A super rare, desirable and charismatic ‘Yves Klein’ electric-blue dial perpetual calendar wristwatch of the famous Swiss watch brand Audemars Piguet, founded in 1875. Estimated production period: 1995 – early 2000s. Case in stainless steel, diameter 39mm, thickness 9.3mm, electric-blue tapiserrie dial, early Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar ‘stick’ hands. Self-winding caliber 2120/2802 with an inertial segment in 21k yellow gold, ultra-thin, power reserve of up to 40 hours. Functions – indication of time in hours and minutes, perpetual calendar with indicators of date at 3 o’clock, day of the week at 9 o’clock, month and leap year at 12 o’clock, and moon phase at 6 o’clock. Royal Oak stainless steel, bracelet, second-generation Audemars Piguet double folding clasp. 

Lot essay 

The present lot belongs to the early period of reference 25820, which began in 1995 and ended in the early 2000s. The launch of this reference was associated with the modernization of the ultra-thin automatic caliber 2120/2800, which received a previously missing leap year indicator. The updated caliber was designated 2120/2802. A characteristic feature of the early period watches of this reference is the stick-shaped hour and minute hands, which are strikingly different from the original 1972 Royal Oak hands. The latter may be referred to as ‘Gerald Genta original’ hands, having a rounded ‘baton’ shape and filled with phosphor, while the ‘stick’ hands do not have a luminescent coating. It is clear that the choice of the ‘stick’ hands was made in view of the intention to minimise the overlap of the hour and minute hands with the counters of the perpetual calendar. The present Ref. 25820ST.OO.0944ST.02, which was produced in extremely limited quantities in the early period indicated, featured a deep blue dial, unusual for the Royal Oak collection, which was nicknamed ‘Yves Klein electric blue’ or simply ‘Yves Klein’. It seems to have been made inspired by the French artist Yves Klein, though the association was not officially sanctioned – the colour of the electric blue hue frequently used by the artist is even patented by him under the code IKB 191. 

A super rare, desirable and charismatic ‘Yves Klein’ electric-blue dial perpetual calendar watch is probably one of the most significant and attractive lots at the Ineichen's upcoming sale

In addition to the Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar, several other models in the Royal Oak collection have also been produced with a ‘Yves Klein’ dial, including the Royal Oak Self-winding Ref. 14200, Royal Oak Chronograph Ref. 28560, and Royal Oak Day-Date Moonphase Ref. 25594, mostly steel models. In the early 2000s, the brand discontinued the issue of these references. The present Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar ‘Yves Klein’ is the most complicated model among the ‘Yves Kleins’, the rarest and most valued as a collectible. Such specimens very rarely appear on sale, since the issue was small – Ref. 25820 of the early period is dominated by yellow gold and stainless steel models with non-tapiserrie dials, as well as popular stainless steel models with platinum bezels and black tapiserrie dials with distinctive silvery counter rings. 

Reasons to bid 

The Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar ‘Yves Klein’ Ref. 25820ST.OO.0944ST.02 is an extremely rare chance for the discerning collector to purchase a super rare, desirable and charismatic ‘Yves Klein’ electric-blue dial perpetual calendar watch from a world-famous traditional watch brand, one of the undisputed leaders in the haute horlogerie watch market. The ‘Yves Klein’ nowadays is considered a classic collector’s item that communicates a certain era in the development of the Royal Oak collection – from 1995 to early the 2000s, representing one of the rarest and most collectible versions of the Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar. The combination of impeccable technical workmanship, and exquisite finishing of the case, bracelet, caliber and dial, characterizing the brand’s watches, makes the present lot even more attractive, meaning it appears to be one of the most significant and attractive lots at the Ineichen auction house today.