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Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Watch In Ceramic Hands-On

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Watch In Ceramic Hands-On Hands-On

If there’s one watch that still haunts the collective dreams of the watch lover community since SIHH 2017 it’s the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar. In ceramic. In the 40-ish years since the Royal Oak’s conception, Gerald Genta’s avant-garde masterpiece has seen it all. Cases made of steel, gold, platinum, and forged carbon, married to nearly every type of complication under the sun in haute horology – but never in full ceramic, both case and bracelet. It’s this fresh addition to the legacy of variety combined with one of the most iconic designs in watchmaking that have made this Royal Oak in particular one for the ages.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Watch In Ceramic Hands-On Hands-On

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Watch In Ceramic Hands-On Hands-On

For this year’s edition of SIHH, Audemars Piguet introduced the all-black Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar watch ref. 26579CE in ceramic – as aforementioned, marking the first time the Swiss watchmaker has paired this case material to this particular complication. However, unlike previous ceramic case offerings which usually came fitted with rubber or exotic leather straps, Audemars Piguet is also introducing a brand new ceramic bracelet, hand-finished to the watchmaker’s signature staggering degree of detail to perfectly complement the Royal Oak case.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Watch In Ceramic Hands-On Hands-On

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Watch In Ceramic Hands-On Hands-On

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Watch In Ceramic Hands-On Hands-On

From titanium and forged carbon to ceramic itself, Audemars Piguet has championed the use of exotic case materials for the better part of the last decade, so it should come as little surprise that the brand’s expertise finally gave birth to a matching ceramic bracelet for the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. But the bracelet didn’t come easily – some 600 hours of research and development were invested into its production, largely because the true signature of an Audemars Piguet isn’t just the employment of exotic materials, but a mastery of finishing them with traditional high-end techniques usually reserved for metals like steel or gold. And because of ceramic’s notorious difficulty to produce and manipulate, it takes a highly trained technician over 30 hours to machine, polish, hand-finish, assemble, and control this particular ceramic bracelet – over five times longer than executing the same production procedures on a standard Audemars Piguet Royal Oak stainless steel bracelet.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Watch In Ceramic Hands-On Hands-On

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Watch In Ceramic Hands-On Hands-On

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Watch In Ceramic Hands-On Hands-On

The end result is both seamless and sinister – delivering the same singular, unbroken aesthetic between case and bracelet we’re used to seeing on other Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar offerings in steel and gold, and quite frankly, the way the watch has always been meant to be worn. In ceramic, however, the watch remains lightweight, yet just assertive enough to lend the feeling of an ultralight titanium sport watch, but one whose finishing goes to eleven.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Watch In Ceramic Hands-On Hands-On

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Watch In Ceramic Hands-On Hands-On

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Watch In Ceramic Hands-On Hands-On

Since it sprung to life for the first time in 1955, Audemars Piguet’s perpetual calendar movement has been another hallmark for the brand, and while the self-winding Caliber 5134 fitted to this Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar still bears the less-than-subtle recessed adjusters on the 9:00 side of the case, it’s still a highly modern movement deeply connected to the brand’s origins, bearing the reminder that the source of all time measurement ultimately begins and ends in the stars. To be more specific, though, the 5134 is sized specifically for the 41mm case and yields a three-register layout with month and leap year indicators at 12:00, a moonphase display at 6:00, and the day of the week at 9:00. Running the circumference of the dial on the rehaut is a central-mounted 52-week pointer. Even at that level of complication, the 5134 runs a svelte 4.31mm thick, which helps maintain the Royal Oak’s classically thin silhouette.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Watch In Ceramic Hands-On Hands-On

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Watch In Ceramic Hands-On Hands-On

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Watch In Ceramic Hands-On Hands-On

It just wouldn’t be a Royal Oak without the textured “Grande Tapisserie” guilloche dial, nor would it be one without the applied white gold hour indices, or octagonal bezel – all of which are mandatory signatures that have collectively made this watch a joy to behold through the ages. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar edition gets one other neat flourish – a photorealistic rendering of the moon, as sharply contrasted against the inky black case as the real thing beaming down from a dark winter sky.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Watch In Ceramic Hands-On Hands-On

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Watch In Ceramic Hands-On Hands-On

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Watch In Ceramic Hands-On Hands-On

There’s a lot to love about Audemars Piguet finally delivering a bracelet in ceramic – and while the Perpetual Calendar makes the most sense for the bracelet’s debut, we’re holding out hope that a ceramic bracelet for the ROO Diver is soon to follow. The price for the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar (reference 26579CE) in full ceramic is $93,900, which is comparable to the asking price of the gold variants introduced in 2015. audemarspiguet.com

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  • ??????

    I suggest a drop test for reviews of ceramic watches.

    • ProJ

      And filming it on super slow motion. That’s watch gore in its best!

