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AUDEMARS PIGUET. A STAINLESS STEEL AUTOMATIC WRISTWATCH WITH DATE AND BRACELET
AUDEMARS PIGUET. A STAINLESS STEEL AUTOMATIC WRISTWATCH WITH DATE AND BRACELET
AUDEMARS PIGUET. A STAINLESS STEEL AUTOMATIC WRISTWATCH WITH DATE AND BRACELET
AUDEMARS PIGUET. A STAINLESS STEEL AUTOMATIC WRISTWATCH WITH DATE AND BRACELET
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AUDEMARS PIGUET. A STAINLESS STEEL AUTOMATIC WRISTWATCH WITH DATE AND BRACELET

REF. 5402, ROYAL OAK MODEL, “A SERIES”, CIRCA 1975

Details
AUDEMARS PIGUET. A STAINLESS STEEL AUTOMATIC WRISTWATCH WITH DATE AND BRACELET
REF. 5402, ROYAL OAK MODEL, “A SERIES”, CIRCA 1975
Movement: Automatic
Dial: “Tropical”
Case: 39 mm. diam.
With: Stainless steel Audemars Piguet bracelet, overall length approximately 175 mm., Audemars Piguet service invoice

Brought to you by

Alexandre Bigler
Alexandre Bigler Vice President, Head of Watches, Asia Pacific

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Lot Essay

Tropical Dial Royal Oak Ref. 5402ST A Series
Examples of the original Royal Oak ‘A Series’ are increasingly hard to obtain as one of the great classic ‘must-have’ watches for the serious collector. An ‘A Series’ with colour-change ‘tropical’ dial such as the present watch is an extreme rarity and a highlight for those seeking important specimens of iconic watch models. Each colour-change dial is of course unique in appearance due to the natural and unpredictable aging process of individual dials. This highly attractive original ‘A Series’ dial features the applied AP logo correctly placed between the 9th and 11th line as calculated from the bottom part of the dial, and the correct “SWISS” script stamped below the 6 o’clock index. The dial surface has aged from black to a highly attractive tone, some parts have preserved a darker shade whereas the remaining surface shows a nearly uniform bronze-gold tone depending on the position in which the watch is held. The luminous material to the indexes has aged to a pleasing mellow shade that perfectly harmonizes with the aging of the dial.

This steel ‘A Series’ is part of the first 2000 Royal Oaks ever created. This first series was numbered from A 0001 to A 2000. Indeed, after having sold out the first 1'000 pieces, the eventual success of this model was such that Audemars Piguet took the decision to increase the production to 2'000 pieces. After the ‘A-series’ sold out, manufacture progressed on to the ‘B’ series, ‘C’ series, and so on.
While the Royal Oak watch was entirely designed by Gérald Genta, the bracelets for the reference 5402ST were produced by Gay Frères, the most celebrated bracelet maker of the 20th century. The case and bracelet are one and the same on the Royal Oak, with each link connected by two perpendicular smaller stainless-steel links. This allows for a form-fitting bracelet that follows the curvature of the wrist, making it both striking in appearance and comfortable to wear.
Collectors have long been discovering and researching the rarities from the last almost 50 years of production of the Royal Oak. Early examples from the ‘A’ series and those with tropical dials have captured the serious attention of watch enthusiasts. Genta’s original dominant design allied with limited availability has ensured that the ‘A Series’ watches of the Royal Oak are amongst the most coveted timepieces ever, enjoying a continuously expanding popularity.
For descriptions and illustrations of reference 5402ST, see: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 5402 by "mstanga".

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak
Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak is a phenomenon, one of the most recognizable and successful wristwatch models of all time and the first luxury steel sports watch. The concept of the luxury sports watch was completely alien when the Royal Oak was introduced in 1972. Of course Rolex had been producing steel Submariners and GMT-Masters for many years before, but the Rolex steel watches were regarded not as luxury watches as such, but as working instruments or tool watches for professionals. The Royal Oak was designed by none other than Gerald Genta, the man behind many of the most enduring wristwatch designs of the last 50 years. The watch featuring an octagonal screwed bezel that was initially inspired by an antique diver’s helmet is, without a doubt, one of the most iconic wristwatch designs of the 20th century. Not only is it the cornerstone of the brand’s success until today, it was also the forerunner of other iconic watches like the Patek Philippe Nautilus which was based upon similar design principles by Gerald Genta.
The water resistant case has a visible gasket and a dial decorated with the ‘petit tapisserie’ pattern that is now part of the Royal Oak’s DNA.
The movement was the superb automatic caliber 2121, which is still used today for the Royal Oak Jumbo ref.15202. The caliber 2121 was based on the Audemars Piguet caliber 2120 with the addition of a date complication. The caliber 2120 was introduced in 1967, the culmination of a project led by Jaeger-LeCoultre, with the technical contribution of Audemars Piguet and the funding of Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin, for the development of an ultra-thin automatic movement. This collaboration resulted in the Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 920, a highly innovative and reliable movement, that each of the three backers renamed and customized for their own watches, hence the Patek Philippe 28-255 C was used for the Nautilus and the Vacheron Constantin 1120 was fitted to the 222 model.
Audemars Piguet chose the name ‘Royal Oak’ because of its nautical associations, named after the series of eight ships of the British Royal Navy that had in turn been named after the story of King Charles II of England’s escape from the Roundheads - the supporters of the Parliament during the English Civil War - following the Battle of Worcester in 1651 when the King (then a Prince) hid in an oak tree, the Boscobel Oak, to evade capture.

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