Breaking: Original Royal Oak Design Sells for $600,000+
A huge result for the original prototype design by Gerald Genta
2022 is the 50th anniversary of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. This, we already know. All kinds of festivities have been planned. Already, AP has released a slew of new Royal Oak references — 42 in all. Later this year, Phillips will be hosting a Royal Oak-themed auction.
For its part, Sotheby’s is selling a collection of Gerald Genta’s original designs for the Royal Oak and his other iconic designs in a series of auctions, leading up to the sale of Mr. Genta’s personal Royal Oak in Geneva this spring.
The first Gerald Genta: Icon of Time auction closed on February 24, and it’s already posting big numbers.
The headliner of the sale — Lot 1 — an original prototype drawing of the Royal Oak from Gerald Genta, sold for CHF 564,500 (~$609k). The watch is rendered in watercolor on paper measuring 210mm by 150mm (about 8 x 6 inches) and is signed by Genta. Interestingly, Sotheby’s made very clear in the auction that this sale accepted cryptocurrency, and each original design would be accompanied by a non-fungible token (NFT). NFTs in the watch industry are a subject I haven’t delved into yet, though I will eventually. Given how hot they are, I would be curious to learn from the buyer(s) how much the fact that the physical drawings are accompanied by NFTs contributed (or didn’t) to the big results.
Meanwhile, Lot 2, a first draft of a prototype Royal Oak, sold for CHF 151,200. While Lot 1 looks a lot like the familiar form of the original Royal Oak ref. 5402, this prototype draft is fun for its differences from the final product. The bezel is actually hexagonal, not the octagon that would end up on the final version of the Royal Oak, coming to a pronounced point at 12 o’clock. Further, the dial is rendered in an ice blue, and details like the crown and clasp seem less refined.
Beyond these Royal Oak drawings, 29 other lots sold at the Sotheby’s sale. Check out the results here.
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Lot #2, has a key difference over the final prototype in Lot #1: it has a hexagonal bezel, NOT an octagonal one.
It has nothing to do with having rotated the bezel of the final design to point it to noon.