A fine, attractive and rare first-generation chronograph wristwatch of the famous Swiss watch brand Audemars Piguet, founded in 1875. Estimated production period: 1997–2000. Case in stainless steel, diameter 39mm, thickness 11mm, solid stainless steel caseback with engraved “Royal Oak” inscription, case number and model serial number. Navy blue dial with enlarged ‘Grande Tapisserie’ pattern, small metal round and applied luminous markers at the 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions. 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 25860ST is the first Royal Oak Сhronograph produced since 1997 on the basis of the self-winding caliber 2385, which had just 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. 25860 was produced in stainless steel and available in multiple variations, of considerable interest as a collectible, and as a topic for thoughtful study. When collecting the early Royal Oak Chronographs, the following variations in design should be considered. Firstly, the original small ‘Grande Tapisserie’ pattern, which is typical for early models (like the present example), and the enlarged ‘Grande Tapisserie’ pattern, which was used in all other later Royal Oak Chronographs. Secondly, the somewhat inconspicuous detail of the number “5” or “05” on the peripheral scale of seconds/minutes, which seems to correlate with the small or enlarged ‘Grande Tapisserie’ pattern, respectively. Thirdly, the font of the Arabic numerals of this scale differs in the early and later versions. Fourthly, the markers at the 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions can be rectangular and pad-printed (whereas the rest of the markers are metal and applied), or small, round metal and applied. Fifth, the bracelet is equipped with a frame double folding clasp (the second-generation Royal Oak clasp) or an Audemars Piguet ‘AP’ double folding clasp (the third-generation Royal Oak clasp). Sixth, a notable difference is shown in the “No” sign engraved on the caseback, with the “o” as superscript or subscript, and the manner of the “Royal Oak” logo engraving. One should also take into account the collector’s appeal of the early Royal Oak Chronograph examples that have received a beautiful and unusual patina – such specimens appear on the market, although they are not widely presented. Please note, one such example (Royal Oak Chronograph ‘Tropical Hands’ Ref. 25860ST. OO.1110ST.03) is proposed in this sale.
The present lot is remarkable as an early chronograph in the Royal Oak collection, having a distinctive type 1 dial, making it a highly desirable item.
Reference 25860ST.OO.1110ST.03 is one of four main sub-references (01, 03, 04 and 05) of 25860ST, estimated at about a fifth to a sixth of the total production. The present example certainly belongs to the early production span of reference 25860ST.OO.1110ST.03, with a navy-blue dial with enlarged ‘Grande Tapisserie’ pattern, small metal round and applied luminous markers at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock, which is typical for this reference, and a Type 1 dial featuring a “7” of the hours counter scale with a distinctive notch.
Reasons to bid
The Royal Oak Chronograph Ref. 25860ST.OO.1110ST.03 Type 1 is an excellent purchase for the collector who desires an exquisite, very rare and impressive chronograph wristwatch from a world-renowned traditional watch brand, one of the undisputed leaders in the haute horlogerie watch market. The present lot is remarkable as an early chronograph in the Royal Oak collection, having a distinctive type 1 dial, making it a highly desirable item.
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 Blue ‘Roundel’ Counters, City of Sails ‘Be Happy’ Limited Edition, Royal Oak Chronograph ‘Tropical Hands’, and Royal Oak Chronograph ‘Electric Blue’ among others.