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A Royal Investment

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak – The watch collector’s ultimate investment?

A few months back at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) exhibition in Geneva, Audemars Piguet unveiled a new batch of Royal Oak Self-Winding 41mm models. This new generation, which goes by ref. 15500, has been brought in to replace a very successful family of AP watches, the Royal Oak ref. 15400. The now discontinued Royal Oak 15400ST has long been a fan favourite, and with AP no longer make it, this stainless steel luxury sports watch is now even more collectible than ever.

Brief History Of The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak

Conceived by legendary watch designer Gerald Genta (the man responsible for icons such as the Patek Nautilus, Cartier Pasha, and Omega Constellation) Audemars Piguet introduced the very first Royal Oak watch in 1972.

With its large octagonal case, eight-sided bezel with exposed screws, modern integrated bracelet, and full steel construction, the Royal Oak “Jumbo” was unlike any other luxury watch available at that time. In fact, the Royal Oak is credited for launching the entire genre of ultra-luxe steel sports watches and essentially rebelled against the notion that expensive high-end watches had to be fashioned from precious metals.

Although the Royal Oak watch was not immediately well received due to its avant-garde design, the RO eventually became Audemars Piguet’s flagship model, available in a whole host of sizes, metals, and styles.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 15400ST

The Royal Oak Self-Winding 15400ST made its debut in 2012 and became the collection’s base model by replacing the previous ref. 15300ST. With its introduction, the Royal Oak 15400ST brought about a bigger case size – 41 mm compared to the previous 39 mm diameter of the 15300ST – and the return of the double hash mark at 12 o’clock, à la maiden Jumbo.

Audemars Piguet offered the Royal Oak 15400ST with a choice of four dial colours: black, white, grey, and of course, blue. Blue Royal Oak dials have special significance since it was the original dial colour of the inaugural RO and they are traditionally boutique exclusives. As a result of their exclusivity, blue dials are particularly sought after.

Similar to earlier models, the Royal Oak ref. 15400 runs on AP’s highly respected in-house Caliber 3120 automatic movement.

The Increasing Value Of The Royal Oak 15400ST

During its short seven-year run, the Royal Oak 15400ST’s value in the secondary market has steadily increased. In 2014, the watch was trading for around £12,000 pre-owned (with original box and paperwork) and saw steady appreciation year on year. Today the 15400ST’s value currently hovers just shy of £17,000, a staggering 30% increase in only five years, which could well increase at an even faster rate now that the model is no longer being made – a very smart investment indeed.

Words by Celine Simon

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 15400ST is available to purchase here at Tempo & Time. Click here for further details.

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