Back in Black
Audemars Piguet’s newest Royal Oak timepiece is going to be an instant classic 130
n 1955, audemars piguet crafted and manufactured the world’s first-ever perpetual calendar wristwatch with leap year indication. The perpetual calendar is a reminder that all of time measurement derives from astronomy and naturally occurring cycles. There were nine timepieces crafted at the time, all in 18ct gold. The Perpetual Calendar has since become a core part of Audemars Piguet’s identity.
Audemars Piguet has since launched several perpetual calendar wristwatches, among which was the 2016 Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar. Combining yellow gold and the iconic design of Gérald Genta, it was an inimitably complex and beautiful watch. Today, Audemars Piguet is enriching the illustrious line with yet another instant classic. More than 600 hours of research went into the development of this new wristwatch. Decked out completely in hand-finished black ceramic, the newest Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar is a sight to behold.
The signature “Grande Tapisserie” pattern makes a return on a slate-grey dial. It is complemented by black counters, white gold applied to hour markers, Royal Oak hands with luminescent coating, and a black inner bezel. Day, date, month, astronomical moon, and leap year indication hold pride of place on the dial, while the week of the year is displayed on the dial’s outer chapter ring. The astronomical moon is designed to be photo realistic, contrasting it with the rest of the black components.
Housed in an assertively sized 41mm case, the self-winding watch’s larger selfwinding calibre 5134 is fully visible through the glareproofed sapphire crystal caseback. The black ceramic case is water resistant to 20m. The bracelet that holds the case is black ceramic with titanium Audemars Piguet folding clasp.
Black ceramic is virtually unscratchable, withstands high temperatures and thermal shocks, and is consequently resistant to ageing. Before it can be machined and handfinished, the ceramic needs to be uniform, compact, and ultra-hard. It goes through numerous operations that demand extreme patience and skill. It takes 30 hours to machine, polish, hand-finish, assemble and control the black ceramic bracelet—while it takes only six hours to complete the same process on a stainless-steel bracelet.