Although Audemars Piguet has 145 years of exceptional watchmaking under its belt, the Royal Oak created in 1972 is its most recognized and coveted model today. But the latest take on the model, the Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon ($160,000) takes some design cues from the controversial Code 11.59 models, first released in 2019. It features a stepped dial, which is reminiscent of the layered effect of the Code 11.59’s double-curved sapphire crystal, visible when viewing the watch at an angle, and the over-the-top, one-of-a-kind Sapphire Orbe watch released last year.
The watch also incorporates flourishes from the brand’s successful partnership with Italian jewelry designer Carolina Bucci, whose frosted gold ancient Florentine jewelry technique, created by making tiny indents with a diamond-tipped tool on the gold surface, was used in previous Royal Oak models. Factor in a flying tourbillon accented with brilliant-cut diamonds set in a royal blue sunburst dial and you have one multi-dimensional, show-stopping piece.
The hand-wound manufacture caliber 2964, which has 72 hours of power reserve, also features a circular motif that is visible through the sapphire crystal caseback to reflect the design of the dial. And sand-blasted and satin-brushed finishings were used to decorate the movement to mimic Bucci’s frosted effect.
The opulent new Royal Oak Concept is available in 18-karat pink gold or white gold. At 38.5 mm in diameter and 6.63 mm thick, it’s sized just small enough to be worn across genders. Audemars Piguet doesn’t hold back when it comes to design; this is bold watchmaking meant for an all-eyes-on-the-wrist moment. Its latest Royal Oak won’t be for everyone, both in price and in design, but it will deliver all of the high-impact look and watchmaking gravitas necessary for bragging rights.