Now, the “best” for Audemars Piguet signifies their striving to make the very crisp and clear sound of any minute repeater. The brand points to three accomplishments demonstrated within this particular watch, which I shall briefly run through. To begin with, the special preparation of the steel used to produce the gong arrangement allows the watchmakers to more accurately and easily correct and enhance the pitch, tone, and stability of this second repeater. Second, the method by which the situation is constructed reduces sound absorption and maximizes amplification. I will examine this “soundboard” procedure a bit later on. Last, the striking regulator is redesigned so the anchor system behaves like a shock absorber, minimizing shock noise.One of the most important components of a minute repeater watch is the situation since it is responsible for broadening the sound. Titanium is a very light and strong alloy, and its low density enables sound to pass through with less resistance. If you have any questions about this, you just need to check at exotic supercars and their titanium exhausts. Titanium is also used elsewhere around the watch to enhance 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 comfy to wear. And due to its unique aesthetic, the case design immediately identifies the opinion as a Royal Oak Concept and nothing else.It goes without mentioning that the instance is finished to an impeccably high standard with contrasting finishing. The bezel has mirror polished borders and includes a satin-brushed finish on the top, which complements the exposed polished 18k white gold twist heads. The case was sandblasted and features a matte finish which juxtaposes quite well with the more slender bezel. The large crown and chronograph pushers are made from ceramic.
Audemars Piguet introduced the Royal Oak Frosted Gold last year to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the first ladies’ Royal Oak, yet the watch garnered significant attention from a male audience despite being aimed squarely at women. In fact, at SIHH earlier this year, AP boss Francois-Henry Bennahmias was wearing a prototype men’s Royal Oak ref. 15400 with the same frosted gold finish. As anticipated, the prototype has made it into production – in a limited edition, no less.
That “frosted” decoration is the result of a collaboration between the Le Brassus watchmaker and Florentine jeweller Carolina Bucci, whose signature technique involves hammering gold with a diamond-tipped tool to create minute indentations on the surface. The result is a fine, tactile and sparkly finish – a decidedly modern approach that mimics the look of gem-encrustation without the jewels.
Understandably, applying this jewellery technique to the angular lines of the Gérald Genta-design came with its challenges. The team had to ensure that the finishing would neither alter the clean lines of the hallmark octagonal bezel nor the fluidity of the bracelet. Consequently, the finishing has to be applied by hand to individual components one at a time. In effect, this hand-finishing technique ensures that each watch is different.
The Frosted Gold watches were originally only available in 33m and 37mm versions for ladies, which were equipped with a quartz calibre and the automatic cal. 3120 respectively. Now the 41mm Frosted Gold for men is powered by the in-house cal. 3120 automatic. It is available only in white gold with a blue “Grande Tapisserie” dial.
Price and Availability
The Royal Oak Frosted Gold for men (ref. 15410BC.GG.1224BC.01) is a limited edition of 200 pieces, and is priced at US$55,000.