Now, the “best” for Audemars Piguet means their attempting to make the most crisp and clear sound of any minute repeater. The newest points to three accomplishments demonstrated in this watch, which I will briefly run through. First, the unique preparation of the steel used to produce the gong structure allows the watchmakers to more accurately and easily adjust and hone the pitch, tone, and stability of this second repeater. Secondly, the method by which in which the situation is constructed reduces sound absorption and maximizes amplification. I’ll discuss this “soundboard” technique 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 constituents of a minute repeater watch is the situation because it is responsible for amplifying the noise. Titanium is a really light and strong metal, and its low density enables sound to pass through with less resistance. In case you have any doubts about that, you just have to look at exotic supercars and their titanium exhausts. Titanium can also be used elsewhere round the watch to improve the quality of the sound, but more on this later.The utilization of titanium also means that despite the watch’s sizable dimensions, in 44mm wide and 16.5mm thick, it still remains light and comfy to wear. And due to its aesthetic, the situation design instantly identifies the watch as a Royal Oak Concept and nothing else.It goes without mentioning that the case is completed 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 situation was sandblasted and has a matte finish which juxtaposes very nicely with the more slender bezel. The huge crown and chronograph pushers are made out of 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.