When it comes to Royal Oak chronographs, the Royal Oak Offshore gets all the attention. To be fair, it was the first Royal Oak to include the complication, but it wasn’t long until the original Royal Oak earned chronograph functionality, as well. In 1997, four years after the Offshore was born and during the Royal Oak’s 25th-anniversary celebration, the AAA US replica Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph ref. 25860ST watches was officially released.
Featuring a black dial with a “small tapisserie” pattern and chronograph sub-dials at three, six, and nine o’clock, the 25860ST was a Royal Oak through and through. The new chronograph maintained the 39mm diameter of the original time-and-date Royal Oak ref. 5402ST and was able to preserve the high quality Audemars Piguet fake watches’ slim profile, with a case height that measured just 11mm tall, pretty impressive for an automatic chronograph in 1997. (A feat that was only possible through the use of the famously thin F. Piguet caliber 1185 as a base for the new AP caliber 2385.)
However, my absolute favorite detail about the Royal Oak Chronograph ref. 25860ST is the nickname it earned rather quickly during the late 1990s. Luxury Audemars Piguet replica watches had signed the chess Grandmaster Garry Kasparov as an ambassador in 1996, and when the 25860ST was released a year later, Kasparov quickly adopted it as his go-to watch to wear while competing. Legend has it that Kasparov would wear the perfect Audemars Piguet copy watches on his wrist until preparing for his final flurry of moves, which is when he’d remove it and defeat his opponent. Given Kasparov’s success and cultural influence in the decade, the 25860ST ultimately earned the “Kasparov” nickname.
The 25860ST was eventually replaced by the Swiss made replica Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph ref. 26300 watches in 2012, during the 40th-anniversary celebration of the Royal Oak. It swapped out the subtleness of the “small tapisserie” dial pattern for the larger “mega tapisserie” design.
The 1:1 wholesale super clone Audemars Piguet ref. 25860ST “Kasparov” watches is still a Royal Oak after all, so it hasn’t necessarily become more accessible in recent years, but it doesn’t have the same cult fascination around it as the “Jumbo” or even certain cheap Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore fake watches. During the recent auction season, for instance, we saw a number of “Kasparov” examples from the late ’90s to the mid-2000s fetch everything from $40,000 USD to six figures. I think the former is where we’ll more likely see prices settle in the near future.