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. On top of this, with the current craze for integrated bracelet sports watches and many brands producing their own version, it was the Royal Oak that started it all.
The Royal Oak is not only famous for what it looks like, but also for 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, the Royal Oak is an icon.
Despite stainless steel being the iconic metal that started it all, Audemars Piguet also began making versions in precious metal. The example you see here is exactly that, a first-generation Ref. 5402BA in 18k yellow gold. Equally desired and just as rare as its stainless steel counterpart, this particular watch is made even more special as it came fitted with a beautiful grey-blue tappiserie dial and applied diamond index markers. This is an extremely rare variant and one that is in excellent condition.
What makes the Royal Oak in any form so alluring to many lies in the paradoxical nature of its existence. Beginning with how it was supposed to be a ‘sport’ watch but was priced as expensive as a gold dress watch, this 5402BA follows suit in that tradition with a supposed ‘sport’ watch being crafted in 18k gold and infused with diamond markers. Of course, it doesn’t make sense, but the joy and philosophies of collecting have never been so much about ‘sense’ as much as it has been about evoking an emotion within the wearer. With this highly collectible and supremely rare Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 5402BA, what you get is a first-generation piece of perhaps the most iconic watch model in the world in stunning condition.