In 2022, the Royal Oak watch is celebrating its 50th anniversary. In preparation for this event, the Audemars Piguet Heritage team spent a few years in the brand’s archives to better understand the history of this iconoclastic timepiece, which became a cultural icon within and beyond watchmaking.
At the June 6, 2022, lecture of the Horological Society of New York, Sébastian Vivas, Heritage & Museum Director at Audemars Piguet, will distinguish myth from reality in terms of the watch’s creation process as well as its reception, commercial success, and extraordinary destiny.
This lecture will share the results of this ongoing research, while shedding light on the major actors involved in the watch’s creation, among whom are Italian agent Carlo de Marchi, designer Gérald Genta, and former CEO of Audemars Piguet Georges Golay. It will also pay tribute to the many people and companies that contributed to the timepiece’s challenging development: case-maker Favre-Perret, movement-maker LeCoultre & Cie, bracelet-maker Gay Frères, and famous dial-maker Stern Frères.
About Sébastian Vivas
In 2001, Sébastian Vivas obtained his Master’s in Modern History at the University of Neuchâtel. He went on to publish the history of the Journal Suisse d’Horlogerie, a study awarded by the Fritz Kunz prize. From 2001 to 2012, Vivas served as Heritage Manager at Jaeger-LeCoultre, where he contributed to several exhibitions, publications, and to the creation of the in-house museum, named the Heritage Gallery, inaugurated in 2007.
Since 2012, he has acted as Heritage & Museum Director at Audemars Piguet, where he oversees the study, structuring, preservation, and communication of the brand’s heritage. He is assisted in this mission by a diverse team, which includes restoration watchmakers, historians, and archivists.
Among his notable contributions, Vivas directed and co-authored the book Audemars Piguet 20th Century Complicated Wristwatches, published in 2018, as well as the web platform APChronicles, launched in 2022. He also managed the project of the Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet, which opened its doors in 2020, and continues to curate its permanent and temporary exhibitions. Lastly, he has curated a variety of exhibitions for the brand, including Beyond Watchmaking (Shanghai 2016, Tokyo 2019).
The Horological Society of New York (HSNY) June 6, 2022 lecture will take place in-person at the General Society Library and will be live-streamed via Zoom. The General Society Library is located at 20 West 44th Street, New York, NY, 10036. Free tickets are required to attend in-person, and online. Doors open at 6PM ET, lecture and Zoom livestream to begin at 7PM ET. All HSNY lectures are free, open to the public, and recorded. Recorded lectures are made available to HSNY members immediately, and to the general public with a two-month delay.
HODINKEE is a sponsor of the Horological Society of New York.