Introduction

On September 17th, 2022, Nest Egg Auctions will sell an incredibly sought after watch: an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak men’s watch with an 18 karat rose gold case. This watch is a masterpiece of Swiss watchmaking, and indicative of the proud history of Swiss watches. This watch is estimated to sell between $40,000 and $60,000, making it the most expensive watch Nest Egg has handled. But, of course, the question is why. Why is this watch worth such a large price? To answer this question, we must delve into the history of Audemars Piguet and Swiss watchmaking.

History

Audemars Piguet was founded in 1875 by two men, Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet, in the village of Le Brassus in the Vallee de Joux of Switzerland. These two men began their business here for good reason: Vallee de Joux was the center of Swiss watchmaking. The Vallee is a region with many farmers. When snow covered their fields in winter, the farmers would stay in their homes and make complex watches. This made Le Brassus and the Vallee de Joux a natural location for Audemars and Piguet to run their business.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Watch Reverse
Reverse of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Watch

After beginning to sell movements to watchmakers in Geneva, Audemars Piguet began to make their own watches in the late 19th century. These watches were meticulously made, and often sported many complications (subdials, chimes, and so forth). These are art objects handmade by master artisans who have spent years perfecting their craft.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Exhibition Case Back
Exhibition Case Back of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Watch

The Royal Oak

Audemars Piguet introduced the Royal Oak in 1970, and it has become Audemars Piguet’s most popular model. Nest Egg’s example is recent, made within the last decade or so. It is an automatic watch, meaning that the watch’s movement (the mechanism that runs the watch) winds itself using the wearer’s motion. This is a miracle of engineering, and part of what makes watches like an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak so impressive. 

The Royal Oak also has what is called an exhibition case, which is a clear covering on the reverse of the watch. This allows the wearer to look at the movement as it runs. The Royal Oak’s immaculate machinery is, in itself, a work of art, and Audemars Piguet knew better than to cover it up.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Watch in its Case

AP Style

Nest Egg’s Royal Oak also sports a luxurious 18 karat rose gold case with a black leather strap. The design is clean and understated, with rich materials used in a functional and attractive manner. It is not gaudy, boasting of its value with diamonds and outrageous, extraneous detail. Rather, the Royal Oak is a beautiful timepiece intended to show one’s sophistication and taste. Someone who wears an Audemars Piguet is successful and stylish, but neither garish nor vulgar.

Nest Egg is pleased to sell this Audemars Piguet Royal Oak at our September Spectacular sale. If you are interested in bidding on this lot, please contact us at Info@NestEggAuctions.com.