With the Royal Oak Tourbillon Chronograph Openworked featured in previous article, Audemars Piguet has succeeded in its intent to create a watch that was indeed linked to the Royal Oak myth but decidedly modernized, innovative in some respects but deeply linked to tradition for others.
It is a real update of the Royal Oak that never stops evolving, experimenting with the use of increasingly complex materials while choosing to mount a caliber capable of synthesizing almost 150 years of watchmaking savoir faire in its skeletonization and engineering.
The idea of haute horlogerie described above, however, is completely overturned by the Le Brassus brand in its most innovative and truly future-oriented collection, namely the Royal Oak Concept. In 2002 to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the Royal Oak, Audemars Piguet created a limited series of 150 watches that took the haute horlogerie hitherto interpreted by the brand on a completely different level, where not only materials taken into account are the masters. loan from highly technological sectors such as aeronautics, but also architecture of movements never seen before, with high performance and characteristics.
The entry level of the Concept series currently in the collection is the Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon GMT 26589IO, represents the evolution of the previous 26560IO and was presented at SIHH 2018. In order to fully understand it, let's look at its main features:
Despite the presence of the inevitable octagonal bezel, the shapes of this watch are the most distant you can find from the Royal Oak collection. It is thick (16 mm), has important dimensions (Ø 44 mm, the feeling is that it is even wider) and the case is very square, almost sketchy and still to be streamlined. I am fully convinced that it is possible to carry out an extensive work of refining and cleaning the lines, making them less broken and segmented, but in this way the idea of avant-garde and concept that the watch transmits would be lost.
A bit like what happens when you look at Tesla's Cybertuck. Despite the deliberately rough design, the case is well studied especially from an ergonomic point of view; its slight curvature hugs the wrist and makes the watch wearable even for the thinnest wrists. Comfort approaches that of a Richard Mille (industry benchmark). The water resistance that this case guarantees is 100 m, a clear step forward compared to the canonical Royal Oak.
Black ceramic, titanium and rose gold were well balanced and balanced. The ceramic features the bezel, winding crown and rectangular push-button at 4 o'clock (aimed at managing the GMT), while titanium has been used in abundance not only for the case but also for the movement and all its structural parts. Finally, pink gold is used for the spheres, some details of the skeletonized dial and the main gears of the flying tourbillon at 3 o'clock and the two barrels that can be glimpsed inside the skeletonized dial.
It is interesting to note the processing in correspondence with the AP logo at 12 o'clock and the indication of the clock function at 6 o'clock (also made in rose gold), the titanium sheet has been worked in such a way as to create facets that give a marked three-dimensionality with the variation of the light and the movement of the wrist.
Il In-house caliber 2954 (3 Hz, 348 components, 237 h of power reserve, 10 days) has three main characteristics, the flying tourbillon, theindication of the clock function and second time zone. The flying tourbillon - tourbillon in which the upper bridge is eliminated - at 9 o'clock is an absolute novelty for Audemars Piguet and it is no coincidence that it has been mounted on a Concept, where the architecture of the entire movement guarantees high performance, especially in terms of stiffness.
The function of the watch is indicated by a special disc at 6 o'clock detailed in pink gold that clicks when the screw-down crown is pulled out. This shows when the watch is on charging phase (R = remontoir), regolazione (H = heures) or rest (N = neutral). At 3 o'clock there is an indication of a second time zone adjustable to 12 hours which is activated by a special button at 4 o'clock. Each time it is pressed, the GMT disc it will jump forward by 1 hour, thus being able to view two distinct times at the same time as long as they differ by a whole multiple of the hour (it is not a world time).
Through the visible caseback it is possible to see the skeletonization of the caliber and how much it has been streamlined and engineered to be so light and rigid as to avoid possible operating problems with the flying tourbillon, notoriously more delicate than the traditional version. THE 10 days of power reservefinally, they represent another feature not to be underestimated.
The Royal Oak Concepts are expressions of watchmaking technique and represent the technical level that Audemars Piguet really possesses. There is no search for beauty, refinement and balance that we can find on Royal Oak Tourbillon Chronograph, but that doesn't make it any less valuable. Indeed, the more or less known technical innovations that characterize this Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon GMT, they represent the foundation for the Royal Oak or, more generally, the Audemars Piguet watches to come. The very fact of wanting to overcome the limits of watchmaking of today embodies the success of tomorrow for Audemars Piguet.
The sale price of Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon GMT 26589IO is 170'000 CHF excluding taxes.