What’s left of the “dial” is essentially a satin-brushed, ruthenium-toned ring around the border and both anthracite sub-dials. There is a rehaut printed with a second chapter ring too. In my experience, legibility is not the strongest suit for a skeletonized watch, but that is less of an issue in the case of the watch. The use of pink gold applied hour markers and pink golden baton-shaped palms, both filled with lume, should provide adequate legibility in most light conditions. The “Audemars Piguet” logo is printed onto the surface of the sapphire crystal on front, which gives it a nice floating effect.The sub-dials are easy with white printed white and text baton-shaped hands. The sub-dial in 3:00 indicates chronograph minutes and the one at 9:00 shows continuous moments. 1 potential issue with legibility has to do with the chronograph seconds hand, which can be black with a lumed white tip. Between just how thin the seconds hand is and also the colour, studying the chronograph elapsed time may be more cumbersome than people may like. It is hard to say for sure until we get our hands on a tangible case of this watch.I’ve abandoned the situation and bracelet description to the last because those are a few of the most recognizable areas of the watch. This is the exact same Gerald Genta design that is popular among several collectors however with 44mm by 13.2mm case measurements. This is a fairly large watch with a wide bezel on both front and rear. Each of the right lines and sharp angles additionally give it a larger look. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Tourbillon Chronograph is offered in two case materials — titanium and rose gold. There are the obvious visual differences in both substances but what I find more intriguing is that ceramic is generally a light material with high tensile strength, while gold is a dense but soft substance. What this means is that the expertise of wearing each variation should be significantly different, and I personally find this interesting.
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.