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
$12,000 – $18,000
The overall condition of the watch is wonderful. The dial shows no signs of aging whatsoever. The markers and hands have the original luminosity. The bezel and bracelet appear to have been polished previously, with some light hairline scratches. It can fit a wristsize of up to 7.5 inches, and also comes with seven removable links. The caseback has some larger abrasions which are not deep and can easily be removed by a professional polisher.
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 white 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. The overall condition of the watch implies that a great deal of care was taken in the handling of the piece, and was perhaps only occasionally worn by its previous owners.