Audemars Piguet. A Stainless Steel Wristwatch
Model: Royal Oak
Case No: B1xxx
Cal. 2121 automatic jeweled movement, bluish gray petit tapisserie dial, applied luminous baton numerals, date window at 3 o’clock, stainless steel case, brushed and polished octagonal bezel set with eight screws, octagonal crown, case back secured by eight screws, stainless steel royal oak link bracelet with deployant clasp, case, dial, and movement signed
Early Audemars Piguet Royal Oak watches are highly sought after for their iconic status within the horological world – being the original stainless steel luxury sport watch. Introduced in 1972 with a limited production of 1000 pieces, the model was slow to find a following. When the model finally took off, a second run of 1000 pieces were built. These first two thousand examples were given “A” serial numbers, after which Audemars Piguet starting using “B” serial numbers (starting at number 1001), and so on.
The “A” Series feature a number of design traits that distinguish them from later models, some of which carried over into the “B” Series. Early examples of “B” Series Royal Oaks, such as the present example, will have the “AP” logo at 6 o’clock. Also, “A” and “B” Series both have the original caliber 2121, after which Audemars Piguet began using a modified version called the 2121/1, which replaced the Gyromax balance wheel and regulator with a Glucydur balance and regulator lever.
While the “A” Series Royal Oak has garnered much attention for being the first series of this legendary reference, the “B” Series has become a rarity in its own right, being produced in only 1000 examples before the company moved on to the next letter. The present watch is an outstanding example from the “B” Series, with an unpolished case, sharp case facets and beveled edges, and dial that has retained its original color with no signs of flaking.