AUDEMARS PIGUET | AN EXCEPTIONAL ROYAL OAK PERPETUAL CALENDAR, REFERENCE 25800BC WHITE GOLD PERPETUAL CALENDAR BRACELET WATCH WITH A BRIGHT YELLOW DIAL CIRCA 1996
AUDEMARS PIGUET, GENEVE
AN EXCEPTIONAL ROYAL OAK PERPETUAL CALENDAR, REFERENCE 25800BC
WHITE GOLD PERPETUAL CALENDAR BRACELET WATCH WITH A BRIGHT YELLOW DIAL
Dial: bright yellow
Calibre: cal. 2141/2806 automatic, 34 jewels
Case: 18ct white gold, back secured by 8 screws
Case number: D80700, number 9
Closure: 18ct white gold Audemars Piguet Royal Oak bracelet with integrated folding clasp
Dimensions: 33mm diameter, bracelet circumference approximately 160mm
Signed: case, dial and movement
Accessories: Audemars Piguet Extract from the Archives
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MVT: running and calendar functioning at the time of cataloging.
CASE: in very good condition.
DIAL: dial and hands in excellent condition.
Please note that the movement has not been tested for the accuracy of time and may need a service at the buyer's expense. Sotheby's does not guarantee the future working of the movement and we do not guarantee the authenticity of any individual component parts since subsequent repairs and restoration work may have resulted in the replacement of original parts.
You are advised that watch straps or bands made of materials derived from endangered or otherwise protected species (i.e. alligator or crocodile) are not sold with the watch and we reserve the right to remove these straps or bands prior to shipping. Furthermore, the watch may not come with its original manufacturers strap or band.
Prospective bidders should review the Conditions of Business, Authenticity Guarantee, the Guide for Prospective Buyers, and any Important Notice in the sale catalogue.
Please note: Condition 11 of the Conditions of Business for Buyers (Online Only) is not applicable to this lot.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The online condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance purposes only. The images of the lot also form part of the online condition report for the lot provided by Sotheby's. Any reference to condition in the online condition report does not amount to a full description of condition. The online condition report may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the online condition report of the lot or shown in the online images of the lot (for example, the online condition report may not specify mechanical replacements or imperfections to the movement, case, dial, pendulum, separate base(s) or dome). Watches in water-resistant cases have been opened to examine movements but no warranties are made that the watches are currently water-resistant. The online condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation but rather the online condition report is a statement of subjective, qualified opinion (for example, information regarding colour, clarity and weight of gemstones are statements of opinion only and not statements of fact). Please also note that we do not guarantee the authenticity of any individual component parts, such as wheels, hands, crowns, crystals, screws, bracelets and wrist bands, since subsequent repairs and restoration work may have resulted in the replacement of original parts. In addition, certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot (for example, the online images may represent colours and shades which are different to the lot's actual colour and shades). For these reasons, the online condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. Prospective buyers should also refer to the Buying at Auction guide which includes important notices concerning the type of property in this sale. In particular, please note it is the purchaser's responsibility to comply with any applicable import and export matters, particularly in relation to lots incorporating materials from endangered species. Please be advised that wristbands made of materials derived from endangered or otherwise protected species (i.e. alligator and crocodile) are not sold with the watches and are for display purposes only. We reserve the right to remove these bands prior to shipping. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.
Audemars Piguet is recognized as one of the most important Manufactures in the world. Created in 1881 and located in Le Brassus, Audemars Piguet is synonym of complicated watches, especially minute repeaters and perpetual calendars, often housed in groundbreaking design cases. The brand perfectly exemplifies the famous sentence of French couturier Christian Dior: “Respect tradition and dare insolence: you cannot have one without the other.”
This is exactly what led the brand to create the Royal Oak, that was first presented to the public in 1972. Many legends surround that model designed by Gerald Genta (1931-2011). Amid the quartz crisis, the management of Audemars Piguet realized the interest of a luxury steel watch from the Italian market. They decided to entrust the perilous mission of designing it to Gerald Genta who already had an established reputation as a watch designer after creating some models including ones for Universal Genève and Omega. The first luxury sport watch he designed can be considered as his masterpiece. The shape of the case is inspired by a diver’s helmet. Interestingly, the name Royal Oak comes from a series of 8 vessels of the British Navy, hence the 8 sections of the bezel, who themselves refer to the oak tree located in Boscobel wood, Shropshire, which is where the future Charles II hid during the English civil war after the Battle of Worcester in 1651.
