A rare and attractive limited-edition chronograph wristwatch of the famous Swiss watch brand Audemars Piguet, founded in 1875. Limited edition launched in 2003 to mark the 30th anniversary of the birth of the Royal Oak watch and the brand’s sponsorship of the Alinghi team, winner of the 2003 Louis Vuitton Cup and a challenger in the 2003 America’s Cup. Case in 18k rose gold, diameter 39mm, thickness 11mm, solid 18k rose gold caseback with engraved “Royal Oak 30th Anniversary City of Sails Limited Edition” inscription, case number, and medallion with regatta image in relief. White dial with enlarged ‘tapisserie’ relief pattern, flat grey chapter ring, silvered sunken sub-dials with fine circular grooves, luminous rose gold hour and minute hands, luminous hour markers. 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 hand, 30-minute and 12-hour counters, and date between 4 and 5 o’clock. Original black Royal Oak rubber strap, Audemars Piguet ‘AP’ 18k rose gold double folding clasp. Limited edition of 200 pieces.
The Royal Oak Chronograph 30th Anniversary City of Sails Limited Edition Ref. 25979OR.O.0002CA.01 is a special limited edition of reference 25960, the precious-metal Royal Oak Chronograph version of the first-generation Royal Oak Chronograph Ref. 25860, produced from 1998 to 2008. The City of Sails LE differs from the standard reference 25960 through several interesting and rare design features. The obvious features are its dial design with enlarged ‘tapisserie’ pattern, and the red Alinghi team logo on the chronograph hours counter at 9 o’clock. The numerals of the peripheric minute scale are also in red. The undoubtedly remarkable feature of the present lot is the distinctive design of the dial, with enlarged ‘tapisserie’ relief finishing, wide, flat chapter ring with large luminous Arabic numerals, and vertically-oriented Arabic numerals on the chronograph hour counter, all made in the spirit of the Royal Oak Offshore collection, namely of the original Royal Oak Offshore Ref. 25721ST of 1993. On the reverse side of the case there is a uniquely designed caseback made of solid 18k rose gold with embossed inscriptions and the image of a sailing regatta, which can be seen only in City of Sails limited-edition watches – in 18k rose gold, as in the present lot, in stainless steel (1250 pieces), and in platinum (50 pieces). All three City of Sails references are the first Royal Oaks on a rubber strap.
With a solid 18k rose gold case on an original Royal Oak rubber strap, a unique Offshore-type dial design with large, tangible Arabic numerals and a red-eye sub-dial at 9 o’clock, this extremely charismatic watch is one of the most notable limited-edition timepieces of the first-generation Royal Oak Chronographs.
The collector will surely be attracted by the fact that the 18k rose gold model is much more rarely on sale compared to the stainless steel 1250-piece City of Sails LE watch – the Royal Oak Chronograph 30th Anniversary City of Sails Limited Edition Ref. 25979ST.O.0002CA.01.
The present example uses the self-winding caliber 2385, typical for Royal Oak Offshore Chronographs, which had been developed by the brand in collaboration with movement-blank producer Frédéric Piguet as a personalized version of its legendary caliber 1185. 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 collection’s historical releases have been enjoying a significant rise in the interest of collectors, especially with this year’s commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the legendary design. With a solid 18k rose gold case on an original Royal Oak rubber strap, a unique Offshore-type dial design with large, tangible Arabic numerals and a red-eye sub-dial at 9 o’clock, this extremely charismatic watch is one of the most notable limited-edition timepieces of the first-generation Royal Oak Chronographs. Therefore, the present lot would be an excellent purchase for the collector who desires a spectacular, highly collectible and rare limited-edition chronograph wristwatch from a world-renowned traditional watch brand, one of the undisputed leaders in the haute horlogerie watch market. Moreover, this is definitely a watch with a strong and distinctive character, and therefore it would also be an attractive luxury daily wearer.