Tuscan Dial 25657PT Audemars Piguet Quantième Perpétual
For all the ads featuring one old, bearded, and extremely white man in a tiny Swiss village laboring away well into the evening, alone, that Richemont would have you believe, true handcraft is, in many mainstream watch brands, surprisingly uncommon. Remember when you used to believe Rolex was made by hand? Ah, to be young and naive. Audemars Piguet’s Tuscan dials are a celebration of that small corner in watchmaking where things are still done by hand at great effort and time cost, possibly the most absurdly labor-intensive finish to leave the gates at Le Brassus. And the dial suits the early QP more than any Royal Oak. Fight me.
This dial has thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of tiny little craters adorning its surface. Each was delivered with a tiny hammer, by hand. This isn’t a texture created by some electrolysis process or coating, this is just metal beaten by hand into something more. Allow me a slight metaphorical digression into my background here, physics. Tuscan dials always bring me here. I have long admired the helicopter over the airplane for its sheer stubbornness. An airplane works with the laws of physics to achieve lift, harmoniously. The helicopter, well, it sort of beats them down with an iron fist. Now, in watchmaking, dial texture can be achieved through a variety of means. Grand Seiko often applies mechanical process while lacquering dials, creating textures through working with machinery and chemical processes beautifully. Here, AP just said fuck it and beat the dial into beauty with a similar iron fist, a kind of submission to beauty through sheer will. It’s hard not to respect that resolve.
Tuscan dials are then galvanized to create a rich, slightly varying blue. Most were made for Royal Oaks, but some of these 36mm 25657s were graced with them also, cased in platinum. Within this reference, these and salmon dials are by far the least common. Strangely, the market has seen both this month, where I’ve waited years for either. This isn’t even the only Tuscan 25657 on offer right now, @thetimetrader.sg has one up for grabs too. That’s 2 of the 128 platinums ever made. It’s relative madness when you’ve been paying attention for awhile. We can all lament the market today until we’re blue in the face (get it?), but the upside is that many great watches are now surfacing. The real question is: is a Tuscan or salmon dial the ultimate 25657?
This example is lightly worn, evenly and beautifully. Small marks on the highly polished bezel, notably one tiny ding at 6. But it’s lovely and likely not polished going by the hallmarks. It comes with its full set from a well-regarded London retailer.