AP’s first Perpetual Quantieme, the 5548, was conceived in secrecy during the height of Switzerland’s quartz crisis. At the time, the marque was struggling and contemplating leaning more on quartz for future models. Three senior watchmakers within AP (Michel Rochat, Daniel Golay, and Wilfred Berney) developed an ultra-thin perpetual calendar movement that would become an icon. They feared executives would not allow spending on development and so spent extra hours in this passion project. Their foresight and determination placed Audemars Piguet in a position of watchmaking prowess when mechanical luxury returned to dominance. It may be a mild hyperbole to state that this reference saved AP from the crisis. But it was certainly one of handful of watches to play a major role in resurrecting AP. This reference inexorably tethered AP to the perpetual calendar in the minds of many collectors, a complication which AP still commands today.
This second generation (or third if you count the nine examples of 5516 watches) 25657 was produced in parallel with the 24558, a late production 5548, in the early 1980s. Total production numbers have been confirmed by records to be 1821 pieces across all metals. There is 1 piece in steel, 5 in two-tone, 16 in WG, 128 in PT, 362 in PG, and 1309 in YG. Quantities were not limited by design but simply as a byproduct of how labour-intensive the movement manufacture was. The automatic caliber 2120/2800 was, in its time, the world’s thinnest perpetual calendar measuring in at a razor’s 3.95mm. I particularly love the sunken subdials, a hallmark of this generation.
This yellow gold example comes in excellent condition. The dial is perfect with all points matching and correct fonts. The 36mm case is worn very lightly. Small surface markings are all that is visible. It comes with a full set from a well-regarded retailer in Paris.
Find this 25657 BA here from The Archiwatch for 24900 EUR.