An Innovative Complication
In 1996, Patek Philippe released the world’s first annual calendar wristwatch. It was developed to show relevant information about the day, whilst also providing a more accessible price point for such a complication when compared with the brand’s perpetual calendars. An annual calendar only requires adjustment once a year in February, as it accounts for the long and short months throughout the year.
Not far behind, Audemars Piguet saw the potential of such a useful complication and started developing their own annual calendar movement. It is understood that the Quantième Annuel 25920 was briefly produced from 1999 to the early 2000s, remaining the only annual calendar Audemars Piguet ever made. The brand made the choice to house the newly designed complication within their mid-size Royal Oak design, which was popular with customers at the time. Only produced in stainless steel and yellow gold, this stainless steel example is perhaps the more versatile configuration, attuned to modern taste.
Initially designed as a luxury steel watch, the Royal Oak has since gone through many iterations, with this piece remaining close to its roots with a stainless-steel case and dark-grey dial.
The multi-levelled dial features a radial date and an off-centre month sub-dial. The contrast between the tapisserie pattern in the centre and the brushed outer section lends a satisfying depth to the dial, especially when it catches the light. Unlike with some other examples, the radial date is found on the outermost section of the dial, enclosing the index markers and month sub-dial.
The dial is a combination of modern and traditional, with the customary tapisserie pattern on the centre of the dial but with rounded, index markers instead of the usual stick index markers. The font on the radial date and the month sub-dial is in serif, and months that have 31 days on the sub-dial are rendered in red. The hour hand, minute hand, and index markers are all in the same style, while a slim red arrow hand indicates the date.
At 36mm in diameter, and only 8mm thick, this Royal Oak case is a beautiful twist of perspectives and size. Thanks to the slim profile of the case and bracelet, the ref.
25920ST hugs the wrist, in a way which may surprise the wearer, considering the complication it houses. Collectors have noticed that on account of the unique case shape of the Royal Oak, the mid-size version of the watch wears much larger on the wrist than its dimensions would suggest.
This Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Quantième Annuel 25920ST is powered by the ultra-thin AP caliber 2225/2814, derived from Jaeger-LeCoultre’s JLC 889 calibre movement. The first and only annual calendar movement developed by Audemars Piguet, the 35-jewel movement is rhodium-plated, with fausses côtes embellishment. It includes a self-compensating flat balance-spring, and a 21K gold rotor segment.
This Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Quantième Annuel 25920ST is accompanied by its original outer box, inner leather box, Certificate of Origin booklet and manual.
If sold within the United Kingdom, this Audemars Piguet Quantième Annuel 25920ST will be subject to 20% VAT. Viewings are currently suspended for the time being.