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25865BC AP Royal Oak Grande Complication

25865BC-Audemars-Piguet-Royal-Oak-Grande-Complication

There are not many watches which can be said to truly be daily-wearable grand complications. Fewer still which execute this trick so nonchalantly. Let’s be honest, since ~2018 the Royal Oak has become a category unto itself, one with . . .associations (by which I mean baggage). However, this pinnacle of watchmaking hails from an era where everything sold under retail; an era when the thing that AP sold out was the Jay-Z Offshore. One has to admire that in the midst of that trend, AP stuck to their guns and (behind closed doors for VVIP clients) architected a watch which has never looked better than it does today, some twenty years on.

25865BC-Audemars-Piguet-Royal-Oak-Grande-Complication

Then there’s the extreme technical challenge the watchmakers at Le Brassus overcame. AP are kind of legends when it comes to ultra-complication. If you don’t believe me, Patek consulted AP during the construction of the Graves Supercomplication for their chiming expertise. Here, they’ve somehow surgically wound together a perpetual calendar, minute repeater, and split-seconds chronograph (~650 parts) all in the profile of this 44mm behemouth of white gold. The movement is constructed by a single master-level watchmaker from start to finish. The entire calibre 2885 is even hewn from pink gold, a close match to the Grande Tapisserie salmon dial.

25865BC-Audemars-Piguet-Royal-Oak-Grande-Complication

One could just as easily talk about the history. You all know the full Genta story already. So let me tell you something you probably don’t know about this particular grand comp. It is almost certainly the most complicated space watch of all time. That’s right. Canadian Guy Laliberté, the creator of Cirque du Soleil, wore a similar RO grand comp custom-ordered from Le Brassus in PVD in a very early tourist launch. You can go to space with your own custom order grand comp too if you’re the 459th wealthiest person on the planet (back in the era of launch that is, 2008). A fun tangent, right?

25865BC-Audemars-Piguet-Royal-Oak-Grande-Complication

This example shows no serious wear across any of its highly faceted and polished case. The same can be said of its bracelet. The period-luminova is a light blueish-green, offset by a dark blue moonphase. All checks out. It comes with a full set from a well-regarded Swiss retailer. Things like this don’t surface in the secondary market often, this is an auction highlight kind of watch. I wouldn’t expect a value-buy here. But still, what a fucking great watch.

Find this RO Grande Comp here from K2 listed as POA.

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