A little late for our Top 5 All Black Wristwatches article, Audemars Piguet reveals a new piece from its Summer 2021 collection. This time, it’s the classic Royal Oak, now with a new case and bracelet and a new petite size. It hasn’t lost any of its charms, though. Let’s get stuck in.
For a start, the case of this watch measures just 34mm x 8.8mm, a great size for ladies and those who are fans of vintage watches, which tend to be sized between 30mm and 36mm. The new 34mm Royal Oak from Audemars Piguet comes with a ceramic case and bracelet, which receive a pathological level of attention to detail. Every surface has been finished by hand, and no manufacturing signs have been left anywhere on the outside.
Every angle on that octagonal bezel has been perfectly sculpted and brushed by hand, with golden hexagonal bolts securing the bezel in place, secured by nuts inside the case. Matching the bolts and providing beautiful contrast to the black case and dial are the gold hands, markers and applied ‘AP’ logo.
Visible through the titanium caseback is Audemars Piguet’s calibre 5800. Like most ceramic watches, the caseback of the 34mm Royal Oak is made of titanium because of ceramic’s unique properties. While ceramic is an excellent material for making watches overall, it has two weaknesses. One is hard impacts (note, it’s not made of glass, these can take a bit of a battering), and the other is torsional forces. This is due to the molecular structure of the material. Atoms in metals can flex quite easily, so most metals, when untreated, are soft. In ceramics, the atoms have strong connections called ionic bonds, making ceramics excellent materials (they’re chemically inert, good insulators, heat resistant, extremely durable and hard to scratch), but if subjected to enough force, they will shatter or chip instead of dent like metal. This is why most watches have titanium casebacks, to distribute the force required to seal the watch evenly (the watch is water-resistant to 50m).
Anyway, back to the movement. It has been extensively finished by hand, and features a solid gold self-winding rotor. It has a 4Hz beat rate and a power reserve of 50 hours. The movement has been provided by Vaucher, a manufacturer of high-end ebauches based high in the Swiss mountains in the village of Fleurier. Vaucher provides movements for manufacturers such as Hermès (who have a stake in the company) and Parmigiani.
The price for this watch is set at $45,200 and is only available through Audemars Piguet’s boutiques.
Visit Audemars Piguet here.