The Royal oak is one of the most iconic luxury watches ever put into production. Hard stop.
Whether we are talking about the earliest 5402s, modern Royal Oaks or those in between, they're all great.
This example here is a reference 14790.789 dating to circa 1993, and features a two-tone case constructed from 18k Yellow Gold and stainless steel. The ground breaking design was created by the now legendary Gerald Genta - whose other seminal works include the Patek Philippe Nautilus and Universal Geneve Polerouter.
At 36mm, it's surprisingly understated, and wears far more under the radar than one might expect - despite being among the most storied luxury sport watches in history. The gray micro-tapisserie dial grounds this watch's contrasting metals, and is truly stunning to behold in person.
Strap a Royal Oak on your wrist for the first time and you'll get what all the fuss is about.
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.
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