‘Yves Klein’ 25820ST Audemars Piguet Royal Oak QP
About five years ago, I encountered my first Yves Klein Royal Oak at a collector meetup in San Francisco. I made an all-too-obvious audible gasp when I clocked it. My girlfriend of the time, who was starting to learn the ropes, said, ‘So that’s just a blue dial Royal Oak, right?’ as I started to handle it. To this I replied, ‘Yes, but it’s not just any blue, this is what’s called a Yves Klein dial.’ Well aware of the fact that having a special name meant I was going to be some time, she rolled her eyes and moved to the next table (we’re now exes). I didn’t get the chance to explain the Nouveau-Réalisme French artist or how it’s not actually officially connected to its namesake, perhaps for the best really. Many watches with a story, watches which I’ve dedicated this site toward, would elicit eye rolling from the non-watch-afflicted. This one, though, even more than the example I handled all those years back. Because it’s not just a Yves Klein dial, it’s my favorite iteration: the QP.
The neo-vintage ref. 25820 perpetual calendar is the most complicated expression of the Yves Klein dial color from AP and first QP to have leap year indication. The ultra-thin JLC 920 derived calibre just fits in the 39mm case with days of finishing work and a sapphire display back to crown the achievement. One detail I just love, the rotor rail used here is made of beryllium for wear resistance. The Royal Oak was such a success by the 90s that AP spent much of the decade getting very experimental with the formula. By then, the time-only Royal Oak had seen tantalum, bright yellow or ‘citrus’, ‘Ferrari’ red, and YK. But the QP then followed with a few particularly rare tones as well: anthracite grey, the incredibly labor-intensive Tuscan, salmon, and this electric Yves Klein. This has to be the pick, not just for rarity and outright fun, but also because evidence suggest Stern made these petite tapisserie YK dials.
It’s almost as if AP had intended these to become future classics. The 25820 saw the transition from the classic petite tapisserie to grande tapisserie, and that’s about as useful a marker in delineating modern AP from vintage as Luminova vs tritium is for Rolex; a clear dividing line. This YK comes from 2001, just before that transition, so we truly can call it neo-vintage. But there’s more, as these early dials can, and will, go purple-tropical if worn heavily in sun. It’s already perfect, but may get more perfect with many outings in the sun. Unlike my relationships (bit heavy on the personal voice there, I’ll dial it back in future). Perhaps best I stick with watches.
And it’s a killer example. First, it has an extract confirming the color (marked as 02) of the dial as original. Unfortunate, but that can often be an unpleasant surprise when you order an extract. This one’s solid. And the case is sharp, about as sharp as they come. Very little surface wear too. It’s a 2001 production and comes with just that extract from a well-regarded retailer in Geneva.
Find this Yves Klein 25820ST here from Iconic Swiss Watch for 172000 EUR.
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