As their main event of the year, Audemars Piguet have weighed in to the SIHH with their biggest guns on display, confident in the knowledge that they'll grab the headlines in the watch industry’s early year get together in Geneva at the 2017 SIHH.
It’s a luxury for any luxury brand to possess in their stable, a watch whose design is both ageless and timeless, and which has provided the basis for many variations, whilst still remaining unflinchingly true to its original drawings.
Of course I’m thinking about the Royal Oak, and there’s little argument that, regardless of trends and fads, it has steadfastly remained as a destination piece for enthusiasts all around the world, with an unshakeably loyal fan base, who eagerly lap up every little footstep taken, and crucially, whose continued interest guarantees strong sales, as well as built-in resale values which are the envy of all but the very top of the industry tree.
Audemars Piguet have several new Royal Oak references on show at SIHH, and we’ll touch on those in the coming days, but it’s the startling black beastie, the all black, all ceramic Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Black Ceramic which will serve to get us started with this year’s proceedings.
The surfaces of the case are finished with a flawless vertical grain, which continues onto the bracelet and its paired flat links. Angles around the bezel are executed in a highly polished finish, in a process which requires six times the labour over its steel or gold equivalents using this challenging material, and there's little doubt that the result will be a surefire hit.
The slate grey dial with the squared relief pattern of the Royal Oak's signature Grande Tapisserie decoration offers up a subtle contrast to the black recessed subdials which house the date and weekday at the 3 and the 9, with month and leap-year sharing at the 12. At the 6, the astronomical moonphase is displayed with a silvery moon on a starry deep blue sky, and around the inner bezel a central pointer indicates the week number.
White gold hour indices and hands are coated with Super LumiNova, and in low light glow brightly against the darkened backdrop of the dial.
Delivery is expected in the second half of 2017 with pricing forecast at around chf85,000.