The moment you think that the inventiveness of the currently most hyped brand must be exhausted for the year at some point, the makers from Le Brassus have topped it all with something unexpected. Hasn’t the thirst from all Royal Oak fans for new watches been satisfied enough during the course of the year?
With the Royal Oak Extra-Thin Tourbillon in black ceramic, for example. Or a little later with the release of the Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar in white ceramic – and above all the heartbreaker piece ‘Jumbo’ in white gold with a salmon dial, which some ardent AP fan would make a herculean effort to see live just once. Without causing any kind of sensation or making a fuss, a new model magically appeared online at the beginning of October and would have certainly earned a big moment. But as one likes to say, ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’. And this is a motto that Audemars Piguet has since perfected.
THE NAKED TRUTH
The secret star is a direct successor of the Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Ref. 26579CE.OO.1225CE.01 in black ceramic introduced in 2017. Instead of a tapestry pattern, it comes in a beautiful openworked version allowing a glimpse of the hand-finished calendar movement made for eternity. A first look on the watch promises enormous depth, but instantly the visual focus is drawn to the open-work dial in the foreground, something that is often lacking when it comes to skeletonized watches. But here, it is mainly the rose gold components of the applied hour markers, the rings around the counters and the Royal Oak hands that enhance the dial’s appearance.
The 41 mm case and bracelet are made of high-tech ceramic and the lugs are integrated into the case, which is extremely difficult to manufacture in ceramic, as ceramic is seven times harder than steel. The ceramic used on Royal Oak watches is unique in the sense that AP is the only producer that hand-polishes its ceramic cases. That takes around 30 per cent of the production time but it’s worth it, as the finishing uncovers a unique aesthetic. Unlike other brands, AP does not press or cast its ceramic components, but manufactures them by chipping or grinding them from whole blocks or rods. They already consist of the desired ceramic, a mixture of yttrium oxide and zirconium oxide that AP uses.
CALIBRE 5135 PERPETUAL CALENDAR OPENWORKED
The automatic manufacture calibre 5135 of the new Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Openworked Ceramic Ref. 26585CE.OO.1225CE.01 is technically related to calibre 5134 of the predecessor model with its tapestry dial. It has now been slightly modified with hand ornamentation to show it ‘naked’ from its most beautiful side. It is equipped with a perpetual calendar with a week indicator, day, date and an astronomical moon with leap year indication. It offers a power reserve of 40 hours.
Now of course we could speculate on what AP will pull out of the hat next in terms of Royal Oak. Will there also be an openworked execution in white ceramic coming? Or can we expect an openworked extra-thin perpetual calendar in ceramics? Until then, we should first recall an exciting past AP year and just enjoy.
The new Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Openworked Ceramic will probably drive some collectors crazy, in the sense that it will have an immediate buying impact. The good news is that this watch is not limited, but drives customers into the AP Houses where this watch is sold exclusively. Price 130’000 Swiss Francs.