Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Kasparov Chronograph Technical Review
As early as 1997, this model was unveiled to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the birth of the Royal Oak, and has been faithful to the original size of the first Royal Oak “Jumbo”, ref. 5402 (39 mm). Today, the first generation of Royal Oak Chronograph has aroused great interest among collectors.
Tampering with the original design of iconic watches is often challenging and always a difficult task for watchmakers.
Although the first complication of Royal Oak first appeared in the early 1980s, it took Audemars Piguet nearly 25 years to change the design of Royal Oak by installing two buttons on the outside of the case. Audemars Piguet stayed true to the original “Jumbo” with a diameter of 39 mm and managed to accommodate one of the flattest self-winding chronograph movements ever made. The first Royal Oak automatic chronograph launched by Audemars Piguet is often compared with the Rolex Daytona 116520 and sold in a similar time span of 14 years (from 1998 to around 2011). Now it has become its own collector’s watch.
Chess player Garry Kasparov (Associated Press ambassador since 1996) particularly likes this timepiece because of his close relationship with the Swiss manufacturer. Some collectors even named this watch after him.
Note: You may find a difference between the serial number (manufacturing date) and the date of sale on the certificate; some fake watches may be displayed for a period of time before being sold…
The watch will undergo subtle evolution and changes, using different materials, dials and bracelets.
We can notice that the tapestry pattern of the dial is different between the first series and later models. For the first series E blue dials launched from 1998 to 2003, they are called “small tapestries” and retain the same attributes of the vintage Royal Oak, such as the 5402 or 14790 models (the dial is produced by the Stern Création dial manufacturer, The wristband is attached to the case by Gay Frères and the back of the watch). The dial is perfectly symmetrical to the three sub-counters with bronze bezels.
Some of these dials have the ability to turn brown by forming a “tropical” patina.
The gold variant has the same properties as the first series. We can observe that in future series, the golden model’s index will change shape:
Later series had a wider tapisserie on the dial, and the white dial called “Grande Tapisserie” soon joined the 25860ST series.
Unlike its long-time competitor (Rolex Daytona 116520), this model has a date window and an 18K gold oscillating weight between 4 o’clock and 5 o’clock. The dial is marked with the Audemars Piguet logo at 12 o’clock, and the inverted triangle hour markers allow you to recognize the Kasparov chronograph at a glance.
Around 2008, the model reference 25860ST was replaced by the model reference 26300ST with similar characteristics, and new colors were introduced; as well as a new case (with a removable case bottom) and a different button system.
The Audemars Piguet 2385 movement was the flattest self-winding chronograph movement at the time, with a thickness of only 5.5 mm.
Like the latest generation of the Royal Oak 38mm chronograph presented at Baselworld 2019, the “Kasparov” chronograph does not use a movement made by Audemars Piguet.
The movement is made by Frédéric Piguet (this case can be compared with the Rolex Daytona 16520 equipped with Zenith movement!). This is a F. Piguet movement with model number 1185, which is also used for the 1137 movement of Vacheron Constantin’s overseas chronograph and the 576 movement of the Breguet Nautical Chronograph.
On the mechanical side, the power reserve is up to 40 hours and the frequency is 21,600 times per hour.
• 1: Hour hand • 2: Minute hand • 3: Second hand • 4: Chronograph hand • 5: Minute hand (up to 30 million) • 6: Hour hand and half-hour chronograph hand • 7: Date window • 8: Start and chronograph Stop button • 9: The button is reset to zero • A: The crown for the manual winding movement • B: The crown for setting the date • C: The crown for setting the time
The first generation of Kasparovs was equipped with a “simple” buckle with the Gay Frères logo.
The following series are equipped with the famous folding clasp logo “AP”:
The push rod screwed on the case is designed to ensure the water tightness of the case at 50 meters.
Kasparov Chronograph Limited Series:
The 39 mm “Kasparov” chronograph was produced in various limited editions throughout its life cycle. The following are the most famous examples:
“Happy Sailing City” version-
The particularly rare titanium “City of Sails” version launched in 1999, limited to 300 pieces, the blue “Klein” dial and yellow hands are easy to identify. This model is called model 25860IS.
-“Alinghi Sailing City Edition”-
As the first version of the Royal Oak on a rubber wristband, this “City of Sails Alinghi” version is limited to 1,250 pieces for the famous “America’s Cup” sailing competition (circa 2003).