Now, the “best” for Audemars Piguet signifies their attempting to make the most clear and crisp sound of any moment repeater. The brand points to three achievements demonstrated within this watch, which I shall briefly run through. First, the special preparation of the steel used to produce the gong arrangement allows the watchmakers to more accurately and easily correct and hone the pitch, tone, and stability of the minute repeater. Second, the way the case is built reduces sound absorption and maximizes amplification. I’ll examine this “soundboard” procedure more a little bit later on. Finally, the striking regulator is redesigned so that the anchor system acts as a shock absorber, minimizing shock noise.One of the most important components of a minute repeater watch is that the situation since it is responsible for broadening the sound. It’s often said that gold would be the ideal material for the task because it generates a richer sound, but the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Supersonnerie Tourbillon Chronograph watch opts for titanium. Titanium is a very light and strong alloy, and its low density enables sound to pass through with less resistance. In case you have any questions about that, you only have to check at exotic supercars and their titanium exhausts. Titanium is also used elsewhere round the watch to improve the quality of the noise, but more with this later.The use of titanium also means that despite the watch’s sizable measurements, at 44mm wide and 16.5mm thick, it still stays light and comfortable to wear. And thanks to its unique aesthetic, the situation design immediately identifies the opinion as a Royal Oak Concept and nothing else.It goes without saying that the instance is completed to an impeccably high standard with contrasting finishing. The bezel has mirror polished edges and features a satin-brushed finish on the surface, which matches the exposed polished 18k white gold twist heads. The case was sandblasted and has a matte finish that juxtaposes very well with the more slender bezel. The large crown and chronograph pushers have been made from ceramic.
Five years after its launch, the Royal Oak Chronograph 41mm has been restyled for SIHH 2017. Audemars Piguet kept the fundamentals the same, applying some minor tweaks to the dial to give it a sportier look (compare it with the earlier version).
All the new Royal Oak Chronograph variants feature two-tone dials, with the sub-dials in contrasting colours. Another obvious change are the enlarged registers for elapsed minute and hours, while that for the constant seconds has been reduced. This improves legibility somewhat, since elapsed time has to be read, while the sub-seconds is merely a reminder that the watch is running.
To the same end, the hour markers are now wider and shorter, with a broader strip of Super-Luminova for increased nighttime glow; the same has been done for the hands as well (the counterweight of the seconds hand now has luminescent paint as well).
All the Royal Oak Chronograph 41mm models are equipped with the calibre 2385, which is actually the Frederic Piguet 1185, a compact and slim automatic movement.
The new range includes four models in pink gold, in either blue or brown, accompanied by either an alligator strap or matching gold bracelet, as well as three in stainless steel with black, white or blue dials.
Ti and Pt
And most intriguing, the line-up also includes the Royal Oak Chronograph 41mm in titanium and platinum (ref. 26331IP.OO.1220IP.01).
This unusual, boutique-only model has most of the case and bracelet in brushed titanium, with the bezel and centre links of the bracelet in polished platinum for a striking contrast of surface finishes.
And the dial is grey with the sub-dials and minute chapter ring in dark blue, the same combination of colours found on the first generation Royal Oak Offshore in titanium.
Pricing and availability have yet to be announced.