The Royal Oak, with its masculine octagonal case, exposed screws, and integrated bracelet is one of the most distinctive watches in the market today. It is imposing and recognizable, and in my opinion, one of the best statement watches money can buy.
The Royal Oak is not only famous for what it looks like, but also how it was introduced. First released in the ’70s, the original Ref. 5402 was a bold stainless steel watch designed by Gerald Genta that created shockwaves. It was designed as a luxury sports watch and the scandalous part was that it was priced accordingly- the same as an equivalent gold watch of its era.
People just could not accept that a pedestrian material such as steel could be priced so exorbitantly and consequently, it was not very popular. It was only after some time that the public saw this as something genuinely original and avant-garde. Today though, in-line with the craze for stainless steel, the Royal Oak is an icon.
This example for sale here is one of the most special Royal Oaks ever to be released- the 120th Anniversary Ref. 25810. Released to celebrate the brand’s birthday in 1995, 120 examples of this Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar were released. Housed in a heavy rose gold case, it is matched with a beautiful satin salmon dial that makes for a watch with a huge presence.
Furthermore, the Ref. 25810 marked the first time a Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar featured a leap year indicator and a week indicator on the periphery. What makes this watch extra special lies in the movement, where you can see a beautifully intricate, hand engraved ‘120’ rotor in commemoration.
With a 39mm case, it sits much better on the wrist than the newer 41mms, with not only better proportions but also being more faithful to the original. In fact, the movement inside this watch is the same you will find on the Jumbo models as it is the legendary JLC Cal. 2120 with a perpetual calendar module built on top. As a result, this watch shares the same thickness as the 15202 with a slightly thicker bezel to accommodate the perpetual calendar module. For such a complicated watch that takes into account how many days each month has, including leap years, this is truly impressive.
The discontinued Royal Oak Perpetual Calendars have become immensely popular in the last two years and it's easy to see why. For a long time they were underappreciated and I am glad to see that finally, collectors are taking this reference seriously.
In fact, part of the reason why there is a renewed interest in perpetual calendar Royal Oaks is that AP themselves have been releasing many of their iconic new models with this collection, from the black and white ceramic models, including the most recent open-worked version, and of course the insane RD2 ultra, ultra-thin.
While the current Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar is fairly common, this 25810 is one that is rarely seen available on the market. It is a truly iconic and special reference.