You saw the pics and price, but don’t get too giddy. Upon closer inspection, this iconic Audemars Piguet Royal Oak looks like it has been the star of a Will It Blend episode. The previous owner was on his way to grab a burger but had a wipe out that resulted in a broken wrist and a broken AP. The concrete was hungry for stainless steel that day and took a few bites out of the once crispy top right lug. The wrist was repaired but the watch was not. The broken AP did not survive the healing process and was banished to a dark drawer for 7 years before being pulled out for service. Luckily the piece is back up and running smoothly, but the legendary sharp-edged Gerald Genta-fied case and bracelet still have memories of that day etched in them (literally).
We all know how the big watch media tries to brainwash enthusiasts with the unrealistic expectation that 20+ year old watches should be acquired in meticulously unpolished form. Well, this piece goes against that grain. If you think the refinishing looks unpleasant now, you should have seen it before. Of course we all want a NOS unpolished AP from the early 2000s, but do we want to pay the inflated $31,499 asking prices? There certainly are some nice 14790ST examples out there, but we’ve seen some pretty nasty offerings as well (the best is when the bezel screws are pointed in the wrong direction).
This Royal Oak has battle scars, but it can still be enjoyed. It’s worse than it looks, yet at the same time it’s not as bad as you’d think. Sometimes the ugliest fruit is the juiciest. Besides, if you can stomach the condition, here is your chance to get into an early short stick MK3 dial model at a lower price and possibly send it back to the motherland in the future for a factory refinishing. AP is known to do some incredible restorations and while it might take a year, it’s worth every penny. This is the classic dial you want, don’t settle for the white or blue.
- Reference: 14790, 14790ST
- Movement: Automatic, Swiss made
- Caliber: AP 2225
- Case Material: Stainless steel
- Diameter: 36mm (~39.5mm including the crown)
- Thickness: 8mm
- Lug-to-Lug: ~46.5mm
- Weight: 94 grams / 3.3 ounces
- Dial: Black short index (MK3)
- “No Box” date at 3:00
- Crystal: Scratch-resistant sapphire
- Gold bezel screws
- Band: Integrated stainless steel bracelet
- Buckle: MK3 AP logo clasp
- Crown: Screw-down
- Caseback: Solid, part of the midcase (movement is removed from the dial side) with gold screws, Royal Oak logo, watch No. and serial number engraved
- Retail Price: Discontinued, NA
Additional Info: MK3 short indices dial, signed crown, signed caseback inside and out, signed clasp with AP maker’s mark, case gasket ref EP-925034 / 193.014, 8 screws in the bracelet (including the clasp screws).
Age: This piece is an E series from circa 2000.
Includes: Watch only. No box, no papers. It may be possible for us to include a copy of a receipt from when it was originally purchased by the previous owner (with personal details redacted of course).
Condition: Good overall with heavy signs of wear on the case, screws, bezel and bracelet. The worst of the wear is specifically around the top right lug as pictured. It is scratched, nicked, dented, and even rounded off a bit. The case gasket is excellent. The crystal is excellent. The crown screws down and unscrews smoothly. The movement winds smoothly and the hands set as they should. The date flips at 12:00. The clasp locks into place and releases as it should. The bracelet is sized to fit a 7″ wrist without extra links.