The Royal Oak requires almost no introduction. Launched in 1972 it was the first luxury stainless steel sports watch, as designed by Gerald Genta, that ushered in the modern age of horology that we are still in now. Originally a response to the Quartz Crisis, its complicated construction and mechanical movement meant that it flew in the face of how other Swiss watchmakers were tackling the problem brought about by the onslaught of cheap quartz-powered Japanese watches. Instead of joining their counterparts by making their own Quartz watches en masse, AP dared to do something different, and so they created what is arguably one of watchmaking’s biggest icons. By around 1982 AP had decided to take the Royal Oak’s blueprint and expand into the realm of perpetual calendars, and so what we have here is exactly that, the Royal Oak Quantetieme Perpetual ref. 25654BA, one of the early entrants into the Royal Oak’s expansion into higher horology. Produced until around 1993, these watches have become icons in their own right as they take the Royal Oak’s original 39mm monobloc case design and fit it with the impressively thin automatic cal. 2021 movement to ensure that it stands only 8.8mm tall, which is truly impressive considering just how complicated it is. Featuring a beautiful champagne dial to match it 18kt yellow gold case, this example sports four sunken subdials with a moonphase, day, date and month indicator. Interestingly, earlier examples like ours lack the leap year indicator within the 12 o’clock subdial that were fitted on the later models, thus giving this timepiece a more spacious dial with a balanced aesthetic that feeds into the feeling of pure luxury that this watch communicates.
Loupe This Scorecard
Vetted & Approved
Est. value range
$80,000 – $120,000
Watch is in near-mint overall condition. Case exhibits sharp and crisp edges, having recently been refinished. Champagne dial in near-mint condition, showing no marks or damage. The bracelet has 20 links total, 2 of which are removable. There is little stretch in the band.
An intensely exclusive Royal Oak, the ref. 25645BA combined an all-gold construction with a movement from the upper echelons of watchmaking that took this reference far beyond what was originally conceived by Gerald Genta for the Royal Oak as a simple two-handed stainless steel sports watch.