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 sport 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.
Of late, while the Royal Oak itself has been immensely in demand, the discontinued perpetual calendars have been right at the top of it. Furthermore, the example here is one of the most special perpetual calendars Audemars Piguet ever produced, featuring a stunning open-worked skeleton dial. Open working has been one of AP’s signatures since the ’80s and the ref. 25829 is one of its most popular and iconic. Collectors have begun to realize just how special the perpetual calendars are and how rare they are, with extremely low production numbers.
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 open-worked dial is a work of art, beautiful hand finished, giving the wearer insight into the legendary caliber. Despite this, the watch remains legible and simple enough to use. Part of the reason why there is a renewed interest in perpetual calendar Royal Oaks is because 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.
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Openworked 25829 is truly an end game watch, a grail piece and one of the classics that will certainly endure the test of time.