Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, Reference 14790ST “Yves Klein”, Stainless Steel

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This Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 14790ST* features a vibrant, beautifully preserved “Yves Klein” dial, an electric blue popularised by the eponymous French artist. The combination of the mid-size, 36mm Royal Oak case with this fascinating dial makes this an excellent choice for any collector looking to add an intriguing piece to their collection.

Origins of the royal oak

Shortly after the introduction of the original Royal Oak 5402, Audemars Piguet experimented with a few mid-sized versions of the design.

These were meant to bring the Royal Oak to a wider audience, who at the time favoured more modestly sized wristwatches. In 1992, they released the reference 14790, with a reduced diameter of 36mm, down from the 39mm size.

In many ways, the reference 14790 is a scaled-down version of the original reference 5402, retaining many of the same features, from the “Petite Tapisserie” dial to the overall proportions.

Though this was not the first or only mid-size execution of the design, it was perhaps the purest and the most well-executed version of the concept. Produced until the turn of the millennium, it remained in production for longer than any other mid-size reference and was offered in a much wider range of configurations than ever before – from Ferrari red dials to tantalum and steel cases.