      • ??????

        1000 fps, 4k 🙂

      • but never in full ceramic, both case and bracelet. It’s this fresh addition to the legacy of variety combined with one of the most iconic designs in watchmaking that have made this Royal Oak in particular one for the ages.

    • Bozzor

      With good manufacturing techniques, ceramic is actually more than tough enough in day to day usage and even in realistic accidents – say dropping it from 10 feet onto a cement floor – and that is on top of near certain total scratch resistance. Weakness in ceramic stems from either micro-stress lines (which modern manufacturing techniques and QA/QC should eliminate) and the pores that are prevalent with ceramic. Smaller the pore, the tougher and less brittle the case: you can achieve that with special additives. This watch is scratch proof and would be quite survivable in day to day shocks and some extreme events for years…well, that’s the theory at least…

      • ??????

        It’s hard to believe in ceramic watches after I’ve read the post when Panerai asked $6k for repair of ceramic Radiomir with cracked case. The guy didn’t even drop the watch: just hit the door while walking in the room.. personally, I sometimes hit my watches in real life, so why risk? There is ~0% chance that my SS watches will crack. Is it same for ceramic ones? Who will tell..

        • Bozzor

          Can understand that view with some of the bad PR and that photo of the cracked Panerai – it really is enough to put you off. It becomes a balancing act of risks: sure, stainless steel will never crack in any real world situation, but scratches and dents are a real likelihood (far less with some of the Citizen and Seiko coatings). With ceramic, scratches and dents are just about impossible even if measured in decades. Cracked and split cases? That’s unlikely, but possible. If you are wearing them outdoors and are active, yes it is more likely. But in day to day office wear? Probably extremely unlikely with the latest techniques and technologies in case manufacture. But you will have to ask for a clear warranty policy. And I think much of this issue could be resolved if Panerai or the AD acted with a bit more integrity and an eye to the PR impact.

    • Gokart Mozart

      If they stop working instead of sending to Raymond for his clunk box can I get first refusal on those watches;-)

  • Malfoy

    So beautiful. On the Grail list for sure.

  • IanE

    Personally, I feel that the Royal Oak has been done to death (many times over). This version of the case looks to be one of the ugliest ever (on a par, even, with some of the dire Offshore variants). AP – now a stuck record!

    • Gokart Mozart

      What is your take on the Rolex oyster then?

      At least AP has put in loads of different complications and materials over that time.

      What has Rolex done over the previous 60 or whatever years?

  • Marius

    According to this article: “Since it sprung to life for the first time in 1955, Audemars Piguet’s perpetual calendar movement has been another hallmark for the brand, and while the self-winding Caliber 5134 fitted to this Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar still bears the less-than-subtle recessed adjusters on the 9:00 side of the case, it’s still a highly modern movement.”

    This sentence is self-contradictory. If the movement “sprung to life” in 1955 (which it didn’t), how can this caliber be described as “highly modern?”

    The reality is that this ceramic Royal Oak is using a 2120 caliber fitted with a perpetual calendar module on top. The 2120 movement itself was actually developed by JLC in 1967, and was called the JLC 920 caliber. Yet, interestingly enough, JLC has never actually used this movement in any of its own watches. Instead, this caliber was strictly reserved as an ebauche for Vacheron (1120/1121/1122); Patek Philippe (28-255 used in the Nautilus); and AP (2120/2121/2122). Patek doesn’t use this movement any longer as they developed their own in-house calibers (240, 324 SC), but Vacheron and AP are still utilizing it in their ultra-thin watches. As a result, this movement was neither introduced in 1955, nor is it “highly modern.”

    • ??????

      Excelent comment. This should have been part of the review imo.

    • DanW94

      Check your sources regarding the calibre. The article below, (go to the section on the movement) indicates it is indeed a 5134 calibre BASED off of the 2120 and this new 5134 is NOT modular but is in fact a one piece calibre.

      https://www.watchcollectinglifestyle.com/home/sihh-2017-audemars-piguet-perpetual-calendar-black-ceramic-ref-26579ce-hands-on-live-pictures-pricing

      • Marius

        I’m sorry, but I find it extremely hard to believe that this is an integrated perpetual calendar movement.

        Firstly, the AP official website doesn’t say anything about this movement being an integrated perpetual caliber. If this was truly an integrated perpetual, I’m sure that AP would make a big deal about it.

        Secondly, the website Watchcollectinglifestyle.com argues that this is a one-piece caliber. What does this even mean? Do they mean by that integrated or something else?

        Lastly, the backside of this caliber looks identical to the 2120. Given that the 2120 was initially designed as a three-hander, how could this “new” caliber be an integrated one? I have never seen a caliber initially designed as a three-hander be converted into an integrated perpetual calendar. An integrated perpetual, as the name implies, is developed from the ground-up as a perpetual, so how can it be “based” on a time-only movement?

