SOLD – AP Royal Oak Dual Time 26120ST With Blue Dial
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The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Dual Time, reference 26120ST.OO.1220ST.02 from 2011. This watch features the rare and more sought-after blue tapisserie dial which is in perfect condition. The Royal Oak design is not only appreciated in its simplest form as a time-only watch (with date) but arguable held in higher regard when it features added complications such as a Perpetual Calendar or Dual Time. The stunning dial layout on this watch features a power reserve display, subsidiary dial with date calendar, another subsidiary dial at 6 o’clock showing a second timezone adjacent to a night & day indicator. These complications are powered by the automatic calibre 2329/2846. The watch has undergone a full service and polish by Audemars Piguet and comes with their service warranty of two years from November 2021. The watch has not been worn since it was serviced and polished by AP and remains is excellent condition with no scratches or wear. The demand & appreciation for these iconic original models is ever increasing, with the prices following suit and showing no signs of slowing down.
Royal Oak Dual Time
Audemars Piguet History
Founded by childhood friends Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet in 1875, Audemars Piguet began life as Audemars Piguet & Cie and has been family-owned since its inception. Both talented watchmakers, AP quickly rose through the ranks of watchmaking brands and became quite a highly respected brand. In 1892 they created the world’s first minute-repeated movement for a wristwatch, truly putting themselves on the map. From there, they continued to develop their watchmaking renown with various complications such as Grande Complication timepieces, novel finishing techniques and introducing things like openworking and so on.
One of the truly great Swiss watchmakers, AP has since climbed to the top of their game and exists as one of the three “Holy Trinity” brands alongside Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin, whereby their work is seen as truly exceptional and deserving of its own category. Of all the innovations AP has introduced over the years, few are as important as the Royal Oak. While new complications are undoubtedly interesting, the Royal Oak was a calculated decision that single-handedly saved AP from financial ruin and created the luxury sports watch market that we have today.
The Quartz Crisis Hits
As mentioned, the Royal Oak was introduced to save AP from financial ruin. The threat to AP’s finances was an industry-wide problem; the introduction of the Quartz movement in 1969 and its subsequent proliferation over the 70s and 80s called the Quartz Crisis. With Swiss watchmaking on its knees, manufacturers had to adapt quickly. Quartz movements were more accurate, cheaper and far trendier than their mechanical counterparts. With the ongoing technological onslaught, brands without quartz watches simply couldn’t compete with the Japanese market entrants and fell victim to bankruptcy and general obsolescence.
With their sales taking a beating as the end of the mechanical timepiece drew ever closer, AP knew they had to do something significant. In the same innovative spirit that got AP to where they were at the time, their idea wasn’t to compete with quartz watches; it was to create an entirely new market that they could dominate. This market, you ask? Only one of the largest markets around today: the luxury steel sports watch market.
Genta and the Royal Oak’s Design
With some Italian market research indicating potential demand for a new luxury steel sports watch, AP’s executives approached watch designer Gerald Genta at 4 pm on the day before Baselworld in 1971 to create an “unprecedented steel watch” for them. With just a night to step up to the task, Genta did exactly as AP asked and created the timepiece that would go down as AP’s saviour, the Royal Oak ref. 5402ST – the very same reference as the watch we have here.
Released the following year in 1972 as technological constraints proved the case’s design was tricky to manufacture, the Royal Oak ref. 5402ST’s avant-garde design stunned customers. Featuring exposed screws, an exposed rubber gasket beneath its bezel, a stainless steel integrated bracelet and a massive 39mm stainless steel case – the Royal Oak ref. 5402ST seemed like an uncharacteristically left-field release for a somewhat refined and conservative brand like AP. Inspired by the industrial look of a diver’s helmet, the Royal Oak’s aesthetic was visually bold, and unlike anything AP had ever released before.
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