25860ST ‘Kasparov’ Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph
Given recent world events, the moniker this Royal Oak holds is keenly poignant. Nonetheless, chess grandmaster and political activist Garry Kasparov is proving quite the fountain of insight during troubled times for all. Something of a reminder that many Russians are only hostage to a government operating as a mid-century New York mobster. Topical digression aside, Kasparov’s choice of watch was as considered as, well, anything he’s ever done; significantly more understated than any Offshore at a classic 39mm, classic in form, and complicated at its core. Checkmate.
The Royal Oak Chrono was introduced in 1997 and sold in 1998. The reference introduced an iconoclast 4:30 date placement and upside-down triangle hour marker. While these details might seem subtle to a layman, certified horologeeks were radicalized by the departure from 5402 design. Nonetheless, this makes a Kasparov an easy spot from across a room. This is that first reference, but a latter F-series example from production, which lasted until an impressive 2008 and ref. 26300ST successor. In that time, the classic blue AP petite tapisserie evolved into a grande tapisserie pattern, which was introduced in this white dial variant. Mr. K himself wore the early blue for reference.
Lore has it that whenever Kasparov knew without doubt that he had his opponent cornered, he would take his Royal Oak off and place it next to the chessboard. Some have even suggested this habit was so well-known that he would deploy wristwatch removal as a tactic when he needed his opponent to behave in a fearful manner. Imagine how intimidating it must be to train your entire life for one calculated battle of minds, only to find out you’ve measured up short in the form of this watch on a table. That’s the association this Royal Oak holds for me: menacing intimidation. If the 25860ST’s proportions aren’t intimidating, its demeanor and historic connotation certainly are.
This example displays a decent-to-strong condition. There has been no abusive polishing, which is most important to me. The case and bracelet hold moderate level surface wear, this watch has been worn. Its bezel in particular holds on gouge just ahead of 12, but otherwise is clear. No mention of service history. It comes from a well-regarded Swiss retailer.
Find this 25860ST here from K2 Luxury for 55000 USD.