‘Yves Klein’ Dial 25820ST Audemars Piguet Royal Oak QP

There is something fantastic about pairing high complication with vibrant color. Somehow, complication and the effort required to create it tends to bring about the serious side of aesthetics and design, almost as a way of saying ‘you should take this seriously’. This is the other philosophy. Most collectors tend to prefer pre-leap year indication Royal Oak QPs, somehow closer to the AP of old. But this is an exception. This is what collectors call a Yves Klein dial, an electric blue named after French artist Klein, who became known for frequent use of the vibrant blue hue which he later patented under code IKB 191. Right around leap year indication was the first time AP decided to apply this color to the range-topping QP. And it’s a riot.


Leap year indication marks the changeover for me, and many others, of true vintage Royal Oak QP to neo-vintage. Things changed majorly in this generation. Prior, all Royal Oak QP dials were smooth. Tapisserie was reintroduced in the halo product, in both grande and petite scale. The metal portfolio expanded, even including tantalum. And AP got a bit creative in very small production dial colors. What I like about these small production oddities is that they’re about as close to being playful as a true heavy-hitter like a Royal Oak QP can get. The philosophy is about half-5548 QP and half Richard Mille. Dressing down complication, or at least taking it less seriously, is something I can get behind. As long as it’s not plastic and tonneau. The dawn of the 2000s and what we’d now call neo-vintage was a peak for experimental Royal Oak releases.

It remains a mystery just how many Royal Oak QPs with Yves Klein dials were actually produced. They’re always in steel cases, at least what’s know, between references 25654, 25686, and 25820. In steel, those 3 references comprise 958 examples across all dials. What fraction of these are YK? I suspect there were somewhere around 50 examples made in total from how frequently I see them in the market alone, but to be clear that’s pure speculation. Any hard numbers will likely forever remain a mystery. Except hammer prices, which are definitely hard to swallow, and have ranged from 200-400K US over recent years. Also, these can go tropical, and when they do it’s a purple tone. So wear your YK dials, people. It is the ultimate Royal Oak QP in my book, including Mother of Pearl dials, grande complication, or any Travis Scott thing you care to mention.


This is example appears in fairly good nick. There are some areas of wear around the lower moonphase and extremities of the dial that should be noted. It comes with an Extract of Archive, importantly noting a .02 reference ending, which is the reference for an original Yves Klein dial, quite importantly. It’s coming up as part of the spring auctions.