BY ERIK SLAVEN
Audemars Piguet is one of those brands that you just don’t question. Part of the elite Holy Trinity of watchmaking – joining Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin – AP can do its own thing and we’re all good with it. Kind of like Lamborghini or MV Agusta. Who are we to question? So, when AP almost secretly makes a limited edition Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar for Japan and then spontaneously allows half of those to be sold on the global market, it’s awesome! Right? Specifically, we have a titanium Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar with a salmon dial. Oh, and it’s US $85,100. Don’t question!
Given the limited travel and overall craziness from COVID, it’s not surprising that a watch like this flew completely under the radar, only to surprise everyone when 150 of the 300 editions suddenly became available to the world. The initial 150 watches were solely for Japan with 100 being exclusive to Japanese retailer, Yoshida. What makes it special? Well, the titanium case and bracelet, coupled with the salmon dial are certainly unique for AP, but it’s otherwise a standard Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar. The Grande Tapisserie dial has four sub-dials with the month at 12 o’clock, day at 3 o’clock, astronomical moon at 6 o’clock and week at 9 o’clock (leap year included, of course). There are central hours and minutes, but no seconds. It looks like there’s a central seconds hand, but that points to a week scale as 52 weeks span the perimeter.
The legendary octagonal bezel and crown are here, as is a flawless integrated titanium bracelet. The Royal Oak is THE sports watch that all others aspire to (well, most). The titanium finish is brushed with polished bevels and the eight exposed screws on the bezel really define the look. It’s quite thin at 9.5mm and a perfect contemporary size at 41mm in diameter. Water-resistance is 20 meters, which basically means it’s not water-resistant, but what did I say… Don’t question.
There are sapphire crystals front and back with the exhibition case back displaying the in-house Caliber 5134 automatic, which first debuted in 2015. This is built on the 1967 Caliber 2120, which remains the thinnest standard automatic movement in the world. It has 38 jewels, beats at an unusual 2.7Hz (19,800vph) with a power reserve of 40 hours. It has a gold open-worked rotor and Côtes de Genève, and as expected, the finishing is flawless. It’s a true work of art on the wrist. Curiously, the watches aren’t individually numbered, just listed as a limited edition of 300. Nothing separates one from the other, whether sold in Japan, by Yoshida or in Manhattan. As I’ve been saying, we just don’t question these things.
150 of the total 300 pieces are available now and again priced at US $85,100. All pieces are hand-built by the sorcerers at AP, so the remaining batch will slowly make its way to market. Visit Audemars Piguet here.