The Royal Oak, with its masculine octagonal case, exposed screws, and integrated bracelet is one of the most distinctive watches in the market today. It is imposing and recognizable, and in my opinion, one of the best statement watches money can buy.
The Royal Oak is not only famous for what it looks like, but also how it was introduced. First released in the ’70s, the original Ref. 5402 was a bold stainless steel watch designed by Gerald Genta that created shockwaves. It was designed as a luxury sports watch and the scandalous part was that it was priced accordingly- the same as an equivalent gold watch of its era.
People just could not accept that a pedestrian material such as steel could be priced so exorbitantly and consequently, it was not very popular. It was only after some time that the public saw this as something genuinely original and avant-garde. Today though, in-line with the craze for stainless steel, the Royal Oak is an icon.
While it has always been about the ‘Jumbo’ or larger-sized Royal Oaks, in recent times, there has been a growing appreciation for mid-sized examples, namely what you see here today, the Ref. 14790. This is certainly in line with the large watch trend ending as collectors are beginning to appreciate proportionate and more elegantly sized watches.
Released in 1992, the ref. 14790ST was the posterchild reference of mid-size Royal Oaks, staying in production far longer than any others, only being discontinued in 2006. Featuring a beautifully balanced 36mm case, the ref. 14790ST sits fantastically on the wrist and is certainly not too small.
Identified by collectors as occupying three distinct generations, the ref. 14790ST I have here is a second-generation featuring a rare blue ‘petite tappisserie’ dial. Not to be mistaken with the Yves Klein dial, this shade of blue is rarer, more muted, and is denoted by its ‘.01’ dial code in the full reference number. While the .01 is stated to be blue or grey, you hardly ever see this shade of blue.
Powered by the in-house caliber 2225 movement, the ref. 14790ST features a 21kt gold winding bidirectional winding rotor and a 40-hour power reserve.
With its exceedingly rare dial, gorgeous proportions, and coming as a full set, this ref. 14790ST will no doubt make for an exquisite inclusion in even the most zealous of Royal Oak collections.