The Audemars Piguet Replica watch was provocative, not only because of its price but mostly because of its unprecedented design. The basic but novel idea of Genta was to apply some concepts of jewellery into watchmaking. Until then, watches were basically designed as a sum of elements: a case, a strap, a movement and a dial that, all together, would create a timepiece.
Genta came up with an object to be seen as a single, consistent design, where case, bracelet and dial were part of a whole. This would later be named the luxury sports copy watch category, with its definition created after the Royal Oak’s design.
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Replica watch, known as reference 5402ST, was a mix of classic AP elements – ultra-thin movement, guilloché dial, high-end decoration and superior quality of the finishing – with otherwise unfamiliar specifications – use of steel, integration of a bracelet, decent water-resistance, time-and-date display and clear nautical inspiration.
And if the 1972 design was provocative, it gave birth to an array of competitors to become a true watchmaking category in its own right… and the most popular of them all, indeed. Still, the Royal Oak 5402ST Replica Watch was often copied but rarely equalled. It was produced – under series A, B, C and D, all with slight evolutions on the dial/bracelet/movement – until the late 1970s.