Pop culture and watches have an intriguing relationship. Watches often become iconic symbols in films and TV shows. They are also part of music culture as artistes often wear luxury or unique timepieces in their music videos or during live performances, adding a touch of glamour to their ensemble. Needless to say, the connection between pop culture and watches goes beyond simple timekeeping; it's about symbolism, storytelling and fusion of style with functionality. Audemars Piguet’s newly launched Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Openworked (Ref. 26585CM.OO.D301VE.01) watch marks a riveting collaboration between the worlds of horology and music. The 200-piece limited-edition watch has been created in collaboration with brand and label Cactus Jack, founded by American rapper and singer Travis Scott. As Scott put it in his song, Meltdown, “Chocolate AP and chocolate the Vs (Vs), got the Willy Wonka factory (Vs) Burn a athlete like its calories, find another flame hot as me.” This served as a kind of prelude to the watch launch.
This isn’t the first time the Swiss watchmaker has ventured into the world of pop culture though. This year, Audemars Piguet also collaborated with Marvel Comics to release its Spiderman-inspired Royal Oak Concept ‘Spider-Man’ Tourbillon (Ref. 26631IO.OO.D002CA.01). This strategy may not be wholly appealing to the larger collector community or to a larger watch enthusiast circle, but it has certainly helped the brand reach a wider audience.
The new Audemars Piguet Cactus Jack watch comes in a 41 mm brown ceramic case, which is in the signature colour of Cactus Jack, a first for the Manufacture. The same material has also been used for the octagonal bezel that has eight visible screws, the crown at 3 o’clock, and the caseback. Aesthetically, the watch gets a monochromatic look as Travis Scott decided to opt for his favourite colour, chocolate brown.
The gears, springs and levels are barely hidden under the transparent indications, consisting of a month counter at 12 o’clock, a date counter at 3 o’clock, leap year and double-moon at 6 o’clock, and a day of the week counter at 9 o’clock. Another distinctive element of the dial involves the design of the moonphase at 6 o’clock. The traditional photorealistic representation of Earth’s natural satellite has been replaced by Cactus Jack’s emblematic smiley face, with its mouth sewn shut; the face’s luminescent coating glows blue in the dark, with a blue starry base. All calendar indications are endowed with a luminescent material that turns green at night for a striking luminous effect.
The hand of the day subdial takes on the shape of the brand’s logo (Cactus Jack) with a blue luminescent coating. The dial gets traditional Royal Oak hands with luminescent coating, a red central second hand, and brown applied hour markers. The inner brown bezel gets Scott’s hand-written 52-minute track. Powering this limited-edition timepiece is the self-winding Calibre 5135, delivering 40 hours of power reserve. Turning the watch over showcases the sapphire caseback with the engraving of ‘Utopia is a State of Mind’, ‘Quantieme Perpetuel’, and ‘Limited Edition of 200 pieces’. More details can also be seen on the 22 ct pink gold oscillating weight that gets the ‘Cactus Jack’ and ‘Audemars Piguet’ logos at the centre. Finishing the watch is a brown calfskin leather strap with a special pink gold folding clasp.