Rare Bird: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo ref. 5402ST 'Blacked Out'. The Watch that Belonged to Karl Lagerfeld Himself?

Image: HSTE WatchProSite

A very sad day in the world of luxury, fashion and glamour as Karl Lagerfeld passed away today February 19, 2019. Karl Otto Lagerfeld was a German creative director that led design at Chloé, Chanel and Fendi amongst others. In his early days as the mastermind of the fashion house Chloé, where Lagerfeld worked until 1992 —with a short 8-year hiatus in the 80s—, the are numerous pictures that were taken by Daniel Simon at Gamma-Rapho where Karl Lagerfeld is wearing nothing else than a ‘blacked out’ Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo ref. 5402ST A-series.

Lagerfeld not only wore what is one of the most unique of Royal Oaks at the time, but he also wore it over his shirt cuff like magnate Gianni Agnelli —a.k.a ‘L'Avvocato’ CEO and main shareholder at FIAT— the king of ‘sprezzatura’ used to wear his watches. Part of the success of the Royal Oak in Italy is linked to Agnelli who was one of the first rich and famous to wear the Royal Oak short after its release in 1972.

This ‘blacked out’ Royal Oak Jumbo along with other ‘blacked out’ watches—as Lagerfeld loved everything black—, are living testament of the earliest attempts at what could’ve been the use of PVD —physical vapor deposition— processes way before Audemars Piguet released the Royal Oak Offshore End of Days —the first black PVD watch— in 1999.

As you will see in the Getty Images below, the unmistakable Royal Oak bracelet along with the octagonal bezel with white gold screws are the tell tale in these pictures. The pictures date back to April 2, 1979 when Karl Lagerfeld was working at Chloé. Make sure you scroll through the gallery below.

Embed from Getty Images

The aforementioned ‘blacked out’ Royal Oak Jumbo has been featured several times by watch collector ‘HSTE on WatchProSite as he is the current owner of this watch. While it is not confirmed who ‘blacked out’ the Royal Oak Jumbo for Karl Lagerfeld or how collector HSTE came across this particular watch that ‘supposedly’ comes from Lagerfeld himself, several accounts state that when Lagerfeld was given the watch as a present in Italy —like many other gifts he was given—, it was already ‘blacked out’ as it appears in the Getty Images above. All pictures below courtesy of HSTE @WatchProSite.

We will continue to investigate further now that Lagerfeld is deceased as this watch right here could very well be another one of those very special watches that maybe one day will be auctioned at Phillips Watches.

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