An extremely rare, charismatic and important Grande Complication wristwatch from the famous Swiss watch brand Audemars Piguet, founded in 1875. Made in 2004. 18k white gold case, diameter 44 mm, 14.8 mm thick, sapphire caseback. The slide for the minute repeater is located on the left side, split-chronograph pusher set on the winding crown. Copper colored so-called ‘salmon’ dial, 'tapiserrie' relief pattern, recessed counters, applied luminous white gold hour markers, luminous white gold hour and minute hands, blackened counter hands, slanted outer ring with seconds markers. Caliber 2885, almost entirely made of rose gold, self-winding with openworked engraved rotor in rose gold, power reserve up to 45 hours. Functions - time display in hours and minutes, small seconds hand at 9 o'clock, minute repeater, split-seconds chronograph with 30-minute counter at 3 o'clock, perpetual calendar with week number and moonphase at 12 o'clock, days of the week at 3 o'clock, months and leap year at 6 o'clock and date at 9 o'clock. Royal Oak white gold bracelet, Audemars Piguet 'AP' double-folding clasp. No. 16 of the numbered edition.
Royal Oak Grande Complication are among the rarest watches in the Audemars Piguet collection. This is due, firstly, to the extreme complexity of the movement, which includes 14 complications and is composed of 648 parts - this is undoubtedly the pinnacle of the modern collection - secondly, to the very high cost, and thirdly, to the obvious rarity. Such watches are produced in extremely small series or as unique pieces, which makes them attractive to the discerning collector who prefers truly valuable collectibles.
Audemars Piguet is considered a master of ultra-complex watches. Above all, it's one of the few brands that offer Grande Complication watches, both for the pocket and for the wrist. The term Grande Complication refers to a watch with a very complex movement that has three classic complications, namely a minute repeater, a split chronograph and a perpetual calendar as a standard set by tradition. Audemars Piguet is known for starting to produce the first Grande Complication pocket watches just seven years after its founding in 1882 and continuing until recently.
The Grande Complication is the crowning glory of the Royal Oak collection, its rarest and most complicated model. However, compared to many other versions of the Royal Oak Grande Complication, this model has a special iconic status.
The renaissance of interest in mechanical watches among the general public in the 1980s prompted the brand to develop the Grande Complication wristwatch. In 1992, the less complex automatic caliber 2880 Triple Complication was introduced with minute repeater, chronograph, perpetual calendar and moon phase display. in 1995, the brand released an early version of the automatic caliber 2885 Grande Complication with minute repeater, split chronograph, perpetual calendar and moon phase display. It was revised in 1997 and a week number display was added, sharing the sub-dial with the moonphase at 12 o'clock. Until recently, this caliber was used by the brand in two basic versions, normal and partially skeletonized, in modern Grande Complication watches.
The brand first introduced the Grande Complication to the Royal Oak collection in 1997, opting for a steel execution. Then in 2000, a unique piece appeared in rose gold and titanium, designed in collaboration with Arnold Schwarzenegger for charity and as part of the anniversary collection in honor of the company's 125th anniversary. Later, probably in the early 2000s, the 25865BC white gold models appeared in the collection, with four versions with dark blue, black, silver or anthracite dials, designated Ref. 25865BC.OO.1105BC.01 to Ref. 25865BC.OO.1105BC.05, with the exception of Ref. 25865BC.OO.1105BC.03. According to the available information, the present example with salmon dial is the only confirmed watch of this type that appeared on the market. Interestingly, it was previously sold at Sotheby's with the brand-approved reference 25865BC.OO.1105BC.01, which according to the brand's general catalog was reserved for models with the original dark blue Royal Oak dial. Most likely, this watch was delivered by the brand to the customer with an additional salmon dial to replace it upon request, as is customary for Audemars Piguet to configure exceptional collector watches.
It's very likely that this design is unique with its charismatic combination of the salmon colored dial and the white gold case and bracelet. This makes the present lot even more significant and one of the most important and attractive lots in this auction.
The Royal Oak Grande Complication in white gold is a very interesting subject to explore. These models were apparently never limited, at least we found no indication of that and no corresponding markings on the watches themselves. Of course, due to the obvious production limitations, the run was limited, and we can estimate it to be around ten to twelve pieces per year. According to an analysis of the available information, this number seems to be even lower. In particular, for the white gold models 25865BC, it's unlikely that the total production of all references exceeds 30 pieces, since the largest case number that appeared on the market is 23 (sold by Phillips). According to the available information, a total of 7 white gold watches with unique serial numbers appeared on the market. This is also in line with Audemars Piguet's rule of giving a uniform case number to models with different dial options but the same case material.
The present example becomes very special and attractive due to the extremely rare, probably unique version of the caliber 2885. The rose gold mainplate and bridges perfectly match the salmon colored dial. The skeletonized bridge of the self-winding gear is a monument to the traditional haute horlogerie with fine craftsmanship, including the perfect polishing of the inner corners, the most difficult technique for a high-quality finish.
This Royal Oak Grande Complication with salmon dial, marked on the case as No. 16 and made in 2004, is the only Ref. 25865BC in white gold in this execution type appeared on the market, which defines its unique status. This significantly increases the attractiveness of this example as a collector's item.
Reasons to bid
The Royal Oak Grande Complication Ref. 25865BC.OO.1105BC.01 No.16 is an extremely rare opportunity for the discerning collector to acquire a desirable and charismatic Grande Complication wristwatch from a world-renowned traditional brand that is one of the undisputed leaders in haute horlogerie market segment. The Grande Complication is the crowning glory of the Royal Oak collection, its rarest and most complicated model. However, compared to many other versions of the Royal Oak Grande Complication, this model has a special iconic status. It's one of only a few examples of this type that were likely produced. It's very likely that this design is unique with its charismatic combination of the salmon colored dial and the white gold case and bracelet. This makes the present lot even more significant and one of the most important and attractive lots in this auction.
*Under the aegis of Maître Marco Breitenmoser, Huissier Judiciaire