This is a black ceramic Audemars Piguet Royal Oak replica watch I imagine many people will not have been expecting.
Firstly, however, very few of them stick in the mind. It’s no coincidence that the ones that do (Omega’s Dark Side of the Moon springs to mind) are also part of the small number that do something interesting with materials.
Not any more. This is the first non-metallic case on a Royal Oak, ever, and there’s no denying it makes a real difference to a very familiar watch. It’s not that Swiss Audemars Piguet isn’t given to experimentation, or that it isn’t greatly experienced with alternative materials. Far from it, on both counts.
Very few of the many all-black Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar copy watches in the world attempt to pull off one of the all-time great designs, and none of them gets close to this level of finishing, working with one of the most challenging materials there is.
Newly-appointed creative director Claude Emmenegger admits that the team faced “countless challenges”, thanks to AP’s insistence on machining and hand-finishing the components as you would for stainless steel, instead of injection-moulding or casting the ceramic. “The supplier we have been working with first said it was impossible to achieve what we wanted.
Mechanically, the Perpetual Calendar Black Ceramic is identical to its traditional siblings: the automatic calibre 5134 beats inside it, visible through the sapphire caseback. The only colour comes from the moon phase dial’s blue background. On the slate grey tapisserie dial there are white gold applied hour markers with Superluminova.
We’ll have more information on this and the rest of AP’s new watches next week at SIHH.
As you might expect, having invested some 600 hours of research in the production of the ceramic Perpetual Calendar, Audemars Piguet watch replica is set to follow it up with more of the same in the next few years.