        • Larry Holmack

          Thank you for all the excellent information and the time you took to help enlighten all of us!!!

    • MEddie90

      Agreed, The 2120 is a great ultra thin movement (if i’m not mistaken the only ebauche to be used by all of the “big three”) but far from modern. The fact that the calendar module uses pushers indicates that its far from modern, likely still using a big lever and program wheel as has been the standard since the inception of perpetual calendars. Nothing wrong with tradition but it’s far from “modern”.

      As an aside I like the use of a week indicator, useful for those who use the week and day regularly as opposed to date and month.

    • Gokart Mozart

      On a off topic point is this a manufacture movement? Does AP and VC call it a manufacture movement in their brochures?

      I am just thinking of the Tudor chrono with the breitling movement, and the misleading info put out.

      • Marius

        This is a very interesting question indeed.

        In the 1960`s, JLC designed and manufactured the JLC 920 caliber specifically for AP, Patek, and Vacheron. Yet, the movement was delivered as an ebauche, meaning that the actual finishing and decoration was performed in-house by AP, PP, VC.

        Nevertheless, at the end of 2000 — when the Richemont Group acquired JLC — Audemars Piguet sold its minority share of JLC to Richemont, but decided to retain the rights of manufacturing and ownership of the JLC 920 caliber. This means that AP is the only brand that can manufacture these movements today — they have the blueprints, as well as the special tools for it.

        However, because this is a high-end ultra-thin movement, manufacturing it can be quite challenging, and AP produces only a limited number each year. In fact, the AP Royal Oak Ultra-Thin 15202 has very long waiting lists precisely because of the movement — AP cannot produce these calibers in large quantities.

        As for Vacheron, although they label these calibers as 1120/1121/1122, they are actually manufactured by Audemars Piguet and then delivered to Vacheron, so technically, it’s not an in-house movement. However, you should keep in mind two important aspects:
        1. AP allocates only a very limited quantity of 920 movements to VC each year, and it’s not even sure how much longer this will continue. As a result, Vacheron watches using this caliber are even rarer then APs, which are already quite rare.
        2. Vacheron decorates the 920 calibers in-house to achieve Geneva Seal standards.

    • ProJ

      It’s interesting that Zach didn’t even bother to comment on this, 10 whole hours after your post. If I write an article on a website like ABTW, I imagine I would be closely following the readers’ replies..

      • Ariel Adams

        It really depends on the writer when it comes to monitoring comments. We will let Zach know.

      • All excellent points, thanks for chiming in. Of course monitoring comments is always a part of the process I enjoy, but I don’t always have the luxury of being right in front of my computer when a story goes live. In a perfect world, right?

        This remark in question was more generally in reference to the date of AP’s first perpetual calendar which debuted in 1955, and wasn’t meant to refer to the 5134 caliber which is in this watch. However, it was definitely too ambiguous, and I appreciate the feedback!

        • ProJ

          Thanks for the clarification!

    • Ariel Adams

      Thanks for the additional information.

  • Luciano

    Or for the same money you can buy a standard 3-hands Royal Oak plus a Perpetual Calendar (maybe from Patek) that doesn’t shatter if bumping somewhere.

    • SuperStrapper

      someone always makes this comment in a ceramic watch review, and gets it wrong. It doesn’t really matter if you don’t understand the finer points of ceramics, but in that case why choose to spread made up information. Do you actually believe this watch would shatter if you bumped it?

  • JF Schnell

    AP playing it safe. WE have seen lost of iterations before and this one well not so up to date. Still I like this watch. /since they are the establishment and this type was very successful among those lucky few so lets keep it up. Still hoping they will sell this kind of watches to a more affordable zone. (I know keep dreaming). I do not mean this movements and so on.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    All was going well ,…………….till i got to the price. ! . You could spot an AP a mile off because they all look the same !. Am not overly keen on the block like plasticy looking dial. A month complication,……………really ?. I loose the odd day but the month ? . I am a sucker for a nicely executed moon phase. It’s a bit clumpy, edgy and pointy for me.

    • EdipisReks

      Good thing you won’t going to buy it anyway.

      • Raymond Wilkie

        After some consideration i’ve decided just to get a $20 digital from Walmart.

  • Mark1884

    As with most AP’s, I like this one. The ceramic case/bracelet looks remarkable. The complications are great, as long as I don’t have to set them all! (I thought my triple date was bad enough)
    The described photorealistic moon would have been nice to see. Thanks to Marius for the interesting info on the movement.
    A nice watch, but horribly expensive.

