For one of its more exclusive and unexpected new releases of 2023, Audemars Piguet teamed up with world-famous rapper Travis Scott to create a limited-edition version of the Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar. Despite the fact that luxury watches are a constant presence throughout popular culture and one of the preferred status symbols among musicians, there aren’t all that many traditional high-horology brands that truly embrace contemporary culture with quite the same enthusiasm as Audemars Piguet.
On a global scale, Travis Scott is one of the biggest names in the music industry, and Cactus Jack is his record label that is rapidly turning into a multi-faced lifestyle brand following a number of high-profile collaborations with major international names such as Nike, Dior, and even McDonalds. Officially known as the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Openworked “Cactus Jack” Limited Edition, the exclusive watch is designed in collaboration with Travis Scott, and it features a case made from chocolate brown ceramic (a first for AP), multiple Cactus Jack-themed design details, and a transparent sapphire dial to showcase one of watchmaking’s most prestigious complications.
A Pioneer in High-Horology Collaboration Watches
With a history that dates all the way back to 1875, Audemars Piguet is often considered to be one of the members of the “Holy Trinity” of watchmaking. However, compared to the other two historic brands that make up this universally respected trio (Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin), Audemars Piguet takes a significantly more contemporary approach when it comes to its various collaboration watches. Additionally, this less-traditional mindset towards collaborations isn’t actually all that recent of a trend for the brand, and Audemars Piguet has been teaming up with famous athletes and celebrities to produce exclusive limited-edition timepieces for more than two decades.
In addition to the various Royal Oak Offshore models that are dedicated to famous racing drivers such as Michael Schumacher and Juan Pablo Monyoya, Audemars Piguet also has a fairly long history of collaborating with other high-profile entities outside the usual list of watch-adjacent worlds. One of the more memorable co-branded releases throughout the years was the 600-piece limited edition “LeBron James” Offshore Chronograph that was designed in collaboration with the famous basketball player. Even specifically talking about the world of music, Audemars Piguet’s history of producing limited-edition watches with prominent artists dates back to the early 2000s and its highly exclusive “Jay-Z” edition pieces that celebrated the music mogul’s 10-year anniversary in the industry.
You can’t discuss Audemars Piguet collaborations without mentioning its Marvel superhero models, and when the brand released the Royal Oak Concept “Black Panther” Flying Tourbillon in 2021, many people thought that AP had completely lost its mind. However, while the Black Panther Royal Oak Concept and its Spiderman-themed sibling from 2023 are certainly some of the more unconventional watches that AP has ever put forward, collaborations rooted in modern popular culture have ultimately become a core part of AP’s catalog. Alongside its Marvel-themed pieces, Audemars Piguet also creates a variety of other limited-edition models that tap into adjacent industries, such as the watches from its collaboration with with luxury streetwear label 1017 ALYX 9SM, and while these models are often highly divisive and sometimes even controversial, they are ultimately an important part of Audemars Piguet’s identity.
About the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Openworked “Cactus Jack” Limited Edition
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Openworked “Cactus Jack” Limited Edition is based upon one of the most premium and exclusive versions of the Royal Oak, although rather than being made from black, white, or blue ceramic, the case, crown, octagonal bezel, and caseback are all crafted from chocolate brown ceramic (Cactus Jack’s signature color), and this represents the first time that AP has used brown ceramic on one of its watches. Just like other versions of the Royal Oak, the various case components on the limited-edition “Cactus Jack” model are held together with screws made from solid white gold, while the bezel and caseback are both fitted with flat sapphire crystals to offer an unobstructed view of the open-worked Audemars Piguet Cal. 5135 self-winding movement that powers the watch.
Rather than being fitted with the same iconic integrated bracelet that you typically associate with the AP Royal Oak collection, the Travis Scott x Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Openworked “Cactus Jack” Limited Edition opts for a brown calf leather strap, which has a jeans-inspired texture on its outer surface and a pink gold folding clasp that is engraved with both Audemars Piguet’s logo and Travis Scott’s signature. The rest of the ceramic Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar watches all feature matching ceramic bracelets in their respective colors, and the jeans-textured leather strap that appears on Travis Scott’s “Cactus Jack” Limited Edition almost feels like something you would expect to find on Audemars Piguet’s more modern and aesthetically adventurous Royal Oak Offshore series.
