Introducing: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Tourbillon Chronograph Openworked Black Ceramic

One of the hottest watch to come out of SIHH last year was the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar in full black brushed ceramic, and AP has been very smart in their use of this material by not producing a whole range of timepieces featuring full black ceramic and only using it sporadically.

Firstly, it is extremely time consuming for the brand to produce a full-ceramic watch. It takes 30 hours to make a full-ceramic Royal Oak bracelet, as opposed to six hours to make one in steel. Secondly, I think that seeing full-ceramic RO everywhere will dilute the uniqueness of the material.

Last year's Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Black Ceramic

The Royal Oak Tourbillon Chronograph Openworked isn’t a new watch per se. It was first released in 2016 in platinum, then later on in titanium and in pink gold. For 2018, AP decided to add black ceramic as the fourth material available for this watch.

Among the more than 80 new references that Audemars Piguet brought to SIHH 2018, two watches featured a black ceramic case: the RO Offshore Grande Complication and the RO Tourbillon Chronograph Openworked. Both came on a rubber strap and the latter was a limited edition of 100 pieces in four variations of 25 pieces each, featuring either a grey, blue, green or gold color combination.

Now we step up to the next level with the Royal Oak Tourbillon Chronograph Openworked in full black ceramic. Yes, with the full ceramic bracelet.

This new limited edition of 100 pieces retains the same imposing 44mm case seen before but this time, no splashes of color distracts you when looking at the beautiful openworked dial. It’s black, it’s ceramic, and it’s straight to the point. Surprisingly though, the watch is still perfectly legible with black chronograph counters, and white gold applied hour markers and hands filled with a luminescent coating. Take some time to admire the one-minute tourbillon at 6 o’clock before flipping the watch over to take in the hand-wound in-house caliber 2936.

Like every other Royal Oak on a bracelet, the watch wears like a dream even on a small wrist and the lightness and comfort of ceramic, in addition to the scratch resistance of the material, makes for a very enjoyable experience on the wrist. The watch comes with two extra rubber straps in case you ever want a change of look.

With this new timepiece Audemars Piguet proves again its expertise in the use of ceramic and I want to believe that their thought process for implementing ceramic in their collections is this: “A complicated material for a complicated watch.”

Only time will tell if I’m right.

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