Let’s review a timepiece that even now is still one of the hottest watches available. Still in production, but the list to get one is long, very long. The Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar in black ceramic made his debut in 2017 at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH). It caused a huge furor, nobody had ever seen a watch quite like this before, and AP managed this expertly. They didn’t make too big a fuss, instead letting the collector community and watch-loving celebs create the excitement for them. This became a model for most of their releases since then (a certain new family of watches notwithstanding).
Ceramic enters the collection
This model became the first all-ceramic (case and bracelet) watch from the brand. Making a difference from the normal steel and gold watches made by Audemars Piguet. The material is notoriously difficult to work with, and as every single link in the watch’s bracelet is unique, crafting a new edition in ceramic would require developing a brand-new mold for every single one. The process would entail a great deal of trial, error and, of course, money. In this process, Audemars Piguet CEO François Bennahmias was sure about this model and the success involved with it.
“Eight years ago, we were making ceramic bezels and cases, but when I took over the CEO position, I imagined a ceramic bracelet because I thought it would be ideal,” says François-Henry Bennahmias, CEO of Audemars Piguet. “The answer I got was that it was going to be impossible. It’s too complicated; it would take forever. I said, listen, I’m only 48 years old, so we have all the time to get it done. It’s going to be unbelievable.”
And although the watch is mostly black it does have enough contrast to keep it from being a flat watch. As with Royal Oak watches the dial has so many details due to the tapisserie. Made on old machines they transfer the dial design from a large disc onto the small dial. An impressive process with great results.
The perfect case-dial combination
Audemars Piguet inserted a slate grate dial with “Grande Tapisserie” pattern, black counters, white gold applied hour-markers and Royal Oak hands with luminescent coating, black inner bezel. It has a white lettering except for the red 31. Includes all the features of a Royal Oak, perpetual calendar with weekly calendar function, a chapter ring that represents the 52 weeks of the year and a white varnished indicator that indicates the current week.
The rest of the dial has a polished chaptering surrounding several registers, some of which are mono counters and a cruciform symmetry. The brand-pioneered indication may be found in the watch’s 12 o’clock sub dial, sharing space with the month display. At three and nine o’clock respectively sit sub dials displaying the date and day of the week, while in prime position at six is the watch’s pièce de résistance: a stunning, remarkably detailed moonphase indication featuring a photorealistic moon against the backdrop of a starry aventurine night sky.
To make this model even more complex, the 41mm matte-black case just right required a further 600 hours of research and development. The resulting design features a fine balance of brushed and polished surfaces, is light on the wrist, and is exceptionally sturdy. Also, according to the brand, it takes 30 hours to hand-finish and assemble the bracelet alone, or approximately five times longer than would be required to fashion a steel edition.
A robust movement
Inside this timepiece is the extra-thin Calibre 5134, which is based on the design of the original 1972 Royal Oak’s caliber 2120/2121.This automatic movement of just 4.31mm has a diameter of 29mm and boasts 40 hours of power reserve. Composed by 38 jewels, a self-winding mechanism and 374 parts, it works at a frequency of 2.75hz 19800 vibration per hour. All this combined allows this powerful movement to have the following functions: Perpetual calendar with week indication, day, date, astronomical moon, month, leap year, hours, and minutes. A thin movement that features an astronomical moon phase indicator which only requires a manual correction once every 125 years and 317 days. This moon phase is created by a laser and laid on a disc of aventurine, a dark blue semi-precious stone that resemblances the midnight sky.
The suspended barrel which helps achieving extra thinness is adorned with circular Côtes de Genève and the wheels are satin brushed. The main plate is circular grained while all bridges are beveled and adorned with Côtes de Genève. The 22K gold monobloc rotor is engraved with Audemars Piguet and its external segment is adorned with a tapisserie motif echoing the iconic pattern of the Royal Oak dials. This is an indeed sought-after collectible watch.
We at Gioielleria Bonanno have this and other luxury watches on stock. We are happy to have you in our community and always wish you a pleasant shopping. Feel free to visit our website or schedule an in-store appointment to see our extensive watch catalogue.
Brand: Audemars Piguet
Model: Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar
Reference Number: 26579CE.OO.1225CE.01
Movement: Calibre 5134
Case Material: Ceramic
Dial Color: Slate grey dial with “Grande Tapisserie” pattern, black counters, black inner bezel.
Indexes: White gold applied hour-markers and Royal Oak hands with luminescent coating
Water Resistance: 20 meters
Strap/Bracelet: Black ceramic bracelet with titanium AP folding clasp.