The Royal Oak is enshrined within the annals of horology as the timepiece that proved the efficacy of steel in a high-end luxury sports watch. In fact, the watch was only offered in steel in the initial years of its production, since the material was central to the Royal Oak’s very identity. References in gold were eventually introduced in 1977, and all three colours of gold alloys have since been used, depending on the specific watch model.
Yellow gold has, however, been absent from the Royal Oak collection for a while… until this year, that is. Audemars Piguet’s reintroduction of this color variant may seem strange, given its (arguable) status as the less fashion forward alternative to its pink and white cousins, but the manufacture’s penchant for going against the grain is well known – it was this very quality that spawned the Royal Oak, after all.
The Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar is one of the models to receive the line extension in yellow gold. The top surfaces of the bezel, lugs, and bracelet links are all vertically brushed, and give way to high-polish slanted surfaces before returning to vertically brushed flanks. This combination of different finishes cleverly highlights the facetted case and bracelet; the rounded octagonal bezel, a mainstay of the Royal Oak’s design, is especially prominent given the surface treatment. A cool blue dial bearing the manufacture’s signature Grande Tapisserie guilloché balances the warmth of the case and bracelet. Upon it, three sub-dials present the information from the perpetual calendar, while the fourth at six o’clock bears an astronomical moon phase display, which requires a correction just once every 125 years and 317 days. The week is indicated by a centrally mounted white hand, which points to the markings on the flange.
Powering the watch is Audemars Piguet’s Calibre 5134, a slightly larger version of the ultra-thin 2120 calibre aimed at providing a better fit for the 41mm case. At just 4.31mm thick, however, the new movement manages to keep the watch case’s height to a reasonable 9.5mm.