A fine, attractive and rare colour-change first-generation chronograph wristwatch of the famous Swiss watch brand Audemars Piguet, founded in 1875. Estimated production period: 2001–2007. 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, so-called tropical light-cream toned hour, minute 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 25860 is the first Royal Oak chronograph wristwatch 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 available in different variations and was mostly produced in stainless steel, as the present example, and predominantly fitted with a dark blue or matt silvered ‘Grande Tapisserie’ dial, featuring an original or enlarged ‘Grande Tapisserie’ pattern.
The dial design of the present example is characterized by such features as an enlarged ‘Grande Tapisserie’ pattern, round applied luminous markers at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock, “05” on the peripheral minutes/seconds scale, and the digit “2” with a rounded top scroll on the “20” and “25” markers in the peripheral minutes/seconds scale (which is typical for reference 25860). As usual in the Royal Oak Chronograph of that period when featuring a dark dial, the hands are painted white.
The present watch features an extremely rare so-called tropical patina with the hour, minute and counters hands obtaining a light-cream tone.
Numerical execution and design variations make Royal Oak chronographs an extremely attractive object for collecting and research. In particular, rare specimens of watches from the early period of this collection appear on the market where the original colour of some elements of the dial has changed, becoming patinated. There are known examples with a patinated main colour of dials which had initially been produced in matte silver or dark blue. We are very pleased to offer the present watch, featuring an extremely rare so-called tropical patina with the hour, minute and counters hands obtaining a light-cream tone. This rare colour change gives the watch an imposing appearance not intended by the manufacturer.
The watch case is fitted with screw-lock pushers and a screw-down crown, making it waterproof to a depth of 50 meters. The chronograph pushers are easy to unscrew and the requirement to apply smooth and pleasant pressure to activate the chronograph is a nice and very useful technical feature of caliber 2385 and its prototype Frédéric Piguet 1185.
Reasons to bid
The Royal Oak Chronograph ‘Tropical Hands’ Ref. 25860ST.OO.1110ST.03 would be an excellent purchase for the collector who desires an attractive, very rare and collectible wristwatch from a world-renowned traditional watch brand, one of the undisputed leaders in the haute horlogerie watch market. The Royal Oak Chronographs are increasingly attracting collectors who appreciate the iconic design of the Royal Oak in its chronograph applications, and intriguing rarities are being discovered through the efforts of experts and connoisseurs. The present lot is particularly rare and attractive due to the appearance of its so-called tropical patina with the hour, minute and counters hands obtaining a light-cream tone, contrasting with the white of the applied indexes, which were all originally white.
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, and Royal Oak Chronograph ‘Electric Blue’, among others.