  • Yan Fin

    This one needs a watch ruby on the crown

  • BNABOD

    Well it certainly looks very very well finished. But 600 hours to think about the bracelet so it took 4 dudes and dudettes almost 4 weeks to think it through. whoa some serious r&d time…not. I get it takes time to finish but it bugs me when numbers get thrown out w no context. Anyhow I can’t afford this but 100Gs seems insanely to me but what do I know

    • Gokart Mozart

      I was thinking that myself about the 600 hours.

      Roger Dubois expensive double tourbillons have more hours devoted to 1 watch on finishing alone.

  • WINKS

    A video would have been nice to show how the watch in changing light.

  • Scott

    Ariel, on iPhone the ablogtowatch header and search bar cover the title of the lead article. It’s quite distracting.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/64940bc1086dc7c9d4e3246718d1d221e87780928634240c1383c754d8dac30d.png

  • Damn. That’s nice. Guess I’d better start buying lottery tickets again.

    • IanE

      Of course you are (much) more likely to make progress by shunning lottery tickets!

  • Shinytoys

    Certainly separates the men from the boys, and cash from the wallet…

    • Chaz

      Careful how you word that sentence, pardner… 😉

  • Gokart Mozart

    This probably about the nicest ceramic watch I have seen in that it is about the least plasticy looking in photos at least. Holding it in your hand will probably be when it all falls apart in terms of a quality feel, in my opinion. Colour looks great in the pictures as well.

    I would still get it in steel though.

  • ProJ

    It’s interesting that Zach didn’t even bother to comment on this, 10 whole hours after your post. If I write an article on a website like ABTW, I imagine I would be closely following the readers’ replies.

  • mtnsicl

    Well, the caseback is beautiful. Hey, can I wear it with the case back out and the dial on the inside? I wish the screws on the back were lined up like the fake screws on the front.

    • SuperStrapper

      They aren’t fake… where’s that coming from? They are very real bolt , not screw heads.

      • mtnsicl

        So, there’s nuts attached to them on the inside. Because, you can’t turn them with a screw driver.

        • Raymond Wilkie

          That’s the trick – The AP has bolts on its face. Audemars Piguet only places the straight line in the middle of the head of the bolt to trick the owner of the watch into thinking that it is a hexagonal screw when it isn’t a screw at all.

        • SuperStrapper

          What you see on the rear of the watch is what is attached to them.

    • Raymond Wilkie

      Fake screws !

      • mtnsicl

        Dude, you’re screwed!

        • Raymond Wilkie

          Back off big boy, that aint my bag 🙂

          • mtnsicl

            Haha, screw off! See what I did there?

    • Raymond Wilkie

      That really annoys me to.

  • Chaz

    “Badass” doesn’t always come to mind when describing watches, but this watch is…well…BADASS

    • E Ezel

      Badass ugly and Badass overpriced expensive. Yes.

  • Scott

    Honestly, this is a great idea. The case finishing on the angles of the royal oak case and bracelet are the most legendary in the industry, but they also make the watch prone to lose it’s appeal over time. The sharpness fades and it’s very hard to refinish. Crafting these same curves in near scratch proof material will solve this problem.

    I hope they continue this to the chrono and 3 hand models which are the most iconic royal oaks.

  • Kevin

    30 hours of finishing work. At 60 Euro per hour, that’s 1800 Euro. That explains why the watch is $93,900.

    • Chefcook RLX

      In Switzerland you don’t even get your bicycle repaired at 60 Euros per hour.

  • Lincolnshire Poacher

    I’m a bit conflicted about ceramic. I like APRO’s, and APROO’s occasionally too. Not sure about the week number thing, I think Id rather a seconds hand.

  • Gokart Mozart

    I am quite dissapointed it takes only 6 hours to machine polish , hand polish, and assemble the Stainless steel bracket.

    Considering this is one of the best finished brackets around and it just takes 6 hours how long does it take other bracelets such as oyster or an omega bracelet.

    I thought the steel one would take like 30 hours. It makes you wonder about the price of the AP.

  • Yanko

    It is time to make one from wood. There is zero nobility in ceramic.

  • E Ezel

    $93.900 for a complete ceramic watch… woww. And it is an dog ugly watch too.
    And no micro-adjustment on the clasp?? I mean…. if that was the case with an Omega then it would be a negative. But with a AP of course it is awesome for sure ..

  • spiceballs

    First APRO I can appreciate with pleasant (subdued) use of colors, altho’ like Mr Poacher I would prefer a second hand and alternative marker for the week – marker on bezel perhaps?

  • Sevenmack

    This is one handsome watch! Ceramic, too? Yes, please.

  • Ulysses31

    I’ve always hated the styling of AP and this is no exception. That it’s ceramic makes it even less pleasant, if that’s even possible. I’d explain why but i’d risk getting lynched.

  • Azhigaliyev Maksat

    Wow ceramic watches are getting better and better, also expensive and expensive. I think ablogtowatch needs to do an article of top-10 ceramic watches. now that will be nice to read.

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