Half-a-century ago, Audemars Piguet first unveiled the legendary Royal Oak, a luxury sports watch that ultimately changed horology to the fullest by showing that stainless steel could function as a high-end material. In celebration of the Royal Oak’s 50th anniversary, auction house Phillips has once again partnered with Bacs & Russo to roll out an impressive auction centered around the iconic timepiece.
The Royal Oak 50th will be held at the Hôtel La Réserve, a five-star resort in the heart of Geneva that serves as an equally lavish venue for such a posh event. Composed of 88 of Audemars Piguet’s most coveted and well-kept Royal Oak examples, the models set to hit the auction market are some of the most meticulously crafted known to man. For starters, there is a blacked-out, PVD-coated 5402 that was purchased in 1974 and believed to have been worn by the late fashion mogul Karl Lagerfeld. This example is estimated to be sold between CHF 100,000-200,000.
The 25th Anniversary Royal Oak is another noteworthy model that will appear at the auction. The bewilderingly exclusive timepiece was limited to 25 models upon being crafted in 1997 and served as the first in the line to feature a tourbillon. It is now expected to garner well over CHF 120,000. Lastly, the Jubilee 14802ST is expected to rake in the highest number. This platinum option boasts a gorgeous blue dial and was launched for the Royal Oak’s 20th anniversary in 1992. This is estimated to receive between CHF 250,000 and 500,000 at auction. It should be noted, however, that these estimates could very well be exceeded — perhaps greatly — given the current state of hype culture in the realm of luxury watch collecting.
As one of the more revered watches in the history of watchmaking, a commemoration of this magnitude only seems fitting. Set to take place on May 6th, The Royal Oak 50th auction looks to be a luxurious event unlike any other. In the meantime, take a deeper look at Phillips’ website for information on each particular model.