The most distinctive characteristic of an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak watch is the octagonal shape of the case which was designed by one of the most famous personalities in the world of horology, Mr. Gerald Genta, in 1972. It has been part of Audemars Piguet’s DNA ever since.
In our previous watch post (RM 56 Series – Distinctive Elegance), we wrote about the dullness of some luxury watch brands and how they often miss the opportunity to introduce new innovations/features to their product lines. This isn’t the case for AP. The Swiss luxury watch manufacturer introduced the Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar in black ceramic (case, bezel and bracelet) at the SIHH 2017 (Reference #26579CE.OO.1225CE.01).
This year in March 2019, the Le Brassus based company also released a Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar in white ceramic (Reference #26579CB.OO.1225CB.01). But we will focus on the black edition for this post as it was the first watch in full ceramic.
As we already know from the previous Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar watches in steel and gold (Reference #26574 xx), the measurements are the same. The case size remains at 41mm and its thickness at 9.5mm (which, by the way, is 0.9 mm smaller than for the simple, or as non-watch enthusiasts would say “normal”, Royal Oak (Reference #15500 xx). It takes six hours to manufacture, polish and assemble the bracelet for the steel model but the ceramic version takes five times longer. 30 hours in total, to be precise.
As you can see on the pictures below, AP decided to match the shiny black of the case and bracelet with a slate grey dial with “Grande Tapisserie” pattern. The sub-dials for the day, date and month indication are black which combines well with the rest of the watch.
AP decided to use the self-winding caliber 5134 which is powered by the natural movements of one’s wrist. Before the introduction of the 5143 caliber, the perpetual calendar watches of AP where powered by caliber 2120/2121 (found in the original 1972 Royal Oak, once manufactured by LeCoultre, but now produced in-house). The luxury watch manufacturer decided to use the caliber 5134 for a 52-week indicator in addition to the day, date and month indication. The 4.31 mm ultra-thin automatic perpetual calendar movement is fully visible through the sapphire crystal case back of the watch. The Perpetual Calendar complication of AP keeps the time perfectly until the year 2100. You don’t need to adjust the watch if you keep it moving (at least in theory) but such a beautiful piece, you will want to take it for servicing to ensure proper care. The power reserve of the watch is 40 hours.
The retail price of this the black beauty is CHF 94,300 whereas the current market price is around CHF 160,000. As you see, it’s quite a popular piece on the market.
We at The Collectors Circle can say that Audemars Piguet did a great job on this timepiece. Everything is proportional and in the right place. The modern black aesthetics make the watch a must have within collections and, of course, the usage of ceramic as one of the most scratch resistant materials in the world brings some freshness to the product line.
Special thanks to our friend Austen Chu, who provided us with the pictures. Check out his Instagram account @horoloupe for more amazing watch content.
Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Ceramic Black
retail price CHF 94,300 but current market price is around CHF 160,000
no limitation, but is exclusive to AP boutiques
case diameter 41 mm, case thickness 9.5 mm
It’s originally a sports watch but it looks stunning with the suit. Check out @horoloupe’s IG account, so you see what I mean.
For years, ceramic was already a popular material for Audemars Piguet but the Swiss luxury brand had never used it for the whole watch before, including case, bezel and bracelet. 600 hours of R&D and the result is stunning….sporty but elegant at the same time.
Images: Austen Chu; Instagram account @horoloupe