In honor of the recent release of a new white ceramic version of the Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar by Audemars Piguet, I figured it was appropriate to take a look back at what I feel is its much more sophisticated older brother: the black ceramic version.
Released in 2017 at SIHH the new black Royal Oak was immediately a crowd favorite. Combining the more mature complication of a perpetual calendar with a robust, sleek, and stealthy outer material led to a hit for the company. Since then the release of the Code 11.59 has been the talk of the town, and not in a good way. The release of the white ceramic Royal Oak helps to distract customers, but it doesn’t do nearly enough to take the focus off of the Code 11.59. More importantly, it seems that Audemars Piguet is unable to do anything worthwhile outside of their much heralded Royal Oak line, which while being very “forward-thinking” in recent years, has also been the Achilles heel of AP. As the Royal Oak line is expanded upon, the brand grows more and more stale as it seems less and less possible that they’re capable of creating anything appealing outside of one line that caters to one segment of buyers.
For now let’s forget about that though and just look at the beauty that is the black ceramic Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar in a vacuum. Combining the previously stated stealthy outer material, in the form of a case and bracelet, with an elegant grey grande tapisserie dial leads to a very striking combination. Black ceramic sculpted in the shape of the iconic Royal Oak bracelet takes on a very refined yet sporty feel as opposed to being completely unnoticed or completely flashy the way many ceramic watches try and be. The use of an extra-thin Calibre 5134 movement further helps to aid the overall svelteness of what otherwise would have been a less versatile watch.
In a lineup of Royal Oaks where the total number is starting to rival the total number of Rolex Datejust combinations available, the black ceramic Perpetual Calendar stands in a class of select Royal Oaks above the rest. The movement holds a wind for 40 hours which compared to many watches now is fairly short, but taking into account the general complexity of the watch as well as the fact that they were trying to make a thin movement, the power reserve is nothing to gripe about. Coming in at 41mm in diameter and 9.5mm thick, the case size is more modern without being obnoxious, fitting with the theme of the rest of the watch. Looking at the moonphase, the use of an aventurine background really helps to bring some subtle color to the watch without going over-the-top. Water resistant to 50m and extremely versatile, this Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar remains a bright spot for Audemars Piguet in recent years.
The price of the Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar in black ceramic is approximately 93,000 Swiss francs.