The Perpetual Calendar is strongly embedded into the core of Audemars Piguet’s origins. It is also the reminder that all of time measurement derives from astronomy and naturally occurring cycles.
In 1955, Audemars Piguet introduced a world first – a perpetual calendar wristwatch with the essential leap year indication, made in only 9 examples, all in 18 carat yellow gold.
Since then Audemars Piguet has launched many more perpetual calendar wristwatches, among which the latest 2016 Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar, combining yellow gold, the iconic Gérald Genta design and the ultra-classic complication in all of watchmaking.
Today, Audemars Piguet enriches its line of Royal Oak Perpetual Calendars with a full black version, made of hand-finished black ceramic. Day, date, month, astronomical moon, week of the year displayed on the dial’s outer chapter ring and the essential leap year indication hold pride of place on the “Grande Tapisserie” decorated dial. Housed in an assertively sized 41 mm case, the selfwinding watch’s larger calibre 5134 is fully visible through the glareproofed sapphire crystal caseback.
Challenging to master but virtually unscratchable, black ceramic withstands high temperatures and thermal shocks, and is consequently extremely resistant to ageing. Numerous operations demanding extreme patience and skill are required to achieve a uniform, compact and ultra-hard material that can then be machined and hand-finished.
Audemars Piguet’s specialists required more than 600 hours of research to develop this new wristwatch: 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…5 times longer!
The dial, with “Grande Tapisserie” pattern, is slate grey with black counters and displays a photo realistic astronomical moon that contrasts with all of the black components of the piece.