Watch Review: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual CalendarContinuing our end-of-year reviews on calendar watches we present a review of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar, with original photos by Nik Schölzel.

The Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar from Audemars Piguet is most remarkable for the classic arrangement of its four subdials showing the date, day, month and moon-phase, the same layout used for pocketwatches. There is also a small hand within the month display to indicate the leap year. The small date subdial at 3 o’clock is more difficult to read than a window date display, but its black hand stands in sharp contrast to the silver dial. This is also true of the day subdial, at 9 o’clock. The month subdial, at 12 o’clock, is crowded and hence somewhat harder to make out – but this dial isn’t used much, anyway. Luckily, one refers even less to the leap-year display, because here the tiny print requires a loupe to decipher. This watch needs only 45 minutes for all its calendar displays to change at year’s end.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar - side

Although the watch is part of AP’s sporty Royal Oak collection, it has an elegant look, especially the version with rose-gold case and alligator strap shown here. The classic dial underscores the watch’s dressy side and tends to overshadow the watch’s sportier features. The case is surprisingly thin, just 9.4 mm. Only the four steel correctors appear out of place on the gold case, and their placement between the case’s middle section and bezel poses some risk that the wearer’s finger could slip when setting the date. The hexagonal crown pulls out to just one position, for setting the time. The fact that the watch has no hack mechanism is not immediately apparent because the watch has no seconds hand. The time is easy to read, even in the dark, thanks to the luminous material on the hour and minute hands and hour markers. Audemars Piguet’s finishing quality is top-notch. The variety and complexity of satin and polished finishes on the watch’s case are impressive, as are other details like the hand-sewn strap and the folding clasp featuring the brand’s initials.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar - front

The movement was also decorated with great attention to detail. The gold, skeletonized rotor is hand-engraved and the flanks of the gear teeth are polished, as are the screw heads and beveled edges. Fine regulation is done by means of weights on the balance wheel, and the escape wheel has a shock absorber. Consisting of the ultra-thin 2120 (2.45 mm thick) and a perpetual calendar module, the movement is just 4 mm thick. (When the 2120 was introduced, in 1967, it was the world’s thinnest movement with a central rotor.) In light of the watch’s technical features, its price of $59,000* is understandable. Perpetual calendars from Patek Philippe and A. Lange & Söhne are similarly priced. Complications from major manufacturers almost necessarily have a hefty price.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar - back

Functions: Hours, minutes; perpetual  calendar with date, day, month, leap year, moon-phase
Movement: Cal. 2120/2802, automatic; 19,800 vph; Gyromax fine regulating system; power reserve = 40 hours
Case: Rose gold, sapphire crystal, screw-down caseback with sapphire window, water-resistant to 20 meters

This article was originally published on November 19, 2013, and has been updated.

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  1. Very much a beautiful Gerald Genta design just like the Patek Philippe Nautilus and Bulgari watches he designed. Very nice indeed! I guess the lack of a seconds hand just helps to further eliminate any clutter although I would have preferred one.

  2. George Michael. vlassis is

  3. Price is not too bad, just not a fan of the dial, too much. It does remind me of the AP PC from the late 80’s a lot.

  4. Debashish

    It is a fabulous watch though quite expensive!

    But then, almost all perpetual calendar watches are pretty expensive.

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