Famed for their legendary avant-garde designs and uncanny ability to create their own destiny, Audemars Piguet has long been established as one of the watchmaking industry's most effervescent brands. With a long list of industry firsts to their name, it's certainly no surprise when Audemars Piguet innovate, and so when they launched the Perpetual Calendar ref. 25668BA in 1988, they built upon that very reputation. Produced until 1993, the ref. 25668 saw 205 examples join its ranks, 94 of which were made of 18kt yellow gold like the example I have here.
There are two things about this watch that Audemars Piguet is known for championing: the perpetual calendar and the art of open working. Given just how much work and craftsmanship were required to produce a single example, it is no surprise that the Perpetual Calendar ref. 25668BA is as rare as it is.
Starting with its dial, the ref. 25668BA features an extremely pleasing openworked dial that sports the perpetual calendar's functions. Fitted with blued steel hands for each of these complications, a gorgeous moon phase indicator at 6 o'clock, and 18kt yellow gold hands for the hours and minutes, each of the ref. 25668BA's functions are legible as its display stands out against the open-worked movement's parts that lie beneath.
Powered by the automatic cal. 2120, the ref. 25668BA features one of Audemars Piguet's most historically important movements. Still used up until 2022, the cal. 2120 is famed for its incredibly thin profile and this being an 80’s model, lacks a leap year indicator. Even though this perhaps makes the watch less useful, watch collectors prize these references because of their historical importance and rarity.
With its open-worked bridges, the cal. 2120 reveals a labyrinthine network of gears, bridges, springs, and plates, all of which are hand-finished spectacularly, as a high-horology movement from one of watchmaking's holy trinity members deserves. Through its sapphire crystal exhibition caseback, the ref. 25668BA reveals another marker of its artistic quality - an elaborately engraved 18kt yellow gold winding rotor that sits atop open-worked bridges containing the same engravings on the little space that remain on them.
Housed with a 36mm 18kt yellow gold case, the ref. 25668BA's construction is pleasing to the eye and easy to wear given its round profile and short downturned lugs. With a stepped bezel providing additional depth to this incredible piece of artistry, the ref. 25668BA's dial and case combine to create the illusion that this watch is seemingly endless, as it will seem given just how much time can be spent staring into the mechanical abyss that lies within.