25594SA Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Day-Date Moonphase

There are watches you love right away, watches that shine brighter than Margo Robbie and have Nelson Mandela’s depth of character. 1518s, Rexheps, George Daniels, etc. Others though, take a little warming to. The two-tone (SA) ref. 25594 is neither. This is a watch that is so iconoclast that it somehow loops back to being completely logical. To start, the midsized Royal Oak isn’t for everyone. Then two-tone: it may be wider-understood and growing in popularity amongst watch enthusiasts today, but not universally loved. And then you have the two estranging big-eyes that gave the similar ref. 25572 RO Day-Date the nickname ‘The Owl’, but flanked by a moonphase. It’s all a bit much, but perfectly so.


I start with a plea. I have long been on a crusade to nickname this ref. 25594 the the ‘Owl Beak’. This, because where the standard oversized Day-Date eyes certainly resemble bird, doesn’t that moonphase aperture look just a bit beak-ish? I digress.

More importantly, the 25594 is one of the earliest 36mm midsized Royal Oak cases. It embodies neo-vintage Royal Oak with the flat, 5402-like AP signature and petite tapisserie dial. But then it also speaks to modern AP in true complicated watchmaking with the additional romance of a moonphase. This one, it just can’t make its mind up in any facet. And it has a lot of them.


In fact, the only way this RO makes any sense at all is through badly thought out metaphor, which I will now attempt to draw. The first time I listened to Radiohead’s In Rainbows, I didn’t get it. I knew that this was supposed to be an innovative band, pushing edgy, technical chord progressions in a relaxed, approachable way (first recommended by my then-piano instructor). I had heard Creep before and loved it, I’m not a philistine. But this? I felt nothing. Then, just one little guitar line from Reckoner kept playing in my head, on loop. And soon, I couldn’t stop. I listened to the album driving, cooking, probably in the bedroom; every waking second. And now it just seems to make perfect sense, can’t imagine life without it. The two-tone ‘Owl Beak’ (see? it works) has a long way to go for me before level footing with In Rainbows. But I can feel it starting all the same. I’ve been avoiding trying one on. Because I doubt it would ever leave.


This one is pleasingly worn well. It’s not a safe queen, but better looking for it. The soft gold bezel has hairlines, one or two light drags, and wears its 20+ years very, very well. Most importantly, the edges are all full. Sharp. Its dial shows no damage and all tritium is even honey. The claps shows surprisingly little wear. It comes from a well-regarded Swedish retailer with a full set.

Find this 25594SA here from Stories of Time for 27000 USD.