Audemars Piguet Royal Oak GMT Tourbillon: Show-stopping Audacity
Being the oldest fine watchmaking manufacture never to have left the hands of its founding families has its privileges. Autonomy, for one. And Audemars Piguet’s independent streak and unique vision have been boldly expressed in the Royal Oak Concept GMT Tourbillon. Initially launched as a tribute to the Royal Oak’s 30th anniversary in 2002, the […]
Being the oldest fine watchmaking manufacture never to have left the hands of its founding families has its privileges. Autonomy, for one. And Audemars Piguet’s independent streak and unique vision have been boldly expressed in the Royal Oak Concept GMT Tourbillon. Initially launched as a tribute to the Royal Oak’s 30th anniversary in 2002, the latest Royal Oak Concept is a watch for avant-garde collectors and connoisseurs that challenges conventional limits both technically and aesthetically.
Through the years, design features originally designed by Gérald Genta have been refined, and this latest iteration features a white ceramic bezel, crown and push-pieces instead of black, all heightening the contrast with the titanium case. However, with typical revolutionary panache, Audemars Piguet went one step further and incorporated ceramic into the movement itself, replacing the blackened upper bridge of its predecessor with white ceramic. As a result, the new Concept is visually transformed, and its dazzling, hourglass-shaped bridge is further enhanced by the double symmetry of the tourbillon bridges and GMT display.
Since ceramic is almost nine times harder than steel and virtually scratch-proof, creating the watch’s white ceramic parts is a complex and time-consuming process. Special milling-cutter machines equipped with diamond-tipped tools are employed for the process with each bezel taking about eight hours to make, compared to 45 minutes or so for a comparable bezel made of steel. This undoubtedly demonstrates Audemars Piguet’s full mastery of ceramic production. No ordinary case would do for such a special watch, so titanium made the cut to craft the watch’s 44mm case while the inner flange encircling the dial is made of lightweight anodised aluminium.
A defining characteristic of Concept watches is the integration of case and movement which is evident in this new model. The movement, hand-wound Calibre 2930, features twin barrel that provides a 10-day power reserve, providing energy for the tourbillon and second time-zone display. The escapement, which beats at a frequency of 21,600vph, rotates inside the tourbillon carriage every 60 seconds. The tourbillon cage is made up of 85 components, yet weighs only 0.45 grams. Each cage requires three days to assemble, including two full days to install, and the entire mechanism represents more than two full weeks of work. Each component is bevelled, polished, assembled and balanced by hand and Audemars Piguet’s proprietary parallel double barrel system generates a constant force to enhance timekeeping precision. Powerful and unabashedly eye catching, the latest Royal Oak Concept is a potent force to be reckoned with.