The early 1970s was a time of great change within the watch industry, where the concept of a luxury watch in steel was a truly revolutionary idea. This example, the ref. 14790, was first produced in the late 1980s, as an alternative to the ‘Jumbo’ Royal Oak ref. 5402, with a reduced diameter of 36mm (over 39mm). As with all Audemars Piguet Royal Oak examples, the reference 14790 features an integrated case and bracelet, with angular, beveled and polished edges, famously penned by Gerald Genta.
In many ways, the reference 14790 is a scaled-down version of the original reference 5402, retaining many of the same features, such as the “Petite Tapisserie” dial, and overall proportions. The polished screws, bezel and case edges fantastically contrast with the brushed surface of the case and bracelet. At 36mm in diameter, and only 7.5mm thick, this Royal Oak case is a beautiful twist of perspectives and size. Thanks to the slim profile of the case and bracelet, the ref. 14790 hugs the wrist, in a way that is both supremely comfortable, yet distinctively elegant and characterful. The outer-case back correctly displays the unique serial number (E-33XX), consistent with late production of this ref. 14790.
This ref. 14790 retains the more understated “Petite Tapisserie” pattern, forming the square and lozenge motif, as seen in earlier executions of the Royal Oak. Newer versions of the Royal Oak have since adopted AP’s bolder “Tapisserie Evolutive” dial pattern, less faithful to the original design. This particular example features a seldom seen, vibrant blue dial, nicknamed by collectors as the “Yves Klein”, due to its resemblance to the deep blue hue first mixed by the French artist, Yves Klein. Evidence suggests the dial was manufactured by Stern Creations, the famed manufacturer of dials, which also made dials for the original Royal Oak ref. 5402.
The Royal Oak 14790ST is powered by the ultra-thin AP caliber 2225, derived from Jaeger-LeCoultre’s JLC 889 calibre movement. Formed of 280 components, the 40-jewel movement is rhodium-plated, with fausses côtes embellishment.
Viewings can be arranged in Central London by appointment only.