Audemars Piguet introduced the world’s first perpetual calendar wristwatch with the leap year indication in 1955. Since then the brand has produced many more and last year it scored big with the launch of the Royal Oak Perpetual calendar in yellow gold. This year the brand from Le Brassus went a step further to combine a classical complication like the perpetual calendar with a modern material like ceramic to create Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Ceramic, the first Royal Oak with a non-metallic case.
Using hand-finished black ceramic, Audemars Piguet has created a striking new addition to the iconic line that’s extremely light and comfortable on the wrist. Ceramic has been used in watches for a number of reasons, thanks to its resistances to high temperatures, thermal shocks, aging and the fact that the material is virtually scratch-proof. However, it was a challenge to produce the watch and bracelet in matching ceramic. It took more than 600 hours of R&D and more than 30 hours to machine, polish, hand-finish and assemble a bracelet, a procedure that’s five time quicker when made using stainless steel. The black ceramic case is a modern 41 mm and has a mix of polished and brushed surfaces. It is impressive to see how well the brushed and polished surfaces sit on the bracelet.
The dial, with “Grande Tapisserie” pattern, is slate gray with black counters and displays a photo realistic astronomical moon that contrasts with all of the black components of the piece. The day, date, month, astronomical moon, week of the year is displayed on the dial’s outer chapter ring and the essential leap year indication is at the center of the dial.
This watch is powered by Caliber 5134, a movement that evolved from the Caliber 2120/2802 used for the 39 mm Royal Oak perpetual calendar. The key difference is the addition of a 52 week indicator. The Royal Oak is an iconic sports watch and introducing a new model with a perpetual calendar in ceramic was bound to get collectors excited. After huffing and puffing about the price (it costs as much as the yellow gold version), expect them to get on waiting lists.