Welcome to Always On Time, where we’re always there when you call with the most interesting new watches in the world.
The watches: a foursome of icy Royal Oaks in ceramic and a variety of golds
The lowdown: If you don’t like watches pushed to dazzling extremes with diamonds and every flavor of gold, you can kindly see yourself out. Over the holiday weekend, Audemars Piguet released what it calls its “women’s novelties” for 2021: a tight collection of takes on the Royal Oak. The watches arrive like an EP of remixes, as if we let Diplo play around with Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks. This new collection of watches takes the iconic ‘70s watch and adds all the extraness of modern life and style.
The biggest new addition is black ceramic, which Audemars Piguet has made a staple of its hottest new releases. The material has appeared across openworked watches (meaning pieces that strip away the traditional dial to expose the mechanics of the watch below), as well as ones with tourbillons and perpetual calendars, but all that is stripped away for this release. There’s nothing extraneous on this new ceramic Royal Oak, other than pink-gold accents and a date window. While extra features are nice, sometimes the best weapon in a brand’s arsenal is simplicity. There’s a reason collectors love the pared-down Royal Oak with nothing but the date or the no-frills Patek Philippe 5711—a watch so popular Patek sunsetted the model to keep it from devouring the whole brand.
The three other watches rearrange diamonds and gold in a glitzy game of Tetris. The two showstoppers of the bunch include a skeleton dial watch with a rainbow of diamonds around the bezel. In an Xzibit-worthy show of excess, it also has a frosted gold case and bracelet—which means it was hit over and over with a diamond-tipped tool to create small dents that create a sparkling effect. The other is a pink gold watch with a hypnotic “chameleon” dial that changes from purple to pink, depending on the light. (It also has a bezel set with 32 amethysts.) The last watch in the quartet is made out of white gold and features a dial so blue it calls to mind a bottle of ‘90s Gatorade. This watch’s case and bracelet are also frosted.
Hot girl watches summer: Technically, Audemars Piguet is putting these watches out as part of its women’s collection. If that’s the case, they’re yet another good reason to detonate whatever gender divide still exists in the world of personal style. Sure, these watches are a little smaller—the black ceramic measures in at 34 millimeters—but timepieces are generally getting smaller anyway. The latest Rolex Explorer is shrunk all the way down to the truly vintage diameter of 36mm. The color shouldn’t be enough to scare anyone away, either—especially considering the way the industry’s embraced red, green, and brightly lacquered Stella dials from Rolex over the past year. Women’s watches are, simply, watches: they look great onCardi B’s wrist, but also on Drake’s. If men are adventurous enough to wear skirts now, they can certainly wear a slightly smaller than usual black ceramic Royal Oak.
Where and when to buy them: The watches are available now at Audemars Piguet boutiques.