It has the distinct honour of having one of the first immediately recognisable watch case shapes out there- I am talking about the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak of course; but what few people know (and could learn more) about this horological icon is that the Royal Oak pulled Audemars Piguet from the brink of bankruptcy.

The octagonal shape designed by Gerald Genta is what I consider to be one of the more unique case designs back in 1972. Drawing inspiration from a ship’s porthole, the brushed steel finish with exposed hexagonal screws combined with a 3200 swiss franc price tag (adjusted today for inflation = USD$17560), the odd shape together with high cost made collectors question the continued longevity of the maison- thankfully, horology’s latest innovation proved to be a lifeline for the embattled manufacture.

Audemars Piguet

Gerald Genta

The first of its kind to integrate the bracelet into the case, this timepiece dubbed “Jumbo” was powered by a movement built in collaboration with Jaeger-LeCoultre, incidentally, the movement would also be used by Patek Philippe in their own sports watch- the Nautilus (which was also designed by Genta).

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak ref. 5402ST

Indeed, it’s one of watch history’s major milestones and any watch aficionados would do well to pop down to the AP Royal Oak 40 Years Exhibition to relive one of the most momentous periods in horology beyond the quartz crisis.

Royal Oak Exhibition in Milan

The Royal Oak Exhibition in Milan

The exhibition transports visitors deep in the birth place of AP and features three contemporary artists- Creative Director Sebastien Leon Agneessens, Digital Artist Quayola and photographer Dan Holdsworth.

Limited spaces: Pre-book your slot- Registration can be done at here.
Time: 10 – 14 October 2012
Venue: 30 Keppel Road, Former Tanjong Pagar Railway Station