Unlike other timeless classics, it seems that the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak is able to take on various forms and materials without corrupting all the things that make it great. (I’m afraid less so with the Royal Oak Offshore in my opinion).
The Royal Oak Perpetual calendar in blue ceramic is no exception. You know what it is, you know what it does, and frankly, you want one. Part of the reason for the Royal Oak’s versatility is that its design language is so strong, memorable, and iconic. They can play with it and not rub people the wrong way.
The Bracelet looks great in any material, and the octagonal bezel with through bolts is recognizable from across the room. So why not make it in blue? It’s a logical (however bold!) move. After the previous success of black and white ceramic models it’s a welcome choice.
I tend to be a purist, shying away from modern materials but the blue ceramic does indeed seem like not only an upgrade. But a modern wakeup call reminding us that the Royal Oak was, and is still is, a force to be reckoned with.
New Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar: 40-hour power reserve
In terms of size it comes in at a comfortable 41mm diameter and 9.5mm thickness. I would have rather sacrificed a little depth as 9.5mm is quite thin. To be able to have the movement – the Audemars Piquet calibre 5134 – upgraded from 40 hours power reserve to 72 is something I think at this level is not an unreasonable request. That’s especially true with a perpetual calendar that I’d rather not have to reset on Monday morning after taking it off of Friday night in favour of my weekend timepiece.
The snarky watch collector in me wants to demand that Audemars Piguet include a watch winder with every purchase so I won’t have to put up with this annoyance.
The other fly in the ointment for me is the 20 meters water resistance. I can technically understand with the recessed pushers for the calendar setting mechanism that this might be necessary. But it just doesn’t sit right with me that outside of splashing water this sport watch isn’t going to be part of any water sports. Or any potentially wet environment for that matter. Next time Audemars Piquet please keep the “sport” in “sport watch”.
Part of the reason for the Royal Oak’s versatility might be that its design language is so strong, memorable, and iconic they can play with it and not rub people the wrong way.
The grande tapisserie dial in matching blue is stunning, and the layout is logical. I do like that there are no running seconds on the watch. As I get older I’m more interested in being present counting moments in life not counting seconds on my watch. It seems fitting when a watch is tracking the moon, months, days and leaps years that it doesn’t have to show you your life in seconds.
Colin Potts is founder of Watch off the Cuff, a watch repair service based in Milton, Ontario, and a member of the Horology Society of New York in support of advancing the art and science of horology. Images: Audemars Piguet
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