A celestial creation
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A celestial creation

John Mayer co-designs a night sky for Audemars Piguet's Royal Oak

A celestial creation
Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar “John Mayer” Limited Edition. (Photos © Audemars Piguet)

'This is going to be a whole lot of fun," said John Mayer of his new role as Audemars Piguet's creative conduit.

Grammy Award-winning artist John Mayer.

His Instagram post in early March also celebrated the launch of the 41mm Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar "John Mayer" Limited Edition.

"I've teamed up with Audemars Piguet to create a limited edition Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar, an iconic watch that I -- like other collectors -- hold in the highest esteem," expressed the seven-time Grammy Award-winning artist.

His collection of Audemars Piguet watches include a white ceramic Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar that he wore on tour in 2022. The American singer, songwriter and guitarist lent his collector's eye and his aesthetic taste to the redesign.

The resulting cosmic iteration with a picturesque "Crystal Sky" dial shimmers in an 18-carat white gold case with a matching bracelet -- both meticulously finished with alternating satin brushing and polished chamfers.

Calibre 5134.

On the brass dial plate, the embossed motif comprises irregular shapes resembling crystals, whose sharp angles and facets add relief and brilliance to the timepiece. This level of detail and complexity is achieved by creating the stamping die, atom by atom, through a metal deposition process called electroforming.

The scintillating pattern charms in a deep blue shade, obtained via Physical Vapour Deposition (PVD), which enhances its depth while maximising the play of light.

White gold hour markers and hands stand out against the stellar landscape, with luminescent material making them even more visible in dim light.

"My favourite watches have dials that you can stare endlessly at. A great dial feels like a window you look into, not at it," said Mayer. "In the case of this QP [Quantieme Perpetuel], it's like looking up at a moonless sky. There is a true sense of nature in it.''

The co-designer chose a harmonising blue PVD colour for the three subdials that display the date, day and month with a leap year indication, respectively at 3, 9 and 12 o'clock.

A closer look reveals subtle modifications of the date number 31, which is printed in white instead of red. Moreover, the two numerals are now smaller in size and slightly stepped to distinguish them from the adjacent 1.

Mayer chose a light blue for the week indicator that "could fall back into the dial when simply reading the time but easily be found when looking to read the week complication".

The laser-microstructured moon phase display is set against an aventurine background. Another distinction is the relocation of the "Swiss Made" inscription from the dial's outer edge to the bottom of this subdial at 6 o'clock.

The Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar "John Mayer" Limited Edition marks the finale of Calibre 5134 as Audemars Piguet will evolve the sophisticated movement for future releases.

Adapted to a larger 41mm case while maintaining a thin profile, Calibre 5134 with a power reserve of 40 hours debuted in 2015 -- the same year that Mayer became Dead & Company's lead guitarist and vocalist.

"The perpetual calendar is for me the ultimate complication, the benchmark for high horology, and though there are more complex complications, the historical footing of QP in watchmaking makes it stand out," said the watch geek.

Calibre 5134 automatically takes into account the number of days in the month and correctly displays the prevailing date even in leap years. Assuming the watch is kept fully wound, the date will not require manual correction until 2100, at which point it will need to be adjusted to stay in line with the Gregorian calendar.

The sapphire crystal caseback reveals the self-winding movements' refined decorations and rhodium-toned 22-carat pink gold oscillating weight, which has been openworked and embellished with a stamped motif recalling the Tapisserie pattern.

The Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar "John Mayer" Limited Edition is available in 200 pieces.

"This won't be the only time AP and I collaborate, and I look forward to carrying my passion for all aspects of watchmaking through this inspiring partnership," he said.

Making gold better

An array of alloys glimmer on coveted Swiss watches. The scintillating spectrum includes Rolex's Everose Gold, IWC's Armor Gold, Omega's Moonshine Gold and Hublot's Magic Gold.

Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Openworked in Sand Gold.

Audemars Piguet's alchemy has conjured 18-carat Sand Gold for the case and bracelet of the new Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Openworked model.

Gold alloys have long been used by the independent company, which still remains in the hands of the founding families following its establishment in Le Brassus in 1875.

Out of the 567 complicated timepieces cased-up between 1882 and 1969, 432 were in yellow, white, pink or green gold as well as the precious metal without a specified colour.

The Swiss brand then experimented with steel and launched the Royal Oak in 1972. Designed by Gérald Genta, the luxury sports watch disrupted haute horlogerie with its stainless steel body and a price tag that placed it on par with gold watches.

Audemars Piguet later released gold models and established the Royal Oak as an iconic collection.

Multilayered and openworked Calibre 2972.

Like most players in the industry, the maison principally works with 18-carat gold alloys for producing external parts of its watches. The composition of 75% gold and 25% other metals is more durable than 24-carat pure gold because the addition of the metals makes the alloys harder and more resistant to deformation.

Named after sand dunes in the sunlight, the new alloy is a mix of gold, copper and palladium with its captivating colour wavering between white and pink gold depending on the angle and light. Resistance to discolouration makes Sand Gold a timeless material for the latest Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Openworked.

The 41mm case and bracelet are finished with alternating satin brushing and polished chamfers while large mirror-polished bevels of the octagonal bezel further play with the light.

A sand-gold hue, obtained through a galvanic treatment, shimmers on the inner bezel as well as the openworked bridges and mainplate of Calibre 2972, visible on both sides of the watch.

Sand Gold comes alive in the light with shifting hues. (Photos © Audemars Piguet)

The movement's stylised and multilayered architecture lends symmetry along with a three-dimensional effect. The depth is accentuated by the openworked components that have been meticulously decorated with horizontal and vertical hand finishing.

Touches of grey contrast with the sand-gold-toned elements while the rhodium-toned barrel, geartrain and flying tourbillon are complemented by white gold hour-markers and hands with luminescent coating.

A rhodium-toned 22-carat pink gold oscillating weight enhances the two-tone aesthetics on the back of the Calibre 2972, which guarantees a power reserve of 65 hours.

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