Tough as Nails

Bespoke - - SHOOT -

One of the pri­mary rea­sons Aude­mars Piguet’s Royal Oak has been able to main­tain its pop­u­lar­ity over the last 45 years is be­cause of its pi­o­neer­ing look, which com­prises an oc­tag­o­nal bezel, an in­te­grated bracelet and some su­perla­tive hand fin­ish­ing. While the first two points are easy to iden­tify, the last one isn’t widely ap­pre­ci­ated but when this watch came out in 1972 it ef­fec­tively over­turned pre­vail­ing watch codes by of­fer­ing the ex­trav­a­gant hand fin­ish­ing (such as bevel­ing, lap­ping, pol­ish­ing, and brush­ing) of a gold watch, but on a steel sports one. Over the en­su­ing years the brand has ex­panded the Royal Oak line-up with an ever wider range of com­pli­ca­tions and ma­te­ri­als and this year sees the in­tro­duc­tion of black ce­ramic for the very first time. Only avail­able – for now – on the model’s highly re­spected Per­pet­ual Cal­en­dar (which uses the cal­i­bre 5134, a move­ment based on the ex­tra-thin cal­i­bre 2120/2121 that dates back to the orig­i­nal Royal Oak of 1972), it’s ac­tu­ally the first watch to ever use ce­ramic from end to end (mean­ing the case, bezel and every link of the bracelet) and this was no sim­ple feat. Why? Be­cause, even though this 85,000 USD watch has the same 41mm di­am­e­ter as the stan­dard model, the fin­ish­ing of the case and bracelet takes sig­nif­i­cantly more time than its 60,900 USD steel or 95,700 USD rose gold equiv­a­lent. In fact, the brand says it takes five times more man­hours. The good news how­ever is that their pain is your gain, for this ver­sion is vir­tu­ally un­scratch­able, re­sis­tant to high tem­per­a­ture, age, and even ther­mal shocks!

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