Beyond its chocolate brown colorway and leather strap, the “Cactus Jack” Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar also features a number of more subtle design elements dedicated to the collaboration, such as its distinct typography that is based on Travis Scott’s handwriting, along with the sewn-up smiley face logo that appears within the luminous moonphase indicator at the 6 o’clock location. Additionally, the small hand for the day display has been replaced by Cactus Jack’s logo, while the skeletonized 22k pink gold rotor has also been cut away to depict the Cactus Jack cross emblem. At its core, this watch is still very much a ceramic Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar, although its chocolate brown colorway, leather strap, and unique design details all work together to create a noticeably different overall appearance.
Cactus Jack x Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Key Features:
- Model Name: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Openworked “Cactus Jack” Limited Edition
- Reference Number: 26585CM.OO.D301VE.01
- Year of Introduction: 2023
- Nickname: “Chocolate AP”
- Materials: Brown ceramic (zirconium oxide)
- Case Diameter: 41mm
- Thickness: 9.9mm
- Functions: Perpetual calendar w/ week indicator and moon phase display
- Dial: Sapphire (skeletonized)
- Bezel: Brown ceramic w/ white gold screws
- Crown: Brown ceramic (screw-down)
- Crystal: Sapphire (flat)
- Movement: Audemars Piguet Caliber 5135 (self-winding)
- Notable Details: Travis Scott handwriting-inspired typography; Cactus Jack graphics for the moon phase display and day indicator; custom skeletonized rotor w/ Cactus Jack cross logo
- Water Resistance: 20 meters
- Strap/Bracelet: Brown calf leather w/ jeans-inspired texture
- Clasp: Pink gold; engraved w/ Audemars Piguet and Travis Scott Signatures
- Availability: Limited edition of 200 examples
- Retail Price: $201,000 USD
While the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Openworked “Cactus Jack” Limited Edition is accompanied by an official retail price of $201,000 USD, that value really only applies to the 200 available examples when they are originally sold at AP boutiques. Given that all of the other ceramic Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar watches currently trade hands for values that are significantly higher than their original retail prices, and even the standard time-and-date Royal Oak in stainless steel typically sells for nearly six figures on the secondary market, there is a fairly good chance that this Travis Scott-designed “Cactus Jack” edition will also end up selling for a steep premium once the original 200 examples have been claimed at a retail level.
The Travis Scott “Chocolate AP” Watch
Before the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Openworked “Cactus Jack” Limited Edition made its formal appearance in November 2023, Travis Scott made a reference to a “Chocolate AP” in the song titled “Meltdown” on his recent album Utopia. At the time, there wasn’t a chocolate brown Royal Oak (unless you count one that simply has a brown dial), and most people just assumed Travis Scott was simply taking some creative liberty with his lyrics. However, it has since become clear that the line was a teaser for his collaboration with Audemars Piguet, and the “Chocolate AP” referenced in the song is actually the “Cactus Jack” Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar.
Despite hardly having the easiest name to pronounce within the industry, Audemars Piguet is one of the most frequently referenced luxury watch brands in modern song lyrics (typically referred to simply as “AP”), and a big part of the reason why Audemars Piguet has managed to stay relevant throughout the years is because it hasn’t been afraid to embrace unexpected collaborations that reinforce its role within greater popular culture. Traditionalists have often scoffed at these timepieces and said that detract from the prestige of Audemars Piguet’s reputation, but these collaboration models are ultimately part of its modern heritage and one of the defining aspects of AP as a brand. In order to endure throughout the decades, watch companies need to continuously be exposing themselves to new generations of buyers, and collaboration models such as the “Cactus Jack” Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar allow Audemars Piguet to reach an entirely new demographic and help ensure its relevance for the foreseeable future.