6005BA Audemars Piguet Rectangular Royal Oak
‘The further from home one ventures, the more they know themself.’ This was a shower thought that flew through my mind many years ago while living in a foreign country for the first time. I’m not even sure it’s accurate. But the horological equivalent might be, which is to say; the further a collector strays from the beaten path, the greater they understand their own horological interest. Today, the reference in question is firmly off the beaten path . . .perhaps even in the realm of the bizarre. And it is undoubtedly worthy of close attention, even if purely academic.
Largely forgotten, AP’s reference 6005 hails from the late 70s, an era of fashionable bimetal, experimentation, and fuel crises (déjà vu?). While many of AP’s designs could be justly described as timeless, the rectangular Royal Oak is firmly of a zeitgeist. And that’s no bad thing. Genta did not pen this case, it was an evolution dictated by upper management, built his previous work, and executed by a team. This example sports a blue petite tapisserie dial, cased in 32x41mm yellow gold, the rarer jumbo model.
All rectangular ROs were equipped with the then-avant-garde and rather slim quartz calibre 2511. It has no running seconds, thankfully. Two interesting points on this movement. First, adjustments made via winding the crown effect only the hour hand. The minute track is adjusted via a diminutive inverted pusher in the center of the crown. Bizarre. Secondly, the high accuracy AP aimed for necessitated large power demands and so AP derived a mercury-storage battery system. When it was discovered that this was . . .let’s say less-than-ideal, service centers were instructed to use a more standard new replacement battery. As a result, modern battery life in these is less than 12 months operation. But what a twelve months those will be on wrist.
This example is the BA reference which weighs in heavy executed with full 18k yellow gold. Moreover, it features a blue dial which was produced in fewer numbers than the grey or gold. The link URL states ‘Yves Klein’ but it should be noted that this is not one of the ultra-rare Yves Klein blue AP dials. Just navy blue. Its shape is entirely present, though the flanks may have seen a light polish. The dial is unmarred, no luminous material here and therefore no degradation. It comes running well from a well-regarded London retailer.
Find this 6005BA here from Subdial for 29375 GBP.