A fine, attractive and charismatic second-generation chronograph wristwatch of the famous Swiss watch brand Audemars Piguet, founded in 1875. Purchase date: 2011. Case in stainless steel, diameter 39mm, thickness 11mm, solid stainless steel caseback with engraved ‘Royal Oak’ inscription, case number and model serial number. Dark blue dial with enlarged ‘Grande Tapisserie’ pattern and ‘Roundel’ counters, orange central seconds and counters hands. Self-winding caliber 2385 with an inertial segment in 18k yellow gold, thin, with a power reserve of up to 40 hours. Functions – indication of time in hours and minutes, small seconds hand at 6 o’clock, chronograph with central seconds, 30-minute and 12-hour counters, and date between 4 and 5 o’clock. Audemars Piguet stainless steel bracelet, Audemars Piguet ‘AP’ stainless steel folding clasp.
Reference 26300ST is the Royal Oak chronograph produced from 2008 as a successor to the Royal Oak Chronograph Ref. 25860 in a modified three-part case designed to optimize its water resistance. The bezel of Ref. 26300ST was slightly wider than the bezel of Ref. 25860. Both use the same self-winding chronograph caliber 2385, which had been developed by the brand in collaboration with movement-blank producer Frédéric Piguet as a personalized version of its legendary caliber 1185. Royal Oak Chronograph Ref. 26300 was available between 2008 and 2012. Audemars Piguet subsequently introduced the Royal Oak Chronograph Ref. 26320 with an enlarged 41mm case and a newly-designed dial.
Ref. 26300ST was produced in stainless steel with many dial options, starting with Ref. 26300ST.OO.1110ST.03 to Ref. 26300ST.OO.1110ST.08, of which just two references feature distinctive ‘Roundel’ dials: the present reference (with a blue dial) and Ref. 26300ST.OO.1110ST.08 (featuring a brown dial). The specialty of the ‘Roundel’ dial is in the design of the counters, which have a contrasting (in this case, silvery) circular outline and a central zone in the same colour as the main dial. The dials of this style give the watch a distinctly sporty feel, which is why they are often referred to as racing dials. We use the designation ‘Roundel’ because the counters of this design are similar to the characteristic RAF roundel emblems applied as an identification mark, painted on military aircraft to identify them to other aircraft and ground forces. The other features of the reference 26300 dial are the original Gerald Genta Royal Oak rounded baton gold appliques and hands with luminous coating, printed (instead of applied) luminous rectangular markers at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock, and a large applied luminous triangle marker at 12 o’clock.
The present lot, featuring a rare blue ‘Roundel’ counters dial, offers a rare opportunity to purchase a watch with case number 3666
The present reference has a feature that is not typical for other versions of the 26300 model: in our research, we did not find varieties in the execution of the dial, while in other versions there are varieties. However, we allow for the possibility of varieties of dials that would be extremely rare. The present lot definitely stands out from all six main 26300 versions with a charismatic combination of a classic dark blue enlarged ‘Grande Tapisserie’ pattern, ‘Roundel’ counter design and contrasting orange accents.
Numerical execution and design variations make Royal Oak chronographs an extremely attractive object for collecting and research. The present lot, featuring a rare blue ‘Roundel’ counters dial, offers another rare opportunity to purchase a watch with case number 3666, the same as in another listing in this sale – that being the Royal Oak Chronograph ‘Yves Klein’ Ref. 25860ST.O.1110ST.04, marked by the same No 3666 (this is not a mistake, as these watches have different references).
Reasons to bid
The Royal Oak Chronograph Blue ‘Roundel’ Counters Ref. 26300ST.OO.1110ST.07 appears to be an excellent purchase for the collector who desires a fine, attractive and charismatic chronograph wristwatch from a world-renowned traditional watch brand, one of the undisputed leaders in the haute horlogerie watch market. The present watch is remarkable as a second-generation chronograph of legendary Royal Oak design with a distinctive and sporty ‘Roundel’ counters dark-blue dial. The combination of a historically significant design, the relevance of which is increasing, with impeccable technical workmanship and exquisite artisanal finishing of the Royal Oak case, the bracelet, and the movement, and excellent overall condition undoubtedly makes this lot highly attractive.
Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the legendary Royal Oak, this Ineichen Auctioneers sale offers an unprecedented selection of automatic chronographs produced by Audemars Piguet since 1998. Against the backdrop of other lots, above all the automatic Royal Oak Jumbo and Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar, which enjoy the active interest of collectors, the Royal Oak Chronograph has so far clearly been underestimated. It is, nevertheless, very attractive and promising for collecting part of the magnificent historical heritage of the Royal Oak collection. In addition, the Royal Oak Chronograph remains relevant as a luxurious daily wearer. The keen collector should note that also offered for purchase in this sale are other attractive and collectible Royal Oak chronographs, including the rarest and most desirable Royal Oak Chronograph City of Sails ‘Be Happy’ Limited Edition, Royal Oak Chronograph ‘Tropical Hands’, and Royal Oak Chronograph ‘Electric Blue’, among others.