Audemars Piguet - The Royal Oak 50th Geneva Friday, May 6, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Audemars Piguet
    Year: 1975
    Reference No: 5402ST
    Movement No: 147'358
    Case No: 99068
    Model Name: Royal Oak Jumbo "No Series"
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal 2121, 36 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Audemars Piguet bracelet, max length 190mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Audemars Piguet deployant clasp
    Dimensions: 39mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Audemars Piguet Extract from Register. Furthermore accompanied by Audemars Piguet and Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo co-signed Royal Oak 50th Anniversary Attestation.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Launched in 1972, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak was the world’s first stainless steel luxury sports watch with a fully integrated bracelet. Designed overnight in response to an urgent request for an ‘unprecedented steel watch’, it was at the same time the most expensive stainless steel watch ever made. The brand sought famed designer Gerald Genta, who developed a brilliantly engineered, monobloc case, with a distinctively maritime feel, featuring an octagonal bezel secured by eight hexagonal, white gold screws, and a dial with tapisserie motif. While today the Royal Oak is a legend, at the beginning it was more than a bet, it was a true visionary revolution, the first appearance of what is today's most successful kind of wristwatch: the luxury sports watch in steel.

    The Royal Oak model reference 5402ST has been produced in four different batches: A, B, C and D with small design details that made each slightly different.

    The reference 5402 remained in the Audemars Piguet Catalogues for 25 years and was produced in 6,050 examples over the different series.

    Today Audemars Piguet is a true powerhouse, one of the most important names on the market and a multinational corporation, with a structure and procedures appropriate for its size. While the name has been synonymous with high-end watchmaking for centuries, the current modern structure of the company is somewhat of a novelty, as it was only in 1994 that the brand underwent a structural and procedural “overhaul”. Until then, the company had a more flexible decision making process. This occurrence gave birth to some highly unusual and collectible timepieces, such as the present one.

    Until recently, It was commonly believed that all cases of reference 5402 bore a serial number to the back (the famous A, B, C and D series). Examples without serial number were known but not accepted by the market which deemed such cases service replacements (in the best case scenario).

    It is only recently that in depth research - backed by the robust Audemars Piguet archive - has subverted such belief and in fact demonstrated that “no number” cases are fully legitimate and part of the original production of reference 5402, and - as expected - extremely rare. According to the archives, such watches were mostly produced in 1975, for a total of 129 pieces. This was a transitional series of watches made after the end of the A series: the original decision was to stop using lettered case numbers, but eventually the company rescinded this choice and went on to the B series.

    Such an unusual production is undoubtedly due to the more elastic structure the company had during those years - as discussed earlier - which ultimately became responsible for the creation of one of the most elusive variations of the hallowed reference 5402: a true example of serendipity in watchmaking.

  • 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. 5402ST
A rare and very well preserved stainless steel wristwatch with "No Series" case and bracelet

1975
39mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

Estimate
CHF80,000 - 160,000 
€78,600-157,000
$85,000-170,000

Sold for CHF163,800

Contact Specialist

Alexandre Ghotbi

Head of Watches, Continental Europe and the Middle East

+41 22 317 81 81
[email protected]

 

Virginie Liatard-Roessli
Head of Sale, Specialist
+41 76 338 91 03
[email protected]

The Royal Oak 50th

Geneva Auction 6 May 2022