Audemars Piguet - The Royal Oak 50th Geneva Friday, May 6, 2022 | Phillips
  • Manufacturer: Audemars Piguet
    Year: 1973
    Reference No: 5402ST
    Movement No: 128'442
    Case No: 80254.A1254
    Model Name: Royal Oak Jumbo "Karl Lagerfeld"
    Material: Stainless steel with black PVD coating
    Calibre: Automatic, cal 2121, 36 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel with black PVD coating Audemars Piguet bracelet, max length 180mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel with black PVD coating Audemars Piguet deployant clasp
    Dimensions: 39mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Audemars Piguet Service papers. Further accompanied by Audemars Piguet and Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo co-signed Royal Oak 50th Anniversary Attestation.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Starting from a conventional beginning but destined for greatness, the present watch was born as a regular reference 5402ST but would end up as anything but a regular timepiece. Sold in Italy in 1973, immediately after purchase, this Royal Oak A series underwent a PVD surface treatment to render it totally black.

    As it happens, around that same time the famous creative director of the Fendi house, Karl Lagerfeld, was working in Rome. Besides being renowned for his immense artistic talent, Lagerfeld was also famous for wearing only two colors: black and white. He was also known to have been one of the first men of taste to appreciate the Royal Oak. Moreover, many photos are known showing him wearing a Royal Oak completely covered in black PVD. In fact, several iterations of this model have been spotted on the designer's wrist. In 1974, he was notably photographed during the Chloé fashion show wearing a black Royal Oak with the logo at 6 o'clock, identical in all respects to the present watch.

    After extensive research, carried out jointly by the current owner and Audemars Piguet, our specialist team is led to believe that the present watch is in all probability one of Mr. Lagerfeld's personal Royal Oaks. Our research has shown that after the sale in Italy in 1973, the watch never reappeared on the market – most likely because it was in the possession of the original owner - until 1995. In 2013, a second Italian owner sold this watch to a German dealer and in this same year, the current owner discovered it in the window of the aforementioned dealer’s shop. Immediately fascinated by the watch, and suspecting its history, he purchased it on the spot and went on to thoroughly research it to confirm its provenance.

    Presented today in excellent condition, it is fundamental to point out that the PVD coating features signs of natural wear, as expected from a watch which underwent PVD coating in the 1970s. Especially visible on the inside of the bracelet where the buckle rubs, there is an unvarying area of wear. It is a sign that the watch was most probably only worn by one same person.. Based on our research, that of the last owner and backed by the information gracefully made available to us by Audemars Piguet, in our own opinion, many clues pointed to the Lagerfeld provenance, however the watch's early years remain surrounded in mystery, adding a layer of intrigue to this historical timepiece.

  • 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 very distinctive blackened stainless steel wristwatch with date and bracelet

39mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

CHF100,000 - 200,000 

Sold for CHF937,500

Contact Specialist

Alexandre Ghotbi

Head of Watches, Continental Europe and the Middle East

+41 22 317 81 81


Virginie Liatard-Roessli
Head of Sale, Specialist
+41 76 338 91 03

The Royal Oak 50th

Geneva Auction 6 May 2022