Just released by Audemars Piguet is this incredibly lust-worthy Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar done in a titanium case. Intended for the United States market, this is a high-complication sports watch that will be nearly impossible to get even for those who can afford it. Creating a Royal Oak case out of titanium is no easy task due to how brittle it can be when machining the elaborate and sharp edges of this modern icon’s case and bracelet.
This isn’t the first titanium RO Perpetual Calendar, but this will be an initial exclusive for the United States market before limited availability in other countries in October. The beautiful blue Grande Tapisserie dial matched with the gray subdials is a new one for AP, and it looks absolutely stunning from the press shots and hands-on images I’ve seen on social media. I’ve been a big fan of the white ceramic RO Perpetual Calendar since it was released a few years back, and the white subdials (that match the white ceramic case) were a big reason why. Here the same effect of gray subdials matching the titanium case cut with the blue Grande Tapisserie pulls off the same simple formula with sporty elegance.
The Royal Oak case is not easy to machine with a material as hard as titanium (or ceramic, for that matter). The hardness of titanium causes the milling tools used to craft the case to wear out much more quickly than with steel or precious metal. This makes the process difficult enough, but crafting the case in titanium also requires the milling speed to be drastically reduced to avoid heat damage. This means more skill and time are required, but the final product is uncompromisingly Royal Oak.
The 6 o’clock subdial has the moon phase indicator and AP text; the 3 o’clock subdial has a day of the month indicator; the 12 o’clock subdial has both month and leap year indicator; and the 9 o’clock subdial has the day of the week indicator. As this is a perpetual calendar, it will not require adjusting until 2100 if it is kept fully wound.
The case measures 41mm-wide and 9.5mm-thick, which is damn-near-perfect sizing that’s made even more ideal with the light weight of the titanium case. Water-resistance is 20m, and I don’t think it needs to be said but…. folks, don’t take your Royal Oak Perpetual Calendars diving. That’s what the Offshore is for!
The slim profile of the case is, in part, thanks to the automatic Calibre 5134, a 374-component perpetual calendar movement that measures 4.3mm-thick — the result of adding a perpetual calendar module to the extra-thin calibre 2120, a movement that used to be supplied by JLC back in the day but has gone in-house at AP for many years now. Operating at a somewhat quirky rate of 19,800 vph, it has a power reserve of 38 hours, which is likely the most disappointing aspect of this otherwise near-perfect perpetual calendar sports watch.
This new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar in titanium is a watch that dreams are made of for horological obsessives and collectors. While there will be limited availability in the international market in October, this will be a U.S. exclusive upon initial launch this month. Of course, we all know that watch flipping has no national citizenship, so I expect we will see the occasional piece come on the market at some astronomical sum. For those who are lucky enough to get one, the Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Ref. 26574TI.OO.1220TI.01 is priced at $80,000 USD. You can learn more at audemarspiguet.com.