Antiquorum, the World’s Premier Auctioneers of Modern and Vintage Timepieces, established in Geneva in 1974, has carved its own unparalleled niche in the auction world. By cultivating a thriving collector’s market for timepieces worldwide and consistently obtaining the highest prices for timepieces, their auction timepieces with exceptional provenance and rarity have set many world records.
Founded in 1974, Antiquorum has been at the forefront of the success of the Royal Oak. Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak has a long history on the auction market and the incredible Royal Oak went under the hammer. In 1992, Antiquorum auctioned its first Royal Oak timepieces in Geneva at Hotel des Bergues. Today, with more than 30 years of archives, they has recorded nearly 1,000 Royal Oak watches presented for sale, of which nearly 8 out of 10 were sold, providing us with a very interesting reference on the evolution of this model’s value. Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak is one of the best success stories in contemporary design launched 50 years ago, back in 1972.
The Royal Oak was first introduced at Baselworld in 1972 and back then was commercialized for CHF 3’650 (around CHF 10’000 today) – first, the timepiece was not a total success as steel sports watches were not sought after but reaches today very high demand and is increasingly elusive.
Antiquorum kicked off the year with a unique selection of timepieces for its Monaco auction at Monaco Yacht Club. The auction house sold an extremely rare fine tonneau shaped 18k yellow gold self-winding perpetual calendar Royal Oak wristwatch with a gold dial.
Audemars Piguet’s Ref. 25554 Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar (year 1986) in 18K yellow gold with the day, date, month and moon phases (Lot 171) dates back to 1986 and is one of the very first perpetual calendar Royal Oaks manufactured.
Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar (year 1986)
Estimation: EUR 200,000 – 300,000 Sold for EUR 260’000 (Including buyer’s premium)Audemars Piguet was first known for its perpetual calendar production in pocket watches, but its first-ever perpetual calendar wristwatch was manufactured in 1948. Only nine examples of its reference 5516 have been produced and very few followed due to the fastidious manufacturing processes at the time.
Back in December 2021 in Hong Kong, Antiquorum sold the most expensive Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar in Platinum and 18K Pink Gold on the auction market that housed caliber 2120/2800 that was launched by Audemars Piguet in 1978 at the height of the quartz crisis. This Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Ref. 25686 dated back to 1997, sporting a “tuscan dial” with platinum and 18k pink gold case is one of Audemars Piguet’s very fine and extremely rare, self-winding wristwatch with water-resistant with sapphire-crystal case-back.
A few months ago, Antiquorum set a World Record by selling over it’s higher estimation, an extremely rare, selfwinding, stainless steel perpetual calendar wristwatch. This memorable timepiece is the most expensive Royal Oak in steel sold on the auction market. Audemars Piguet confirmed that this example was born with a salmon dial despite the wrong code on the original certificate. Completely overhauled, Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar, 1996 (Lot 453), was ready to be worn and enjoyed with probably one of the most striking dials (along with the Yves Klein) ever made on the perpetual calendar.
In 1972, Audemars Piguet introduced the Royal Oak with a first batch of 1,000 watches called the “A series” because of the letter A engraved on their case back. Two years later, additional series were produced under Ref. 5204 with the letter A, B, C and D. This model (numbered 344) appears to have been created between the A and B series in 1976 and corresponds to Gerald Genta’s 1972 design. The case back is signed Royal Oak only, with no number.
This next watch will delight lovers of the Royal Oak . This incredible Royal Oak is a historical timepiece as only few examples known, the first one to appear at auction with box and papers.
Audemars Piguet’s stainless steel Royal Oak from1976 Ref. 5402ST from their intermediary series is one of the finest tonneau-shaped gentleman’s wristwatch with a black lacquered dial and date available with the original box, certificate and service invoices.
The watchmaking prowess of “skeletonization” does not leave collectors and watch enthusiasts indifferent. Audemars Piguet, an expert in this field in the 1930s-1950s, used this skeletonization process on its Royal Oak collection, starting with a pendant version in 1981.
Revealing a part of the internal mechanism is the extraordinary Royal Oak Platinum Skeleton wristwatch that went under the hammer in October 1992, at Hotel des Bergues in Geneva. The timepiece was sold CHF 59’800 back in 1992 and is today estimated to CHF 200’000 according to Arnaud Tellier, Antiquorum expert and Director of Asia-Pacific.
Featured here is the self-winding, platinum skeleton “Royal Oak” No. 021 with a perpetual calendar, moon phases, paired with a platinum integrated bracelet available with a fitted box and certificate.
Nicknamed “Jumbo” by collectors, it owes this reputation to its tonneau-shaped case measuring 39mm, very large for its time. In November 2020, during the lockdown, Antiquorum sold the most expensive Royal Oak in Yellow Gold – a fine, large, extremely rare, iconic, self-winding, 18k yellow gold wristwatch with date Jumbo Royal Oak – Ref. 5402
In 2012, more than 50 Royal Oak models went under the hammer at an exceptional auction at Grand Hotel de Kempinski in Geneva. For collectors and auctioneers, the Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak Jumbo “Serie A” n°88 is one of the oldest serial numbers to have been auctioned. A small anecdote also concerns the AP logo at 6 o’clock as only the A series and about half of the pieces produced for the B series display it.
Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak Jumbo “Series A” n°88 (Lot 402) has been produced in 1972 in steel. The one being auctioned here is in excellent overall original condition still with its Gay Freres bracelet dated 1.72 and combined with the lucky number 88 – the perfect collector’s example.
When the mythic “Jumbo” was born 50 years ago, the timepiece was first criticized for its atypical shape and its 39mm diameter and has since become one of the most mystical watches in the world. For half a century, the Royal Oak has been manufactured through many iconic designs and today the Manufacture Audemars Piguet pays tribute to the timeless icon of 1972.
Audemars Piguet has reinvented the Caliber 2121, that was removed from production at the end of 2021, to manufacture the Caliber 7121, a much more powerful and precise caliber. The new masterpiece, Royal Oak “Jumbo” extra-thin Ref. 16202, rewinds time, offering the same dial as the original timepiece. The pieces produced in 2022 will benefit from an engraved oscillating weight “50 years”: a future collector piece that may come under the hammer in the next few auctions at Antiquorum.
The dynamism of Antiquorum is also reflected through its open valuations days around Europe: Switzerland, United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, Italy and Spain for which you can book an appointment directly online. Brace yourselves for the next Antiquorum auctions in Hong Kong (online auction) 9th of March, 2022 and in Geneva 8th of May, 2022.