Audemars Piguet - The Geneva Watch Auction: XIV Geneva Friday, November 5, 2021 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Audemars Piguet
    Year: 1979
    Reference No: 5402BA
    Movement No: 197'937
    Case No: B34'763 caseback further stamped N°437
    Model Name: Royal Oak
    Material: 18K yellow gold
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 2121, 36 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: 18K yellow gold Audemars Piguet bracelet measuring 190mm max
    Clasp/Buckle: 18k white gold AP deployant clasp
    Dimensions: 39mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Audemars Piguet fitted box.

  • Catalogue Essay

    According to Audemars Piguet archives the present watch was made in 1979 and sold to Switzerland.

    The story of Audemars Piguet Royal Oak is that of what legends are made of.

    In the late 60s/early 70s Audemars Piguet, like many other traditional Swiss manufactures, was facing the crisis brought on by the arrival to the market of cheap quartz timepieces and they were looking for a way to surprise the market with a game changing timepiece.

    Legend has it that in April 1971, Georges Golay, Audemars Piguet’s Managing Director, contacted Gerald Genta requesting a steel watch fit for all occasions, the likes of which had never seen before and the design needed to be submitted….the following morning.

    The next morning Genta showed him the design of a watch that would not only save Audemars Piguet but change the face of watchmaking. The Royal Oak was born and launched a year later at Basel Fair 1972 before the incredulous faces of the industry.

    The rest as they say is history.

    Genta later admitted that he had got the idea of the octagonal dial with visible screws after watching a documentary about commercial diving where they used an octagonal piece to attach the helmet to the dive suit.

    When launched the Royal Oak ref 5402 in steel cost more than any gold watch on Audemars Piguet’s catalogue. However, in 1977 the brand decided to up the ante by offering a new Royal Oak reference 5402 lavishly clad in yellow gold once again changing the game by offering a luxury leisure watch in a precious metal.

    Produced for only a few short years and discontinued in 1980 the present example bears number 437 and delights thanks to its wonderful state of preservation, beautiful grey dial and champagne date disc.

    Ref 5402 in yellow gold are rare and few appear on the auction market and when one does it offers a unique opportunity that should not be missed.

  • Artist Biography

    Audemars Piguet

    Swiss • 1881

    A specialist in the manufacture of complications since it was established in 1881, Audemars Piguet never ceases to impress with a rich history of creating bold, even audacious, timepieces underpinned by traditional watchmaking at its finest. This Le Brassus-based Swiss manufacturer is one of only two major manufacturers still owned by the founding family. Since its earliest days, AP is considered a leader in the field of minute repeaters and grande complication pocket and wristwatches. The brand is devoted to preserving the history of watchmaking in the Vallée de Joux, showcased at their superb museum in Le Brassus.

    Today, the brand is best known for its Royal Oak models, a revolutionary luxury sports watch launched in 1972. Other key models include early minute repeating wristwatches, vintage chronograph wristwatches, such as the oversized reference 5020, perpetual calendar watches and the Royal Oak Offshore, first introduced in 1993.

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Ref. 5402BA
An elegant and rare yellow gold wristwatch with bracelet

39mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

CHF50,000 - 80,000 

Sold for CHF126,000

Contact Specialist

Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Watches, Continental Europe and the Middle East Director

The Geneva Watch Auction: XIV

Geneva Auction 5 & 7 November 2021