While the Royal Oak played a key role to re-establish and develop Audemars Piguet, it was a complication that also saved the Maison from the quartz crisis: the perpetual calendar.
In 1978, they launched the reference 5548. Thanks to its classic size and balanced dial, the watch immediately met a large success. It was the only alternative to the Patek Philippe 3448 for someone who wanted a high-end Swiss perpetual calendar timepiece. The Audemars Piguet perpetual calendars have this instantly recognizable cross-like 4 subsidiary dials design, faithful to the earlier pieces. While other brands used widows to display indications such as the day or the month, AP has kept this layout both in its classic or sport perpetual calendar watches such as the Royal Oak.
The perpetual calendar is one of the signature complications of Audemars Piguet. Jules Louis Audemars himself chose this complication for his school watch (also equipped with quarter repeating and dead beat second mechanisms) that he completed before 1875 and kept improving for the following 20 years. AP produced some of the finest perpetual pocket watches and wristwatches, with the reference 5516 for example. Before the late 1970’s, these wristwatches were produced in very low numbers by a handful of Swiss Manufactures only. With the 5548, Audemars Piguet led the way, before Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin or Blancpain to a wider production of these complicated pieces.
There is no surprise that AP decided to equip their spearhead model with this complication. The Royal Oak was first introduced with a perpetual calendar under the reference 5554 (later renamed 25554) in 1983 and made available the following year.
Based on the caliber, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendars can be divided into 5 categories:
- Perpetual without leap year indication: Caliber 2120/2800
- Perpetual calendar with leap year indication: Caliber 2120/2802
- Perpetual calendar with leap year indication: Caliber 2141/2806
- Perpetual calendar with leap year and weeks indications: Caliber 5134 based on the 2120
- Perpetual calendar ultra-thin with leap year indication: Caliber 5133 based on the 2120
While four of the five categories are related to the calibre 2120 and can be found in multiple references, the 2141/2806 was only used for one Royal Oak reference: the 25800. The reference stands out not only by its movement, but also by its size. Developed as an alternative to the standard models, this piece redefined the aesthetic of the iconic design. Its proportions offer a very special and unique presence. On the wrist, it looks and feels bigger than just the official 33mm.
The Reference 25800 was introduced in 1996, the year of manufacturing of the present lot. The confidential production was kept very low and the model was available during a few years only. After staying in the shadow of the normal size models, the 25800 is nowadays highly sought after by discerning collectors who have understood its importance.
The 25800 was also the first Royal Oak perpetual calendar to be produced in white gold (with the exception of an example of the 25654), such as the present example. Nonetheless, the reference was mainly available in yellow gold and steel.
The year 1996 was a bright year for Audemars Piguet, who introduced a series of Royal Oak Offshore with colourful dials on matching leather straps. Simultaneously, the Manufacture produced a few dials using some of these bright colours for the classic Royal Oak, including the 14790 and the 25800. Nonetheless, extensive research demonstrates that no other white gold 25800 with a similar dial has been presented on the international market, making it possibly unique.
Bright colour dials are exceptional in the watch world where someone looking for something different has to consider himself lucky with a salmon or a blue dial. Experience proves that brands who ventured producing more daring colour dials were right and created pieces of a timeless beauty. The aforementioned success of the Royal Oak Offshore, as well as the Rolex Stella or the new Oyster Perpetual launched a few weeks ago, demonstrates it perfectly. Nonetheless, this present lot sets itself apart by being a perpetual calendar an the only Royal Oak in precious metal that has appeared with such an incredible dial.
Finding a 25800 is a long quest for an Audemars Piguet enthusiast, finding it in white gold is even more exceptional and finding the only publicly known example with a bright yellow dial is a dream come true.
Sotheby’s is extremely pleased to present this exceptional piece to the international market.