Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar 26574ST

The Royal Oak is not a stranger in our midst.

Museum Piece
Audemars Piguet Royal OakSwitzerland, 1969.

Introduction

The Royal Oak is not a stranger in our midst. Even more, this model has reversed the entire Swiss watch industry during the ‘70s, is one of the most iconic and distinguishable watches ever made and according to many aficionados worldwide it is the ultimate grail watch. The piece we have on offer, however, is very different if you compare it to your ‘standard’ Royal Oak. This is a Perpetual Calendar – or as Audemars Piguet refers to it: Quantieme Perpetual – which means it recognizes different month lengths and leap years. The dial of the watch displays the day of the week, date of the year, the week of the year, the month, the moonphase and it indicates whether it's a leap year or not. The perpetual calendar is one of the most prestigious complications and has a prominent space in the list of Grand Complications. The first Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar was launched in 1983. The reference 26574ST was introduced in 2015. It came in four different variations: two steel and two rose-gold versions with either a blue or silvered 'Grande Tapisserie' dial. Most importantly, it ran on the calibre 5134, which is the first reworked in-house perpetual calendar movement since 1977. The new calibre was larger than its predecessor calibre 2120/2800. The watch we can offer you dates back to 2018. The 41 mm-measuring case is made from steel as well as the bezel and bracelet. What we think is very cool about this piece, is the sapphire crystal caseback, which shows the astonishing movement. And finally, for all box-and-paper addicts, it comes as a full set and not just a regular full set! The large, green box has a watch winder incorporated, which we must admit is a very nice, little extra.  

Description

Audemars Piguet Royal OakSwitzerland, 1969. The quartz crisis was in full swing. Audemars Piguet, facing financial troubles, asked Gérald Genta to design a new watch. The managing director did not have many requirements. The watch had to be:From steel; Waterproof; Sportive; And oh yeah, the design had to be finished the following morning!That night, Mr. Genta was drawing designs as if his life depended on it. Little did he knew that during that particular night the watch that he had drawn, would become one of his most iconic creations. He got inspired by an old-fashioned divers helmet; the octagonal steel case, the screws in the bezel and the tapestry motive in the dial gave the watch this unique, industrial look. The well-known name came from a battleship from the British Royal Navy. A work of art was born!However, it was not a success from the start. The watch was back then, in ’72, considered as too big (39 mm) and too expensive (3,300 Swiss francs). It received fierce criticism and the watch was considered out of place. Nevertheless, the quality and charm could not be denied by collectors and trendsetters. One year later, after AP had sold 1000 pieces, sales truly took off and the AP Royal Oak became – as Genta himself said – a masterpiece.