Aude­mars Piguet’s

The Royal Oak Per­pet­ual Cal­en­dar re­ceives a num­ber of es­thetic and tech­ni­cal up­dates, once again show­ing the mas­tery of the horo­log­i­cal arts that de­fines Aude­mars Piguet.

Revolution (Hong Kong) - - CONTENTS - TEXT BY sean li

Royal Oak Per­pet­ual

Royal Oak Per­pet­ual Cal­en­dar Per­pet­ual cal­en­dars hold a par­tic­u­lar fas­ci­na­tion by the very scale of time­keep­ing, which is con­tained within such a small ma­chine. Go­ing from the smallest unit of time that we gen­er­ally deal with, a sec­ond, to the largest, a year, with months, days, hours and min­utes in be­tween, is a me­chan­i­cal feat in it­self, but to be able to con­tend with the lit­tle quirks we’ve had to add to ad­just for what amounts to round­ing er­rors in the Gre­go­rian cal­en­dar (i.e. leap years), is a tremen­dous achieve­ment. It’s a com­pli­ca­tion that also re­quires a true ap­pre­ci­a­tion, if not ad­mi­ra­tion, for the art of me­chan­i­cal watch­mak­ing, for it’s one – no mat­ter how user-friendly the watch­mak­ers have en­deav­ored to make it over the years – whose process of set­ting each in­di­vid­ual in­di­ca­tion rel­a­tive to each other takes pa­tience and an un­der­stand­ing of that par­tic­u­lar watch and move­ment. Sto­ries abound of those who ei­ther ad­justed the cal­en­dar at the wrong time of day, when key indi­ca­tors were in the process of chang­ing (oc­ca­sion­ally with a ne­far­i­ous ef­fect on the move­ment), or who too hastily ad­vanced the cal­en­dar – ei­ther hav­ing to restart the se­quence and ad­vance through a whole year, or, in some cases, hav­ing to send the watch back to be re­set by a watch­maker. With all that in mind, you can un­der­stand that a per­pet­ual cal­en­dar tends to be a prized pos­ses­sion in any col­lec­tion, and there is a high change that this will be a sta­tus en­joyed by the lat­est watch to be equipped with this com­pli­ca­tion from Aude­mars Piguet: the Royal Oak Per­pet­ual Cal­en­dar. The unas­sum­ing name does not im­me­di­ately lead you to see the nu­mer­ous up­dates that have been made to the le­gendary watch. You may re­call that the Royal Oak was first in­tro­duced more than 40 years ago, at a time when steel and lux­ury watches were not of­ten terms that were closely as­so­ci­ated. It took a few years be­fore watch en­thu­si­asts around the world took to the design, but since then, it has evolved into one of the in­dus­try’s true icons, in­stantly rec­og­niz­able and as­so­ci­ated with the il­lus­tri­ous Swiss brand. The new Royal Oak Per­pet­ual Cal­en­dar is now pre­sented with a 41mm case, which purists may de­cry but which truly does fit to­day’s stan­dards and trends to­wards larger watches. How­ever, these same purists will have lit­tle to say when they see that the move­ment, a new cal­iber 5134, which has been en­larged so that it is an ad­e­quate fit for the larger case. In the same vein, the dial also sees its pat­tern en­larged, and is dubbed “Grande Tapis­serie” – all in the name of more bal­anced es­thet­ics and bet­ter leg­i­bil­ity of the per­pet­ual cal­en­dar in­di­ca­tions. Speak­ing of these, the usual func­tions are present: day, date, month, hours, min­utes, leap year, and moon­phase with an as­tro­nom­i­cal moon. On the pe­riph­ery though, the watch also shows a more un­usual in­di­ca­tion with the week num­ber; while few coun­tries use it on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, it is of­ten re­ferred to in pro­duc­tion and busi­ness en­vi­ron­ments, par­tic­u­larly in Europe. It also pro­vides an in­ter­est­ing de­gree of gran­u­lar­ity within a per­pet­ual cal­en­dar, as it shows a sub-di­vi­sion of the year, which we are aware of but sel­dom enu­mer­ate. Even with these nu­mer­ous func­tions, and au­to­matic wind­ing, the cal­iber 5134 is only 4.31mm thick. Add to that the case, which in­cludes a sap­phire dis­play back so that you can peer at the su­perla­tive fin­ish­ing on the move­ment, and the watch comes in at a slen­der 9.5mm thick. Aude­mars Piguet’s clever ap­proach to up­dat­ing the Royal Oak Per­pet­ual Cal­en­dar, with sub­tlety and tech­ni­cal flair, has cre­ated an in­stant clas­sic, and one that will surely ap­peal to many who have yet to dis­cover the in­tri­ca­cies of this clas­sic com­pli­ca­tion.

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