The Royal Oak, with its masculine octagonal case, exposed screws, and integrated bracelet is one of the most distinctive watches in the market today. It is imposing and recognizable, and in my opinion, one of the best statement watches money can buy.
The Royal Oak is not only famous for what it looks like, but also for how it was introduced. First released in the ’70s, the original Ref. 5402 was a bold stainless steel watch designed by Gerald Genta that created shockwaves. It was designed as a luxury sports watch and the scandalous part was that it was priced accordingly- the same as an equivalent gold watch of its era. People just could not accept that a pedestrian material such as steel could be priced so exorbitantly and consequently, it was not very popular. It was only after some time that the public saw this as something genuinely original and avant-garde. Today though, in line with the craze for stainless steel, the Royal Oak is an icon.
Traditionally, the spotlight has always been on the classic stainless steel or precious metal Royal Oaks. However, over the past decade, Audemars Piguet has ventured into extensive experimentation by utilizing an alternative material for its iconic Royal Oak cases—ceramic. The inaugural full black ceramic model was first introduced in early 2011 (in the form of the massive 48mm Royal Oak Offshore Arnold Schwarzenegger ‘The Legacy’ Chronograph), since then, numerous iterations have followed, incorporating various high-end complications such as the open-worked perpetual calendar, the tourbillon, etc. That said, what we have for you today is probably one of the most exceptional and stunning ceramic Royal Oaks featured on our site—the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Openworked Ceramic Ref. 26585CE. Let me explain why.
Starting with its fully blacked-out 41mm x 9.9mm ceramic case, it is essential to acknowledge that working with ceramic poses considerable technical challenges due to its intrinsic hardness and lightweight nature. Despite the technical difficulty, Audemars Piguet remained steadfast in their commitment to maintaining the renowned level of finishing and distinctive characteristics that define the Royal Oak. When you run your fingers over the case of the Ref. 26585CE, you'll discover that it impeccably retains all the signature finishes of the Royal Oak – highly polished bevels along the edges, a satin-brushed mid-case, and vertically brushed surfaces on the bezel. This meticulous level of finishing and attention to detail seamlessly extends to the bracelet as well. As we all know, Audemars Piguet produces some of the most exquisite and robust integrated bracelets for their Royal Oaks, and the one here on the Ref. 26585CE is no exception. Notably, the assembly of the bracelet alone demands a whopping 30 hours (and approximately 600 hours of research and development), resulting in a truly stunning ceramic bracelet.
Moving on to the focal point of this timepiece, the captivating transparent sapphire dial takes center stage, providing a glimpse into the inner workings of the Ref. 26585CE. Housed within is Audemars Piguet’s in-house self-winding Cal. 5135 (derived from the Cal. 5134 found in standard perpetual calendar models, with the Cal. 5135 having undergone extensive open-working), boasting an intricate assembly of a total of 374 components and a 40-hour power reserve. The see-through sapphire dial, adorned with exquisite detailing and decoration, possesses a subtle smoked effect along its periphery for enhanced legibility. Here, you will find a day indicator on the left, a date indicator on the right, a month indicator at 12 o'clock as well as a moon phase at the 6. The dial is further embellished with rose gold applied hour markers and hands, complemented by sub-dials encircled with rose gold outer rings, along with a moon phase beautifully crafted out of aventurine. You will also find an inner bezel at the rehaut that serves as a week indication, which is marked by a contrasting white hand. An absolute feast for the eyes, the see-through dial unveils a plethora of mechanical components in full uncluttered view, fully embodying the "Openworked" essence in its name. This visually stunning movement can be admired not only through the dial but also through the transparent caseback, which boasts impeccable finishing and a splendid gold rotor with an engraved ‘AP’ logo.
In its entirety, the Ref. 26585CE seamlessly fuses a timeless aesthetic with impeccable craftsmanship, utilizing cutting-edge materials to achieve a modern masterpiece. To put it simply, the Ref. 26585CE is an astonishing, awe-inspiring work of art. When I was first handed the watch to be inspected up close, I found myself utterly speechless, and for good reason. While some may argue that the Ref. 26585CE deviates from the classic essence of its predecessors, but as a devoted enthusiast of classical watch design myself, I wholeheartedly acknowledge that this reference perfectly exemplifies how thoughtful and innovative contemporary design can elevate and redefine a traditional archetype.
While not explicitly designated as a limited edition, the Ref. 26585CE is a boutique-exclusive, which makes it very sought-after and extremely difficult to acquire as the waiting lists for this watch can extend for several years. To be able to offer it on our website today is a genuine delight for us.