It was the design that made Gerald Genta's career and remains, without question, the most celebrated collection in Audemars Piguet's near 145 year long history.
Despite its early success in the 1970s and 80s, by the early 1990s sales of the port-hole inspired timepiece were on the decline. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of its release, and perhaps reinvigorate sales, AP turned to a young designer named Emmanuel Gueit.
To say that Gueit reinterpreted Genta's classic design would be an understatement. The resulting watch was bigger, heavier, and bolder than ever before. The blue micro-tapisserie dial is deeply set into a thick octagonal steel bezel, balanced by blue 'therban' pushers and crown. It was bigger than virtually anything else on the market in 1993 and inadvertently began a trend of massive timepieces which, to one extent or another, continues to this day.
The first 100 examples were made with the simple "Royal Oak" moniker engraved on the case back, with "Offshore" coming afterwards. This particular piece is an exceptionally early example, number 103, meaning it is quite literally the third watch ever to be christened "Offshore".
From an historic perspective, this is the watch that brought Audemars Piguet, and one could argue the larger Swiss watch industry, into the modern age.
This early Royal Oak Offshore is an incredible collector grade piece from a critical moment in Audemars Piguet's story. Don't miss out!
Audemars Piguet, the vaunted manufacture from Les Brassus, wasn't doing so well at the end of the 1960s. Their horological prowess aside, times were changing, customer tastes were evolving, and AP was stuck firmly in avery traditionalpast. Fortunately for us, their executives recognized this, and bet it all on the launch of an avant garde timepiece the likes of which the world had never seen.
Utilizing the talents of a designer named Gerald Genta, who would make his name for designing this very watch, AP planned from the beginning to make this new watch - dubbed the Royal Oak - a contradiction to tradition, and it became the world's first luxury sports watch. Made in steel. The gamble paid off, and the watch world clamored to get their hands on the cutting edge design, which featured a sharply angled watch with integrated bracelet, micro tapisserie dial, and ultra thin movement.
The response was so positive that their initial allocation sold out, resulting in an extension of the line as they scrambled to meet demand. It can be said without question that the original Reference 5402 "A Series" - nicknamed by collectors as the "Jumbo" for its massive39mm size - single handedly paved the way for a very bright future for Audemars Piguet.
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