Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Blue Ceramic Perpetual Calendar 26579CS

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Blue Ceramic 26579CS.OO.1225CS.01

When you see the same watch adorning the wrists of Kevin Hart, Lebron James, Ed Sheeran and the Crown Prince of Ajman within weeks of one another, you can guarantee that AP has just launched something pretty special, and "pretty special" is the understatement of the week.

Welcome to the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar in Blue Ceramic. 

To quote Zoolander's great Mugatu, This is so hot right now.

It’s also so Marmite. You’re either going to love it or hate it. 

 I can’t tell you what side to land on, but I’m in the "I love this to the point of wondering how much I really need both kidneys" category. 

The beast in blue follows AP’s previous releases of full ceramic perpetual calendars, black in 2017 and a limited white boutique exclusive in 2019. 

This iteration was released in September 22 and Audemars have really upped the ante here by using a cobalt blue ceramic which I have to say looks nothing like its online renders, which appear a little lego-like. 

If you have looked at these before and remained unconvinced, trust me, the difference between render and real is remarkable and the blue works SO well. 

The formula remains the same as its predecessors in all bar colour. 41mm diameter, 9.5mm tall, and running AP’s “Quantieme Perpetuel” calibre 5134 with 374 components, 38 jewels, and a 40 hour power reserve and the signature tapisserie dial. 

My usual 20m water resistance grizzle still stands but for once, I really don’t care, buy a Submariner for swimming. :D

I am still always surprised by ceramic Royal Oaks when I pick them up. My brain hasn’t adapted yet and still expects the some reassuring heft of their metal counterparts. 

They are lightweight at 126 grams (The titanium Tudor Pelagos tips the scales at 156g for reference) which can register as a little strange initially when you’re used to steel, but, combined with the effortless drape of the integrated bracelet that we all know and love, it is super comfortable on the wrist. 

 Something to remember here is that weight does not always equate to strength, and the ceramics used in watchmaking are genuinely tough as nails and extremely difficult to scratch or ding. 

Equally, ceramic won't lose material over time, so a ceramic RO will look exactly the same 20 years down the line, which is a relief given that over polishing is the scourge of watch collecting. 

AP’s ceramic is a blend of zirconium oxide (ceramic) and yttrium (pronounced itrium) oxide (a stabilising agent) which has been sintered (super heated) to 1400 degrees which, in a short version, turns combined ceramic powders into a solid state ready for some hardcore milling, brushing, and polishing. 

When François-Henry Bennahmias took over the helm of Audemars Piguet in 2012, the brand was already manufacturing ceramic cases and bezels for their Royal Oak Offshore range. He said:

“I imagined a ceramic bracelet because I thought it would be ideal. The answer I got was that it was going to be impossible. It's too complicated; it would take forever. 

Listen, I'm only 48 years old, so we have all the time to get it done. It's going to be unbelievable.”

He’s right, they are unbelievable.

The complexities of the bracelet (and case, for that matter) with its micrometer perfect angular shape are phenomenal. The brushed surfaces which are evenly-lined with mirror polish take 30 hours to hand finish in ceramic. The same bracelet in metal takes around 5 hours. 

This should give some indication of just what a pig (in the nicest possible way) ceramic is to work with. 

The full cobalt treatment provides the additional nightmare of creating a completely blue material which is utterly even in tone and colour. 

If you think back to the troubles that Rolex had stabilising its two toned ceramic bezels, I can only imagine the amount of paracetamol that got chugged at AP when they were creating this thing. 

The way this watch interacts with the light around has to be seen to be believed. Sometimes it is quite muted and takes on a very matte, subtle (as far as subtle can go in this instance) appearance. 

Audemars describes this state as “having the air of a starlit sky” but the minute the light hits, it becomes an almost electric blue with glistening polished parts. It is very much a chameleon, which is interesting, given that it is one block colour. 

 There’s no getting away from it, its a huge statement piece. No other holy trinity brand has (as yet) stepped into ceramics, and a full coloured model is not going to appeal to those who like to keep things a little low key, but if you’re either confident, a seasoned collector, or both, this watch ticks so many boxes. 

  - Its an iconic Royal Oak with all the top grade finishing that entails. 

 - Due to its complexity, it will be limited production rather than limited edition, which means its hens teeth rare.

 - Its supremely comfortable.

 - It will retain its condition for years. 

 - It most definitely does go with jeans

 - You wont need to the adjust for day, date, month, and moon phase until the next century. It’s taken care of, including leap years. 

 Perpetual calendars are what AP does best, and the complication has been embedded in brand history as far back as 1875 when Jules Audemars created his perpetual calendar “School Watch” in order to graduate from watchmaking school. 

 This, however, was a pocket watch. 

It took AP over sixty years to pack the complication into a wristwatch, which they achieved in the late 1940s. 

The complication has been AP’s forte ever since and has perpetually evolved (see what I did there?) to a point where we are seeing the movement history of the brand wrapped in ultra modern materials, which will no doubt appeal to a younger demographic as well as seasoned buyers. 

It is this kind of lively release that will continue to hook the next generation of watch-lovers and ensure that mechanical watchmaking continues. 

In a time of increased reliance on “smartwatches” and phones, an old brand with a little youth appeal is no bad thing. 

This Royal Oak is brilliant, and I dont just mean the colour scheme.