Colour has played a determining role this year in the world of watches, and any article we write about colourful watches invariably features Audemars Piguet. No stranger to bold colours, this year, the Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar, entirely swathed in blue ceramic, made our Top Five Colourful list of 2022. Today, we introduce another dynamic colour-popping 41mm white gold model with a purple Grand Tapisserie dial and a diamond-set bezel. Described as ‘purple’, as you can see from the pictures, the colour on the dial of this Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar is a far warmer and more attractive shade of purple verging on burgundy.
Just over a decade after the launch of the iconoclastic luxury steel Royal Oak in 1972, Audemars Piguet released a Royal Oak with a perpetual calendar complication. With an incredible lineage of perpetual calendar watches starting in 1948 with the brand’s ref. 5516, the Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar (aka ref. 5554, and 25554 from 1985 on), picked up design cues of the earlier reference with the month indicator at noon, the date at 3 o’clock, running seconds and moon phases at 6 o’clock and the day of the week indication at 9 o’clock. A staple in the collection, the RO QP was revamped in 2015 with a more extensive and sportier 41mm case size and the incorporation of a week display. Not to be confused with the Royal Oak Selfwinding Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin model, the former record holder as the world’s thinnest perpetual calendar, the ‘regular’ Perpetual Calendar has been visited in full ceramic cases – blue, black (openworked), and white – titanium cases and models with the iconic “Night Blue, Cloud 50” dial colour that pays tribute to the original 1972 colour inside steel and pink gold models.
The Colour Purple
Audemars Piguet is fearless when it comes to colour, and purple, let’s admit, is not an easy colour to swing. In 2018, it introduced an RO Extra-Thin Tourbillon model with a loud purple dial, followed by an RO Chronograph with a frosted white gold case and equally brash purple dial a year later. This latest RO Perpetual Calendar with a purple Grand Tapisserie dial could not be more different. And that is, in our opinion, very positive.
Closer to burgundy or mulled wine, I used a colour-matching tool to see which Pantone colours were used and was given a choice of Pantone 195 C and Pantone 5125 as potential matches. Obviously, this is a merely speculative exercise because nothing beats seeing the watch in the metal, but this is clearly not the same tone of purple used on the models mentioned above.
This rare shade of purple is used indiscriminately across the dial, including the calendar counters. To highlight the purple counters, these are framed with a rhodium-toned circle and reveal smooth and snailed areas with white markings to stand out against the classic Grand Tapisserie pattern on the dial. Like all models since the facelift of 2015, the week indication is printed on the sloping flange and indicated by an arrow-tipped pointer hand. The calendar functions are arranged with months and leap year at noon, date at 3, moon phases at 6, and day of the week at 9 o’clock. The applied white gold hour markers and the white gold Royal Oak hands are treated with luminescent coating.
The latest 41mm Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar has an 18k white gold case with a slim height of 9.5mm. Presented with a matching white gold bracelet, the white gold case and bracelet are hand-finished with satin-brushed and polished chamfers. The watch also comes with two additional rubber straps in black and purple. Another distinctive feature of this model is the diamond-set white gold bezel that still displays the eight visible hexagonal screws that are such a vital personality trait of the Royal Oak. Set with 32 baguette-cut diamonds (the most masculine cut for diamonds, in our opinion), the iconic eight-sided bezel emits a discreet sparkle.
AP’s in-house calibre 5134 is based on the famous extra-thin calibre 2121. This automatic perpetual calendar movement has a height of just 4.3mm and beats at an unconventional frequency of 2.75Hz, delivering a relatively short power reserve of 40 hours. Visible from the caseback, the openworked 22k gold rotor displays a double Grande Tapisserie pattern on its edge, and the finishings include Côtes de Genève, perlage, circular satin and polished chamfers. If the watch is kept fully wound, the perpetual calendar will not require a correction until 2100.
Availability & Price
This white gold edition of the Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar with a purple dial and diamond-set bezel (reference 26598BC.ZZ.1220BC.01) is available exclusively from AP boutiques, and the price is on request. For more information, please visit audemarspiguet.com.