Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 14790ST - White dial - Full set
The Royal Oak saved Audemars Piguet during a traumatic time for the Swiss watch industry and since has remained an unmovable pillar in their catalogue. Their quest for originality and constant desire to push boundaries became vital traits if they were to survive. Around this time a Swiss-born designer known as Gérald Genta partnered with the brand to create yet another first: the first luxury sports watch made from stainless steel.
Told by the man himself, the Managing Director of Audemars Piguet rang up Genta and gave him 24 hours to design ‘a steel sports watch that has never been done before. Something totally new and waterproof.’ 24 hours later the design was complete and in 1972, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak was revealed to the world.
After the initial reference’s success, Audemars Piguet was keen to extend the market in which the Royal Oak was an appealing offering. Experiments with smaller sizes, dial colours and slight variations subsequently began to appear. However, things fell neatly into place when the 1990s kicked into action and the reference 14790 was released. This model measured 36mm in width, a tangible reduction in size from the pioneering reference 5402 which was 39mm.
The 14790 enjoyed a long life in the Audemars Piguet production line with both colourful dials and experimental case materials all making an appearance until the reference was discontinued in the 2000s.
Complete with papers dating back to 2008, this F series 14790ST is a magnificent example of a mark three-dial, the final evolution of the model’s lifespan representing a gradual modernisation. The first and potentially most obvious way to tell that this is a mark 3 dial is via the hour markers which are more rounded and petite in size when compared to older examples which are longer and thinner. This change allows room for a 5-minute mark scale surrounding the watch. Another subtle but tangible difference on this 14790ST can be found in the dial font which is both bolder and neatly framed for the logo and ‘Automatic’ text. All of these details sit on top of a textbook Royal Oak dial, this time in a larger tapisserie pattern and a brilliant white colour. Sure, these changes are slight, but they profoundly impact the watch. Although this timekeeper is a trophy of watch design, there is a usable amount of functionality on offer here. The dial houses bright, polished furniture and hands which are operated through its hexagonal crown. A beautifully positioned date window occupies the 3 o’clock position and thanks to its dial matching backing, cleverly doesn’t impact visual balance.
Original advertisements for the Royal Oak state that it’s “one of the greatest designs of this century. And probably the next”. A substantial amount of this legacy comes via the case and bracelet with this 14790ST really delivering. Expertly and deeply brushed in a vertical direction, each external aspect of this Royal Oak has been reduced in size from its ‘Jumbo’ brother. Measuring 36mm in width and a staggeringly thin 7.5mm in thickness, the proportions on offer here are gorgeous. Personal character, elegant proportions and an unmistakable sense of luxury are the fundamentals of this alluring 14790ST.
An example of a watch that is mint in every sense of the word.
Powering this 14790ST is the Audemars Piguet caliber AP 2325 which made its way into only a few of the latest examples of this reference. A running time of 38 hours, beating at a frequency of 28,800 vph, with a 21-ct oscillating weight with ceramic ball bearings making it all possible.
How It Wears
Measuring 36mm in width, you may be forgiven for assuming this 14790ST Royal Oak is small, dainty, and lacking in wrist presence. The reality is in fact quite the opposite. Of course, it does take up a smaller amount of wrist real estate than the larger ‘Jumbo’, but its measurement on paper don’t tell the whole story. The Royal Oak should be thought of as not just a watch head but rather the whole packaging when strapping it to the wrist, as the relationship between case, bracelet and bezel are unlike many other watches on the market. The 14790ST is a mid-sized reference that would make a brilliant regular wearer for a wide range of wrist sizes in all types of situations from formal board meetings to relaxing downtime.
Condition & set
This 14790ST Royal Oak is presented in absolute mint condition and is complete as a full set. Its outer box, inner box, official papers dating from 2008, and original manual all are included with this piece. A complete set in this top-grade condition is a dream way to acquire an important and late example of the illustrious 14790 reference.
If you desire to take a closer look at this precious timepiece, don't hesitate to contact us and make an appointment. Viewings by appointment only.
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|Size (Case)||36 mm|