D-Series 25721ST ‘The Beast’ Audemars Piguet Offshore
Often, that which was once violently unpopular has way of eventually coming back to grace with equal fervor: consider Eames chairs, the 993 911, high-waisted shorts, and even Ja Rule (okay, perhaps not that last one just yet). The Royal Oak chronograph’s versatile and anabolic sibling has long taken back seat since introduction in the early 90s, when Mr. Rule was charting. But those tides are slowly shifting, particularly for the very earliest Offshore variants which stayed true to Emmanuel Gueit’s pen.
Emmanuel Gueit was brought over by Omega’s Stephen Urquhart to help renovate Genta’s icon in the late 80s. He created an irreverent Royal Oak to be worn by adventurers and explorers. The Offshore he designed was a little more nuanced than just a larger 42mm case. The update included a more robust bracelet construction, a Dubois-Depraz chronograph module on top of a new JLC 888 derived base, antimagnetic caging, and Therban® rubber detail. Those small changes created a very different attitude to the proportion. Despite the overused cliche, what AP released was a Royal Oak very literally on steroids. No prizes for guessing where ‘The Beast’ name originated.
The Beast ran through three dial variations between D, E, and F serial numbers. This first series sports a tighter tapisserie cut and blue paint which would famously lighten over time. With enough UV wear, the brass plate underneath will often eventually be fully visible. Between safe queen and abuse, the blue tones of these dials often achieve wildly differing blue/gold tones, which collectors adore. It is estimated that 2600 examples of these first series blue dials have ever been produced, with 1250 falling in the first D-series which ran from 1993 to 1999. AP in the 90s had a habit of running models into the ground through infinite non-differentiated limited series. That fall from original Royal Oak grace left a bad taste for many. Take notes, Grand Seiko. Heavily criticized for some time, the exaggerated silhouette of the early Offshores are beginning to find collectability and appreciation outside ageing NBA stars. Abomination of an icon or innovative depature from the norm? That I leave to you.
This early example is numbered at 239. Its case is unpolished a shows moderate signs of wear. In particular, there is one bash at 6 on its upper bezel surface, running between the two screws in parallel. Otherwise, the transitions are sharp and the bracelet appears quite clear. The blue dial is still a quite electrically blue in tone, yet to turn bronze/gold. It comes with original box and extract from a well-regarded Swiss retailer.
Find this 25721ST here from Vintage Watches Zermatt for 50000 USD.