I was disappointed to wake up this morning to the news that fashion designer and genuine icon of all things creative Karl Lagerfeld had died last night in Paris. Regardless of whether you're deeply interested in fashion or couldn't care less, Lagerfeld is a legend and was a force of nature that has had a massive influence over the fields of fashion, art, design, and popular culture for more than 50 years (and likely will continue to do so). It seemed like an appropriate time to remember one of the ways he influenced our little corner of the world too, regularly wearing an extremely unusual and interesting watch: an all-black Audemars Piguet Royal Oak from the 1970s.
Today a blacked-out watch might not seem like much, with countless aftermarket services available to turn literally any timepiece into a darker version of itself. However, this watch is 45 years old and came just on the heels of the first Porsche Design watches, which, in 1972, became the very first all-black watches on the market. Lagerfeld's watch was something unique though, customized to have a black case and bracelet to match the factory original black dial, not a production model release by AP. Lagerfeld was seen wearing it in photos and on video in nearly every decade going back to the 1970s and by all accounts really loved this timepiece.
There are a lot of unanswered questions about this watch, including how it came into Lagerfeld's possession, how it became black, whether or not he chose to make the watch this color, and more. However, according to the PuristS' article, the watch is in fact an A-Series Royal Oak with a 12XX serial number. This dates the watch to 1973, when it was delivered to Italy. What happened to the watch between then and when it landed on Karl Lagerfeld's wrist is a mystery, but it's been in his possession since at least the mid 1970s. The black dial is extremely unusual for an early Jumbo like this, not to mention the black PVD treatment (which has rubbed off along the edges of the case and bezel from heavy wear).*
Check out the original story about this watch on the PuristS right here.
Bonus: The Other Lagerfeld Watch

While the blacked-out Royal Oak is definitely the watch that is most often associate with Lagerfeld in collector and enthusiast circles,*it's not the only watch he was spotted wearing throughout his long and storied career. Most recently, he was seen wearing a solid 18k yellow gold Apple Watch on a special gold bracelet that was never made available to the public (the same one that Beyoncé and other celebrities were also rocking).*The best part though? He appears to have never actually set the thing up, instead going Andy Warhol–style, wearing it purely as a piece of jewelry. The image here, taken from Instagram, shows it in pairing mode, and many other photos have shown Lagerfeld wearing the watch in what appears to be a completely uncharged state. The folks over at The Verge even coined the term "Lagerfelding" to describe someone walking around with a dead Apple Watch on their wrist.*The man's legacy knows no bounds.


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