The first Royal Oak Dual Time
Having first developed the dual time functionality for an earlier reference, Audemars Piguet decided to marry this practical complication with their increasingly popular Royal Oak silhouette in 1992. Sized at 36mm, the Dual Time 25730BA was part of an effort from Audemars Piguet to bring Genta's original sketch to a wider audience, through a range of sizes and complications.
As listed in Audemars Piguet's Extract from the Archives, which accompanies this watch, this particular 25730BA was registered in November 1992, suggesting it could be one of the earliest examples of the reference produced. Supporting this, the piece also bears a case number below 10, as indicated by the engraving on the caseback in the "N.00X" format. Produced for only a handful of years, the reference was eventually discontinued around the turn of the century, with few examples having appeared publicly since.
Featuring a date, dual-time and power reserve functionality, the Dual Time remains one of the most complicated mid-size Royal Oak's in the manufacture's catalogue. Bearing some resemblance to the dial layout of Patek Philippe's Nautilus 5712, this reference 25730BA retains legibility and balance, despite the wealth of information displayed.
An unusual dial
The dial of this Royal Oak 25730BA is rendered in a matte black colour, which wonderfully complements the yellow gold case and bracelet. Not typically used within the Royal Oak model, the black dial is deep and legible, enhancing the varied reflections and textures of the yellow gold case. A common colour combination in the world of design at large, the decision to bring together these two different tones certainly adds to the visual distinctiveness of this piece.
The dial integrates a range of different finishing techniques, from the smooth chapter ring and complication sub-dials, to the more traditional “Petite Tapisserie” pattern found in the centre. This pattern is a nod to the manufacture's earliest pieces, with newer versions of the Royal Oak having since adopted the bolder “Tapisserie Evolutive” dial pattern, which is less faithful to the original design.
The different complications are displayed throughout, with the date function at 2 o'clock, the second timezone at 6 o'clock, and the power reserve indication at 9 o'clock. The powdery gold colour of the printed text on the dial - from the numerals for the date to the minute track - adds further warmth to the overall design and echoes the tone of the case and bracelet.
Usually placed in prime position, in this case, the "Audemars Piguet" signature is discretely nestled within the second timezone indicator at 6 o'clock, yet again bringing coherence to the overall display. The applied “AP” logo and crisp, lume-filled indices further contrast the deep, black dial. Over time, the lume has faded to a creamy tone, which enhances the vintage aesthetic of this piece.
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 25730BA (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 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. 25730BA hugs the wrist, in a way that is both supremely comfortable, yet distinctively elegant. 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 25730BA comes with its original yellow bracelet and “AP” signed clasp cover. The hollow clasp itself, which is found on all Royal Oak watches produced in the early ‘90s, is made out of yellow gold, as is confirmed by the hallmarks on the back. This example also features the correct unsigned crown, which one should expect to find on the models from this period.
This Royal Oak Day Date 25730BA is powered by the self-winding calibre 2229-2845, based on a Jaeger LeCoultre ébauche. This automatic calibre features 54 working jewels and has 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 25730BA comes with an Extract from the Archives.