The Day Date Moonphase
Shortly after the introduction of the original “Jumbo” 5402, Audemars Piguet experimented with a few mid-size versions of the design. These were meant to bring the Royal Oak to a wider audience, who at the time favoured more modestly sized wristwatches. In 1983, less than a decade after Gerald Genta’s sketch was turned into reality, Audemars Piguet introduced a Day Date version of the design, with the ref. 25572. Two years later, they improved the design by integrating a moonphase, with the ref. 25594. This was one of the first complications to be housed within a mid-size Royal Oak case.
Sized at 36mm, the reference was only produced for a handful of years. This example represents the earliest incarnation of the 25594, displaying a few distinctive features, from the flat “Audemars Piguet” signature to the stick hands. In many ways, this piece is reminiscent of the original Royal Oak pieces, and all the vintage appeal which they embody. In recent times, the balanced design of the Day Date Moonphase, reminiscent of the Quantième Perpetuel pieces from the brand, has captured the attention of collectors.
A balanced dial
The symmetrical dial of the Royal Oak 25594BA is rendered in a gold colour, which wonderfully complements the precious metal of the case and bracelet. With most examples displaying a white dial, this example is all the more unusual with its matching golden dial. It retains the more understated “Petite Tapisserie” pattern, forming the square and lozenge motif, as seen in earlier executions of the Royal Oak. Newer versions of the Royal Oak have since adopted the manufacture’s bolder “Tapisserie Evolutive” dial pattern, less faithful to the original design.
The flat “Audemars Piguet” font is also reminiscent of the one found on the reference 5402, further imbuing this piece with a certain vintage charm. Two gold counters display the day and date in an intuitive way, at 3 and 9 o'clock. The moonphase stands out at 6 o'clock, with the dark blue colour of the midnight sky matching the blued steel hands found in the day and date subdials. Evidence suggests the dial was manufactured by Stern Créations, the storied manufacturer which also produced dials for the Patek Philippe Nautilus and the Rolex “Stella” models, among others.
Though the majority of pieces come with lume-filled hands, this particular example of the ref. 25594 features unusual stick hands, which is believed to only have appeared on the first generation of pieces.
A Yellow Gold Royal Oak
An all-gold Royal Oak is a bit of a paradox. The Royal Oak was originally conceived as a luxury steel watch, yet its design and proportions render wonderfully when executed in yellow gold. Usually more susceptible to wear than its stainless steel equivalent, this 25594BA - with the BA standing for yellow gold - is extremely well-preserved, retaining its original lines, crisp hallmarks and a thick case.
At 36mm in diameter, and only 9mm 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. 25594BA hugs the wrist, in a way that is both supremely comfortable, yet distinctively elegant and characterful. Collectors have noticed that on account of the unique case shape of the Royal Oak, the mid-size versions wear much larger on the wrist than their dimensions would suggest.
This 25594BA comes with its original yellow bracelet and “AP” signed clasp cover. The blade-style clasp, which is found on all Royal Oak watches produced between 1972 and the mid-‘80s, is made out of white gold, as is confirmed by the hallmarks on the back. Having recently been serviced by Audemars Piguet, this example features a service crown, with the "AP" signature, ensuring the movement's waterproofness. It is also accompanied by its original, unsigned crown, which the previous owner requested to keep during the service.
This Royal Oak Day Date 25594BA is powered by the self-winding calibre 2224/2825, based on a Jaeger LeCoultre ébauche. This automatic calibre features 32 working jewels and beats at a frequency of 28,800 VpH, while delivering 40 hours of power reserve. It features an oscillating weight mounted on an unlubricated ceramic ball bearing, with one segment of the weight made out of 21-carat gold.
This Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 25594BA comes with an Extract from the Archives (to follow) and service paperwork from Audemars Piguet from late 2020. It is also accompanied by its original unsigned crown, which the previous owner asked to keep following the service by Audemars Piguet.