, including the first reference number 5402 (the original 1972 Royal Oak) ever to be auctioned, and Karl Lagerfeld’s precious black PVD-coated Royal Oak model. Read below to discover a few of our picks.
Royal Oak Ref 5402ST A2
The 5402 is the first Royal Oak reference when it debuted in 1972, and the first 1,000 pieces ever produced are known to collectors as the A series. This watch bears the A2 inscription, making it the second Royal Oak ever made and the oldest reference 5402 ever to be auctioned. This particular watch has an added element of historical relevance as one of four Royal Oak models that were presented to the press and public at the opening of the Basel Watch Fair in 1972. The watch comes complete with its set complete with accessories and has never been worn.
Estimate CHF 200,000-400,000
Ref 5402ST – Karl Lagerfeld “Series A” black PVD coating
Another A 5402 series, this one is special because Phillips specialists believe it is the property of the legendary Karl Lagerfeld. The late fashion designer for Chanel and Fendi was known for wearing black PVD Royal Oak models in various sizes which he then gifted to friends and collaborators. This particular piece dates back to 1974 in Italy when Lagerfeld lived there, with further evidence in vintage photos showing Lagerfeld wearing a black PVD Ref 5402.
Estimate CHF 100,000-200,000
Ref 25831ST Tourbillon in stainless steel
This reference was made in 1997 during the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Royal Oak and represents the first time that the brand equipped the model with a tourbillon complication. Made in only 25 pieces, the 25831ST is super limited, and this example is number 1.
Estimate CHF 120,000-240,000
Ref 25829TP Openworked Perpetual Calendar in platinum and tantalum
Another rare Royal Oak, 25829TP was only made in 16 pieces and features a rare mix of metals – platinum and tantalum. Coupled with the mesmerizing visuals of the open perpetual calendar movement, it’s a lot we’re watching closely.
Estimate CHF 120,000-240,000
Ref 14802PT Jubilee in platinum
Launched for the 20th anniversary of the Royal Oak in 1992, ref 14802 was only made in an extremely limited edition of 20 platinum pieces. A few others featured the beautiful “Tuscan” blue dial with its unique texture, like this one offered by Phillips.
The watches are currently on tour ahead of the auction. You can preview them in:
New York March 24-28
Location: Phillips New York Office, 432 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10022
Taipei March 31 – April 3
Venue: Art Roastery x Louisa Coffee, No. 95, Section 5, Xinyi Road, Xinyi District, Taipei
Singapore April 7-9
Venue: St. Regis Hotel, 29 Tanglin Rd – Singapore 247911
London 21-24 April
Location: Phillips Head Office, 30 Berkeley Square, London Geneva
Geneva: May 4-8
Venue: Hotel La Reserve, Bellevue, Geneva
The 50th Royal Oak themed sale will be held at the Hotel La Réserve in Geneva on May 6, 2022.