Continuing our end-of-year reviews on calendar watches, excerpted from a feature in WatchTime’s December 2010 issue, 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.
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.
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