Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 5402BA ‘Diamond Set Index’
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 and has a factory-set diamond index. It dates back to the early ’80s. However, it’s hard to track down the exact production year since there is almost no data to be found about 5402BA production years and the Extract of the Archives doesn’t always tell it either. However, the yellow-gold 5402’s were only produced from 1978 to approximately mid ’80s. Roughly 1000 pieces were made and this example has a case number that traces it back to the middle. The watch 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 tapisserie dial (that looks darkblue in certain light). It comes with the Extract of the Archives.