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BREAKING NEWS: Gérald Genta’s personal Audemars Piguet Royal Oak smashes world record auction price

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Gérald Genta’s personal Audemars Piguet Royal Oak has smashed the world record for the most expensive vintage AP watch to be sold at auction with a hammer price of $2,130,767 at today’s Sotheby’s sale in Geneva.

Rival auctioneer Phillips held the record for less than a week, having achieved $1,073,319 in Geneva last Friday for a Royal Oak reference 5402ST A2 — said to be the second Royal Oak ever made and one of only four shown to the trade at Baselworld in 1972.

Gérald Genta Royal Oak

The connection to Gérald Genta, who designed the Royal Oak ahead of its launch in 1972, sparked a bidding war between seven collectors, who took six minutes to drive the price beyond $2 million.

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“In a year that celebrates the 50th anniversary of this revolutionary and iconic design by Gérald Genta, the magnitude of this record-breaking sale is a tribute to the continued influence of, and respect for, Genta’s far-reaching and historic contribution to the watchmaking industry,” says Mikael Wallhagen, head of Sotheby’s Watches in Geneva.

“One could not dream of a more exciting and important provenance for a Royal Oak, an Audemars Piguet or even any wristwatch, added to which, it carries a unique handmade feature by Genta himself. All of these elements set this very watch apart from any other, making it a true grail piece. Over the course of my career, rarely have I seen such an emotional response to any horological object, both by connoisseurs and enthusiasts alike, making today’s result all the more rewarding,” he adds.

The record breaking Royal Oak is unique, not only because it is the first time a Genta owned watch has come to auction, but also because the model, which was made around 1978, has the an 18ct yellow gold bezel that Mr Genta produced and added himself at his workshop in Switzerland.

The sale of Mr Genta’s personal Royal Oak is the highlight of a series of four auctions to sell 100 original watch design paintings by the designer, each paired with unique NFTs.

The first auction of this Icon of Time series, which took place in Geneva in February this year, was led by the original design for Audermars Piguet’s Royal Oak which ended up selling for US$610,586.

The second auction in Hong-Kong saw a never-before-seen alternate prototype design of the Nautilus for Patek Philippe – featuring a strap rather than bracelet – achieve $121,000. Alongside today’s sale of the Royal Oak, the auction included four rare oil paintings by the designer, which achieved CHF 2.3 million altogether, bringing the running total of works from the personal archive of Gerald Genta to $4.3 million.

The third and final tranche of the Gérald Genta: Icon of Time series is set to take place in New York from June 8 to 22 June and features some of the most impressive and valuable Disney watches Genta has ever designed.

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