Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar 41March 29, 2023
If you want to play the hits like AP, sometimes you have to consider a special remix, and the band from Le Brassus has just announced a special expression of the concept-only RD#2. This new model, which builds upon the success of a recent sibling sets the town with more titanium, less platinum, a new dial, and limited production. I’m in love.
Allow me to elaborate. The ultra-thin Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar 41 RD#2 was launched in platinum as a concept in 2018 (that watch can be seen below, it is supremely rare, equally cool, and very heavy on wrist). In 2019, AP announced the Royal Oak Selfwinding Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin RD#2 reference 26586IP.OO.1240IP.01, which featured a new non-tap dial design, and a blend of materials, in which much of the watch was titanium, save for the bezel and intermediate links in the bracelet – those are platinum and production was very limited but not part of a specific numbered edition. With this latest release, the world gets a second “production” take on the RD#2, this time it’s limited to 200 units.
If you can imagine these three watches in a sort of Animorphs-esque transformation. The concept RD#2 is platinum, the next RD#2 26586IP is platinum and titanium, and now the transformation has hit the next stage, full titanium. Measuring 41mm wide and just 6.2mm thick, the new 26586TI weighs just 75 grams, with the only non-titanium element of note being the screws for the bezel (which are made of white gold).
Aside from shedding a few grams of precious metal, the 26586TI sticks largely to the formula but adds in a new blue-to-black dial with black subdials, a red date accent, and the same blue aventurine moon phase. While I wasn’t wild about the look of the smoky blue dial in the press images, it strikes a lovely balance in person that sees a wide variety of saturation in the blue depending on available light but no loss of contrast for the subdials.
Inside, we find the same record-setting ultra-thin movement as that found in the previous examples mentioned above, the AP 5133, which is a full perpetual calendar automatic movement with moon phase and day/night indication that is only 2.9mm thick. Pricing? Well, at a cool CHF 137,000, the price is neither lightweight nor thin.
I mean, I said it up top. I’m in love. Just as I was with the two preceding versions. High-end watchmaking that is light and wearable despite housing one of my all-time favorite complications, you couldn’t have slapped the smile off of my face when I tried on both the RD#2 and the new 26586TI in the span of just two minutes. The smile faded when I had to give it back, but I digress.
As a further expression of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar 41 RD#2, I think that the 26586TI speaks directly to the merits of the RD program and its ability to produce a Royal Oak that blends tradition with modern cutting-edge production. The watch looks incredible, feels amazing, light, and very special on wrist. And to my eyes represents a halo for the entire scope of the modern Royal Oak. If the pricing even matters – and for the target audience with this watch I’m not convinced it does– this titanium creation does come in a hair less dear than the proceeding titanium and platinum RD#2 26586IP, which launched at CHF 140,000. To my eyes, it’s a great remix of the original and a direct, distinct, and appealing evolution of the 2019 ref 26586IP.