The black satin-brushed dial is partly skeletonized to show the internal workings of this watch. However, as they’re fairly chunky, telling the timing is not overly hard, but legibility is not ideal. That having been said, this isn’t really a piece where the palms are the focus. The running seconds hand to your chronograph is bright yellow to give contrast against the black dial.Finally, the individual moment markers and the markers to the 30-minute chronograph in 3 o’clock are left in yellow and white to provide maximum contrast and legibility. The 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock can be unique since it displays the elapsed minutes with a retrograde index. And lastly, at six o’clock is that the tourbillon.The motion is where the magic all occurs. It’s obviously in-house, also it’s the calibre 2937. Manually wound, it sports a staggering 478 parts, beats at 3Hz, and provides a power reserve of 42 hours. And like most of luxury chronograph movements, it’s a column-wheel and lateral clutch.What’s unusual about it, though, is its two gongs. Rather than mounting the gongs into the motion plate, they are attached to what Audemars Piguet requires a “sound board” Basically, it is a thin membrane made of a special aluminum alloy which covers the rear of the motion, held in place with screws, and also forming a water-tight seal. This clarifies how the Royal Oak Concept Supersonnerie Tourbillon Chronograph watch is able to acquire a water-resistance score of 20 meters, which might not seem like much to some casual observer, but this could not be more incorrect. The 20 meters is in fact quite impressive considering the intricate structure of this watch.
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.