Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 5402BA 'AP Down Dial'

Back in the '70s, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak literally saved the Swiss watch industry from collapsing.

Museum Piece
Audemars Piguet Royal OakIn 1970, Audemars Piguet instructed Genta to come up with an “unprecedented steel watch.

Introduction

Back in the '70s, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak literally saved the Swiss watch industry from collapsing.   Why? Well, if you have been following our YouTube-channel, you should be familiar with the story right now. In short: In the early 1970s, quartz watches - primarily, from Japanese brands as Seiko and Casio - conquered the Swiss watchmaking industry. This period is also referred to as the Quartz crisis. These new electronic watches were more accurate than mechanical watches and more important, they were cheaper. Therefore, they caused a decline of the traditional, mechanical watch industry. One of the brands that suffered from these developments was Audemars Piguet. Sales plummeted year after year. Finally, they turned to a man that we, at Amsterdam Vintage Watches, hold dear: Gerald Genta. What did he do? He designed a large, mechanical, steel sports watch with a futuristic design that was outrageously expensive. Exactly this watch, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, created a disruptive change and established the desirability for a new type of mechanical watches.We are always glad to add pieces to our collection that have such a rich history. The Royal Oak we can offer you is slightly more special as it is completely made from 18k yellow gold. It dates back to 1979 and has a very much desired AP-down dial. It has the original case size of 39 mm and runs on the famous caliber 2121, which was based on Jaeger-LeCoultre’s ultrathin caliber 920. This Royal Oak has the original, industrial shape and details and the beautiful, dark grey tapisserie dial. It comes with an inner and outer box and the extracts of the archives.

Description

Audemars Piguet Royal OakIn 1970, Audemars Piguet instructed Genta to come up with an “unprecedented steel watch.” As the story goes, he found inspiration whilst seeing a diver at work with an old-fashioned diver’s helmet near Lake Geneva. Staying up all night, Genta drew the design for a circular case with an angular, octagonal bezel, eight visible screws, and an integrated bracelet. The Royal Oak was presented in 1972 as the most expensive steel watch available and it caused an uproar: why was a distinguished maison d’horlogerie putting out a sports watch, let alone in such a pedestrian material? Some experts even predicted that the Royal Oak would put Audemars Piguet out of business. Though it took a while to catch on, the Royal Oak is now one of the most iconic and long-lasting watch designs, and has spawned an entire product line. It wouldn’t be the first time that Genta would prove a brand’s owners, customers, and industry experts wrong.