The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak is without question Genta’s most memorable work, and changed the shape of the industry in more ways than one — but it was merely one in a long line of successes that marked Genta’s illustrious career.
What's particularly delightful about the design of the Royal Oak (which was subsequently mimicked by the Patek Philippe Nautilus and the IWC Ingenieur SL), is that it works brilliantly in a number of sizes and casing materials, from steel to carbon fiber or rose gold.
This particular model, a Reference 14790, is sized at 35mm and features a gorgeous blue tapisserie dial. Wearing slightly smaller than its "Jumbo" predecessors, the 14790 has become a favorite amongst collectors for its beautiful proportions, wearability, and value proposition.
Wear it once, trust us, you'll have a hard time taking it off.
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 the "Jumbo" for its massive39mm size (!) - single handedly paved the way for a very bright future for Audemars Piguet, and the Royal Oak line is of course a key component of their collection today.
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