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. Launched in 1972 as a limited series of 1000 pieces, the A-Series ref. 5402 was the first series of Royal Oak to be released. 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. A handful of years later, in 1977, AP decided to expand the ref. 5402 and release an 18kt yellow gold version; the ref. 5402BA, which is what we have here. Featuring all of the same design details as its stainless steel siblings, this new reference expanded the Royal Oak into the realm of luxury that Audemars Piguet was always, and still is, known for. 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 DIAL Boasting the Royal Oak's signature 'Petite Tapisserie' texture, this example's grey dial perfectly contrasts the bright exuberance of its 18kt yellow gold surroundings.
THE CONSTRUCTION While its 39mm diameter certainly may have been imposing back in the 1970s, its incredibly thin 7.2mm case allows the ref. 5402BA to wear wonderfully flat and makes it a pleasure on the wrist. However, the sheer heft of its "Jumbo" case combined with its bracelet would not have been familiar with collectors at the time, no matter how thin it was.
TIMING MACHINE READOUT This reading was taken (crown down) with a ONEOF Accuracy Boutique Edition timing machine at time of cataloging. It is provided as a courtesy only, and shall not be construed as a warranty or guarantee of any kind. Please refer to our terms and conditions of sale for more information.