Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph
In order to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Royal Oak Chronograph, Audemars Piguet released this particular reference, 26331, in 2017. Despite the case dimensions remaining essentially unchanged from its predecessor, this particular reference was perfected with subtle design upgrades, what stands out the most is the use of two-tone dials as opposed to the usual monotone dials.
The History of The Royal Oak Chronograph
The Royal Oak Chronograph was by no means the first luxury sports watch to feature a chronograph, however, it is important to acknowledge the importance of the Royal Oak. First unveiled by Audemars Piguet in 1972 and designed by the visionary Gerald Genta, the original reference 5402A changed the landscape of horology, paving the way for high-end luxury sports watches. The design originally thought to have been inspired by the portholes found on a scaphander diving helmet and is said to have been drawn overnight by Gerald Genta and presented the following day at Basel World circa 1971.
The Royal Oak Chronograph was first launched in 1997, four years after the launch of the Royal Oak Offshore. The ever-elegant 39mm by 11mm case was fitted with an F. Piguet Calibre 1185, Audemars Piguet still uses this movement to date, despite having developed their own in-house chronograph for the Code 11:59. The original reference launched in 1997 ref. 25860 was eventually replaced by the ref. 26300 which featured a completely new case construction in 2008, thereafter the ref. 26320 introduced in 2012 represented the first time the Royal Oak Chronograph would be made available in a 41mm case. Upon the 30th Anniversary of the Royal Oak in 2017, the ref. 26331 was introduced to the market.
The Grande Tapisserie is synonymous with Audemars Piguet, the arduous task of creating the waffle-like pattern is not as seamless as it appears. The subdials found at both 3 and 9 o’clock have been slightly enlarged, they serve as a twenty minute and twelve hour counter interestingly the 60-second counter found at 6 o’clock is slightly smaller and no longer displays numerals. The date window found just above the 5 o’clock marker manages to blend into the overall dial due to this unique colour scheme. Along the circumference of the dial are 13 luminous hour markers, similarly, the hands for the timekeeping are also luminous. The raised applied logo found at 12 o’clock is a tribute to the original ref. 25860.
Audemars Piguet label the movement as Calibre 2385 which is based on the F. Piguet Calibre 1185. The Calibre 1185 is a highly respected movement and is used by other leading manufacturers such as Vacheron Constantin. Now decades old, Cal. 1185 is a relatively-integrated automatic chronograph movement featuring high-end touches such as a column wheel and vertical clutch with a one-piece reset hammer. The outer-case back correctly displays the unique serial number (PU2XXXX), matching the warranty card. The engagement of the chronograph no longer requires the impractical screw-down pushers, instead, the chronograph can simply be engaged at any time with relative ease.
This watch is accompanied by both its inner and outer boxes signed Audemars Piguet, as well as its original warranty card.
Brand: Audemars Piguet
Movement: Calibre 2385 / 1185
Case Diameter: 41mm x 11mm
Year: 2020 (sold)
Box & Papers: Full Set.
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