In addition to the 41mm chronograph white frosted gold Royal Oak we’ve just shown to you, Audemars Piguet is releasing today another model, which could be a bit more important than you might imagine. Indeed, AP has just launched a new black ceramic Royal Oak in its collection… You could argue that it isn’t a first for the brand, but actually, this watch is the first time black ceramic comes without high-end complications, and in a feminine size. And this new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding 34mm Black Ceramic could actually open the door to more of these time-and-date full ceramic models in the future (or at least, that’s what we wish).
The full black ceramic Royal Oak has first been introduced in early 2017, with the reference 26579CE, a highly desirable watch mixing the ultra-thin perpetual calendar movement with a RO case and bracelet entirely executed in black ceramic. Despite using this technical material, the watch retained everything it was famous for, including its combination of brushed and polished surfaces, its sharp angles and its dimensions. Certainly, Audemars Piguet used ceramic in the past, but what mattered here was the fact that the bracelet too was made of this lightweight yet durable material. And as Xavier explained when getting his hands on the watch, this was a true technical challenge and the result was absolutely stunning.
The full ceramic Royal Oak was later presented in various iterations, such as the full white perpetual calendar, the stunning openworked perpetual calendar, the tourbillon chronograph openworked, the tourbillon extra-thin and recently the double balance wheel openworked. We were only talking exclusive, high-end and complex watches. But as of now, the full ceramic Royal Oak is also available in a classic time-and-date model, however, for the time being, it’s women that will have the opportunity to enjoy this in the first place.
This new 34mm Black Ceramic version of the Royal Oak is based on a recently launched edition, which we’ve covered in this article. Measuring 34mm in diameter for a very reasonable 8.8mm height, this edition came in an already packed range, comprising 44, 41, 39, 38, 37 and 33mm watches. You could argue about the point of having a 33mm and a 34mm watch, but there was a highly important difference between these two watches, since the new model also introduced an automatic movement, making the ladies-oriented offering more interesting than ever before.
Launched in steel, pink gold and two-tone case options, with or without diamonds, this watch is now available in AP’s superb black ceramic configuration, a first for a time-and-date model (understand by that no complication, no openworked movement, no double balance wheel) and also a first for a women’s version. Apart from the new material, which is found everywhere on the case to the exception of the caseback, made of titanium, the watch is in all points identical to a steel model, with vertically brushed flat surfaces and polished bevels on the edges of the case, bezel and bracelet.
There’s yet another small detail… The screws on the bezel are, unusually, made of 18k pink gold and not 18k white gold, like most Royal Oak models. To continue with the full-black scheme, the Grande Tapisserie dial is here in black, with pink gold applied markers, logo and hands, to match the screws on the bezel. The date wheel is also executed in black.
Under the sapphire caseback is the Calibre 5800, which isn’t produced in-house but by high-end movement maker Vaucher. Displaying the hours, minutes, seconds and date, and with up to 50 hours of power reserve, it measures 23.30mm x 3.9mm, beats at 28,800vph/4Hz and is nicely decorated with Geneva stripes, polished bevels and a gold rotor.
Thoughts, for the future…
While I personally have not much interest in this watch – don’t get me wrong, it looks great, but it’s too small for my wrist, obviously – its presentation opens some doors I thought were closed until now. For me, the full ceramic Royal Oak was an unattainable watch, a concept reserved to the most exclusive movements produced by Audemars Piguet. But today, the brand demonstrates that it is willing to let the full ceramic case/bracelet find its way in more classic collections…
And now that we know that, we can only dream of seeing the replacement of the 15202, a watch that will be presented next year, to be released in such a ceramic case/bracelet configuration. Just imagine, a black ceramic Royal Oak Jumbo Extra-Thin… How desirable would that be?
Availability & Price
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding 34mm Black Ceramic (ref. 77350CE.OO.1266CE.01) is released as part of the permanent collection. Still, even though not limited in numbers, we know that Audemars Piguet has low production figures for its full ceramic watches. The price is also rather exclusive, being EUR 45,600, compared to approximately 20k required for a steel version of this 34mm watch.
For more details, please visit www.audemarspiguet.com.