To much public acclaim and delight, Audemars Piguet have put in an early bid for star of the show with their ceramic Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar. Building on the gold and steel RO PCs from last year’s SIHH, this year’s release is a high-tech, mean looking version with “slate grey” dial and practically un-scratchable black ceramic case and bracelet.
The full Royal Oak case and bracelet in ceramic is a first for AP, requiring “600 hours” (or 25 days) of research to develop. Which, when one thinks about it, is actually pretty speedy — a testament to the abilities of AP’s engineers. Such is the complexity of working with ceramic, the construction of the bracelet takes quintuple the time to complete. With the Le Brassus based manufacture affirming, “whereas it takes six hours to machine, polish, hand-finish, assemble and control a stainless-steel Royal Oak bracelet, it takes thirty hours to accomplish these exact same procedures for the black ceramic bracelet.”
But boy, is it all worth it in the end. The resulting timepiece is remarkable and — in my opinion — a great continuation of the Royal Oak line, updating the classic 1972 aesthetic and functions to the wants of today’s consumer without compromising the ethos of the original Gérald Genta-designed watch.