The story behind the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak is nearly religion within the watch world. In the throes of the quartz crisis, when the luxury mechanical watch was dying a slow death at the hands of highly accurate and cheap quartz watches, AP hired Gerald Genta to design a watch that it hoped would help them turn the tides of their business. The watch was to be a luxury stainless steel sports watch, something unheard of for the day. You either had tool watches or luxury dress watches. There was no such thing as a luxury sports watch. The watch that Genta designed was hugely original. It featured an octagonal bezel and integrated bracelet with enough subtle facets to really bring the watch to life. Watch lore would tell you that when the first series of watches were released in 1972 that they were a commercial flop, but in recent years a research team from AP has actually shown that the watch sold quite well. Other luxury watchmakers took note and chose to just replicate the formula. First up was IWC with the Ingenieur, followed by Patek Philipe and the Nautilus, both designed by Gerald Genta. The idea of a luxury sports watch really struck a chord with buyers both then and now, and the current crop of luxury sports watches all have the original Royal Oak to thank for their success.
By 1977, AP had begun to branch out with the Royal Oak and started offering the watch in yellow gold, white gold, and two-tone in addition to the standard stainless steel. Now that the materials flood gates were open what else could AP use to adorn their Royal Oak? Well, King Juan Carlos of Spain was looking for a more stealthy version of his favorite watch, but after a failed attempt by a blacksmith to blu the watch using techniques usually reserved for rifle barrels, AP proposed the use of Tantalum. Tantalum, named for Greek god Tantalus, is a rare, hard, blue-gray, lustrous transition metal that is highly corrosion-resistant. It is so hard in fact that it is known to break CNC machines if they are not properly set up to mill the material. Over the years AP has paired Tantalum with gold and steel to produce some of the most striking watches in their range including this watch, reference 56175 from the early 80s.
The Case and Bracelet
The 34mm tantalum and rose gold case is in good condition. Tantalum, being such a hard metal, resists scratches quite well and that shows throughout the case. The Rose gold on the bezel has developed some superficial scratches throughout but is in overall good condition. It has most likely seen a polishing wheel during its lifetime, but there remains some space between the top of the bezel screws and the bezel which is a good indication. The integrated bracelet is also in good condition showing minimal stretch and is sized to fit a 7 inch wrist.
The Dial and Hands
The vertically brushed dark grey bezel is in very good condition with no faults to note. The dial is classic royal oak with baton style hands and indices, also in rose gold. The dial design is accentuated by a coral chapter ring and printing.
This watch is powered by an Audemars Piguet quartz movement. The watch is running and the service history is unknown. The watch comes with a 1-year warranty from the seller.
|Location||New York City|
|Case Material||Tantalum and Rose Gold|
|Band Material||Tantalum and Rose Gold|