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Watch & Learn: John Mayer’s Audemars Piguet

A troubadour’s truly exceptional timepiece

Because John Mayer is one of the best-known celebrity watch aficionados in the world, we think he would be an interesting dude to hang out and talk watches with. So of course we swooned when we spotted Mayer at the grand opening of Audemars Piguet’s new Rodeo Drive boutique in Beverly Hills last week. Wearing an embroidered cardigan and jewelry by the late, cult silversmith Goro Takahashi, what really caught our eye was the guitarist’s own Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Reference 26574.

Launched in 1984, the first Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar was designed by Jacqueline Dimier. Mayer’s version was released last September and is an update of one of its most popular Quantième Perpétuel models.

Considered one of the most challenging of complications, a perpetual calendar needs to communicate a lot of information: When the clock strikes 12 on New Year’s Eve, for example, the day, date, month and year all have to change. And then there are Leap Years (like 2016), which means that there is one wheel inside the mechanism that slowly turns just to make sure that February 29th is noted without having to reset the date every four years.

The dial on Mayer’s new iteration of the Perpetual Calendar also displays the weeks of the year, the month and the astronomical moon phases. To accommodate all of these displays, Audemars Piguet upsized the case (to 41 mm from 39 mm). At the same time, they made the case thinner. All of these degrees of difficulty make this watch more alluring to haute horlogerie geeks like Mayer.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Reference 26574

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Reference 26574 watch

No less attention to detail has been paid to the look of the watch. There are four versions of this timepiece and Mayer’s Reference 26574 is in rose gold with the Royal Oaks signature Grande Tapisserie in blue. To make the displays more legible, the subsidiary month and date dials are prominently placed at nine, noon and three o’clock. The leap year indication—an Audemars Piguet innovation introduced in 1955—is set at noon. And the moon phase indicator has been laser microstructured and set on a base of aventurine. There’s also a week-of-the- year displayed on the dial’s outer chapter ring, adding yet another layer of time measurement.

You can watch mode and mechanics come together through the glare-proof sapphire crystal case back. Everything about the extra-thin movement is sexy: there’s a suspended barrel and a peripheral ring that rolls on four ruby runners to reduce friction guides the oscillating weight of the automatic movement. All the bits and pieces are finished to perfection and you can have the weight personalized with an engraving if you so wish.

The gossip columns would tell us that Mayer can also be a bit of a cad, but that doesn’t affect the assessment of his timepiece. Our crush is strictly platonic, but our love for his watch is ideal.