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 a superb and highly complicated variant of the Royal Oak- the discontinued Ref. 25820 with a highly desirable smooth grey dial.
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, the 25820, especially with a smooth grey dial, is extremely rare. Just try looking around for another, you won’t find too many as they were made in low numbers. On top of this, collectors who own this reference are often reluctant to let them go.
Flipping the watch over, you’ll be greeted with the beautifully decorated Cal. 2120/2802, with the engraved rotor especially stunning. This is a grande complication inside one of the most iconic sports watches and I have no doubt that the Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Ref. 25820 is an investment grade piece.