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. With its 39mm stainless steel case it was quickly nicknamed the “Jumbo” due to how much larger it was compared to other watches from the time. As a result, AP decided to down-size the Royal Oak in 1976 by launching the ref. 8638, a 29mm female variant and the ref. 4100ST, which we have here, in 1977. Sized at 35mm, the ref. 4100ST was much more in tune with how large watches were in the seventies and thus a popular model with around 8400 pieces produced between 1977 and 1984. Launched as the third Royal Oak variant ever, the ref. 4100ST features the Royal Oak’s signature ‘Petite Tapisserie’ dial, but with the inclusion of a central seconds hand, the result of its automatic cal. 2325 movement. Launched in stainless steel, two-tone and all gold, the model we have here is the stainless steel variant – the truest reflection of the Royal Oak’s iconic identity.
Loupe This Scorecard
Vetted & Approved
Extract from the Archives
Est. value range
$10,000 – $15,000
Watch is in excellent overall condition. The edges of the case are sharp and well defined and there is minimal surface wear visible on the watch. Bezel also has sharp geometric edges with minimal signs of rounding. Bracelet has 18 links total, 4 of which are removable. There is little stretch in the band. Bracelet has light signs of discoloration, with matching tritium hands and indexes.
The first of the mid-sized Royal Oaks, the ref. 4100ST kickstarted what has now grown to become one of the most popular sizes for the Royal Oak, with good reason. Easy to wear and infinitely elegant, the ref. 4100ST is a pleasure on the wrist.