While Audemars Piguet has received quite a bit of flak in the past for what some collectors perceive as milking the Royal Oak fame a little too much, I believe that the option available within the scope is a great thing. Not everyone can afford a tourbillon chronograph, and not everybody wants only a time-only watch. At least the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak collection provides both as well as several other options, together with broadly similar aesthetics. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Tourbillon Chronograph Openworked Material Good watch comes with a bracelet of the same material as the case and an extra alligator leather strap. It’s accessible at Audemars Piguet boutiques and the Material Good store in NY for $297,000 for the pink variation and $261,000 for the titanium model. Audemars Piguet has been producing some of the most technically intriguing watches in their Royal Oak Concept collection for the last few years. Last year, they showed off the Royal Oak Concept Laptimer, an exceptionally complicated chronograph with three pillar wheels which could measure sequential lap times. And earlier this year, they unveiled the equally complex Royal Oak Concept Supersonnerie Tourbillon Chronograph watch, a minute repeater exemplifying Audemars Piguet’s obsession with audio clarity and quality.Of program, it would be unkind to show you photos and tell you about this watch’s amazing sound with no movie to allow you to hear that, so do play with the movie over to listen to it for yourself. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Supersonnerie Tourbillon Chronograph watch is a piece that required Audemars Piguet eight long years to build up, and the goal was to make the ultimate striking watch. The minute repeater complication is often regarded among the toughest and… well, complex to create – so imagine how hard it’s to make one from scratch. The next issue to remember is that Audemars Piguet did not only want to create a new moment repeater see, they desired to make one which are the best.
Audemars Piguet‘s flagship Royal Oak Concepts are usually in novel materials like carbon composite and ceramic, exemplified by the very latest Supersonnerie. In contrast, the freshly unveiled Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon Chronograph is classic yellow gold with a green crocodile strap and set with large baguette-cut diamonds for a retro-bling look.
While yellow gold far less common than rose or white gold in contemporary watchmaking, AP has made the metal a focal point of the latest Royal Oak watches, with a suite of 2016 models in the metal, as well as a limited edition Royal Oak Extra-Thin “Jumbo” for The Hour Glass. Continuing the theme, the new Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon Chronograph is also exclusive to the same Singapore-based retailer.
Fitted with a 5.66 carat diamond-set bezel, the 44mm case is entirely yellow gold, with the option of a diamond-paved case. All of the hands are yellow gold, with even the markings on the dial in a matching shade. It’s a look that’s a tad out of sync with the current economic climate, but one that’s different from the usual black and grey high-end complications.
The Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon Chronograph is descended from the original Royal Oak Concept in alacrite, a watch that remains surprisingly fresh for something that made its debut in 2002. Mechanically the new Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon Chronograph is similar to the original, but more complicated.
Hand-wound with near 10 days of power reserve, the Concept Tourbillon Chronograph has a tourbillon at nine o’clock and power reserve at 12. The scale on the right is a linear minute counter for the chronograph, which counts the seconds via a central seconds hand.
The six o’clock indicator is for the function selector, indicating the crown position, a trademark of Renaud & Papi (the subsidiary of AP specialising in complications). And the baseplate of the movement is carbon composite, as are the bridges, explaining the marbled grey surface.
Price and availability
The Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon Chronograph in yellow gold is a limited edition of five pieces, available at The Hour Glass.
The version with the diamond bezel (ref. 26224BA.ZZ.D400CR.01) is priced at S$590,900, while the version with diamond on the bezel and case (ref. 26225BA.ZZ.D400CR.01) is S$625,600.