A very rare, fine and charismatic rose-gold day-date self-winding wristwatch of the famous Swiss watch brand Audemars Piguet, founded in 1875. Estimated production year: 2012. Case in 18k rose gold, diameter 39mm, 10.25mm thick, solid gold caseback with medallion and embossed “Royal Oak” emblem, and engraved H-series case number and model serial number on the rim. Black dial with enlarged ‘Grande Tapisserie’ pattern, ‘AP’ applied symbol at 12 o’clock, silvered outlines of the counters. Self-winding caliber 2325/2810, rotor with heavy segment in 21k gold, power reserve of up to 40 hours. Functions – indication of time in hours and minutes, date sub-dial at 3 o’clock, day of the week sub-dial at 9 o’clock. Audemars Piguet brown leather strap, Audemars Piguet 18k rose gold ‘AP’ double folding clasp.

Lot essay

Audemars Piguet introduced the Royal Oak reference 26330 with a double calendar day-date function circa 2010 as a successor to reference 25572, with a case enlarged from 36mm to 39mm. Thus, the brand continued to produce a ‘small’ complication in a size that, in relation to the Royal Oak collection, is widely known as that of the legendary Royal Oak ‘Jumbo’ model. Perceived as classic, it recreates the original proportions of reference 5402, albeit with a more complex dial design and a particular arrangement of the round counters along the horizontal axis, together with the wide circular brushed outline of the sub-dials. That’s why collectors nickname this model of Royal Oak, as well as the previous 25572, ‘The Owl’. 

The contrasting black and white ‘The Owl’ dial configuration complemented by the classic ‘Jumbo’ case makes for a unique combination, available only in the reference 26330, discontinued a long time ago

Reference 26330 was short-lived, and discontinued after approximately two years of production – remaining the only 39mm Royal Oak Day Date reference to have been produced by Audemars Piguet. While the original ‘The Owl’ was available in stainless steel, steel and yellow gold, yellow gold, and white gold, its successor reference 26330 is only available in stainless steel on a bracelet and in rose gold with a brown crocodile strap, as the present example, although some rose gold examples with a rose-gold Royal Oak bracelet do surface. Caliber 2325/2810 of the present example is the fourth-generation caliber based on an 889 movement-blank supplied by Jaeger-LeCoultre, long-term partner and supplier of Audemars Piguet, with the addition of a day-date calendar module.

Reasons to bid

The contrasting black and white ‘The Owl’ dial configuration of the present example creates a clean and well-balanced structure, making it extremely appealing and appreciated amongst collectors. The harmonious design is complemented by the classic ‘Jumbo’ case proportions. The fact that this unique combination, available only in the reference 26330, has been discontinued for a long time undoubtedly makes this watch even more desirable. Therefore, the Royal Oak Day Date Ref. 26330OR.OO.D088CR.01 ‘The Black Owl’ would be an excellent purchase for the collector who desires a very rare, fine and charismatic small-complication 39mm Royal Oak with a memorable ‘owl’ dial, produced by a world-renowned traditional watch brand, one of the undisputed leaders in the haute horlogerie watch market.