14790ST.05 ‘Yves Klein’ Blue Audemars Piguet Royal Oak
We love a Royal Oak around here. However, not all are created equal. In the pantheon of neo-vintage Royal Oaks, a few dials are clear standups. Right up near the very top are the rare electric-blue Yves Klein dials. Klein was a French artist who became known for frequent use of an electric blue hue which he later patented under code IKB 191. This Royal Oak perpetual and its electric blue dial seem to have been made in his likeness (though the association is not officially sanctioned). This ref 14790ST is perhaps its best expression, as the simplicity of its dial allows the blue to take center stage.
The underlying 14790 was introduced in the early ninties with a more-svelte 36mm case. This proportion also allowed for a then-razor 7.5mm height. The reference spanned three generation of dial with unique designs. This second series dial shows a different font for the AP signature, double caps for the AP, thicker hands, and longer indices. Still in use, AP’s ultra-thin 2225, a JLC 889 ébauche.
Interestingly, evidence has suggest these ‘Petite Tapisserie’ Yves Klein dials were produced by Stern Creations, who also made the original 5402 dials. The color has been observed in a range of references, including the perpetual, day-date, and chronograph. No one is quite certain why this very low but not limited production dial came and disappeared so quickly in the 90s, but that mystery is now lore. Many strange, limited, and slightly altered APs were released in this era. Something to be grateful for.
There are maybe one or two of these dials that come up for sale or auction every year. The watch matters, but dial is king here. Thankfully, it’s perfect. And the rest of this example is no slouch either. The case is full with strong brushing and edges. There is light surface wear with no visible hard dents. It comes with an extract confirming the .05 reference and subsequent blue dial.
Find this Yves Klein 14790ST here from Mr Watchley for 89750 EUR.