Released in 1972 and designed by Gerald Genta, watchmaking's most famous designer, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak was the first stainless steel luxury sports watch ever to exist. Released as a tactic to survive the quartz crisis, the Royal Oak can single-handedly be thanked for AP's existence today due to its astounding success, albeit it wasn't an overnight hit. Its sizeable tonneau-shaped case, signature integrated bracelet, octagonal bezel, exposed screws, and steel construction failed to win over collectors until a few years later. Today, the Royal Oak is one of the most highly-coveted timepieces in all horology as its previously dismissed design details have permeated across the industry and into watches like the Patek Philippe Nautilus, Vacheron Constantin Overseas, Rolex Oysterquartz, amongst many other legendary timepieces.
The 14790 Royal Oak is the first to be housed in a 36mm case. After experimentation with varying sizes ranging from 35-37.5mm, this became the standard dimensions used for mid-sized models to come.
Loupe This Scorecard
Vetted & Approved
Est. value range
$10,000 – $15,000
Watch is in excellent overall condition. Case has some minor wear, but the edges and chamfers are still sharp. The gold bezel has minimal surface marks with soft edges from wear. The dial is near-mint and does not exhibit typical oxidation. Luminous on hands and dial indexes match and are discolored. The bracelet has 21 links, 7 of which are removable. There is light stretch.
I have always been a huge enthusiast of the mid-sized Royal Oaks, as they are not only exceptionally well priced, but also elegantly proportioned. This example features the grey dial, which undeniably gives it a modern twist. This particular variation has grown exponentially in my appreciation, as I feel it would also for both modern and vintage collectors alike.