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.
Loupe This Scorecard
Vetted & Approved
Est. value range
$10,000 – $15,000
The overall condition of the watch is excellent. Despite some light hairline scratches, the bezel is still sharp. Case is rather pleasant, with minor needlelike abrasions. Bracelet also has faint hairline abrasions, yet exhibits no signs of stretch at all. The bracelet is currently sized for a 6.75 inch wrist, and also includes two spare links.
With the current popularity of the Royal Oak, it can be quite difficult to find one in a moderate price range. The ref. 56143 is not one to overlook. Although measuring at 33mm, it does not wear small, especially if one is accustomed to vintage pieces. A fair comparison in size would be the Rolex Air-King model. The dial of this particular watch is fantastic with all the original lume intact, and the overall deep brownish tone to the blue tapisserie is exquisite.