Tropical 25730ST Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Dual Time
Is there a more unique intersection of steel 36mm Royal Oak, usable complication, petite tappisserie, and character? This is, without question, the most outrageous dial I have ever seen to grace a 25730ST. Outrageous is an adjective chosen carefully; some will describe this dial as the work of the heavens and others as outright damage. Wherever you may fall upon that spectrum, one thing is quite certain: this is unlikely to be a repeatable proposition in the market for some time.
There are a multitude Royal Oak and Offshore references widely notorious for their tendencies to go a bit tropical. The 25730 isn’t really one which is front of mind. Mostly, the early blue petite tappisserie dials (which I suspect this was) stay blue. This is contrast to dials like the 25721 ‘The Beast’, where an early paint defect meant almost every example which saw any degree of UV light was destined for cappuccino coloring. Someone wore the hell out this Royal Oak, or left it by a window in Mauritius at the very least. And that, I like to imagine, is the best a watch or manufacture can ask for: use and love in equal measure.
The Dual Time Royal Oak is sweet spot for many, even without this immense character. It offers the classic 36mm Royal Oak proportion while displaying two time zones, power reserve, and a date. Moreover, this first series dial includes useful (if a bit inaccurate) hour demarcations on its power reserve where latter iterations left only lines. For travel companions with panache and style, I can think of few stronger propositions save perhaps Keira Knightley.
What I find particularly remarkable about this example is that the case is not abused to hell. Tropical dials often are wrapped in abused cases, both the result of a watch which has lived life to the fullest. But this bracelet and case show only the moderate level of wear one would associate with gentle use over a few decades. The contrast is beautiful and indicates that despite being worn frequently, the watch was cared for. It comes with an extract from AP, out of a well-regarded retailer in Amsterdam.
Find this 25730ST here from Amsterdam Vintage Watches for 46000 EUR.