Watch legends are tough acts to follow. The groundbreaking Royal Oak of 1972, Gérald Genta’s luxury steel sports watch that founded an entirely new genre, was revisited in 1993 with the Royal Oak Offshore provoking as disparate reactions as the original. Thirty years later, in 2002, another collection known as the Royal Oak Concept saw the light. This powerful collection with its deconstructed architecture firmly plants the Royal Oak in the 21st century. Innovative materials and complex openworked architecture are trademark features of the Royal Oak Concept that attires its Flying Tourbillon GMT in shades of blue and grey.
A mighty Royal Oak
The Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon GMT made its debut two years ago in a darker version with sandblasted titanium and a brushed black ceramic bezel. The latest models share exactly the same specifications but come in new colour schemes; one in monochromatic grey tones and the other with vivid blue accents.
The imposing case of the Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon GMT has a diameter of 44mm, a height of 16.1mm and is water-resistant to 100 metres. The case is made from sandblasted titanium while the hallmark octagonal bezel with exposed – and aligned – hexagonal screws of the blue model is crafted in sandblasted ceramic with polished bevels to accentuate the dramatic architecture. The monochromatic grey model, a limited edition of just 30 watches, has a sandblasted titanium bezel to match the case. The screw-locked crown and push-piece are also made from ceramic, although the guards are also made from sandblasted titanium.
One of the prevailing concepts behind the Royal Oak Concept collection is the integration of all the elements; the case and the grey or blue rubber strap, for example, flow seamlessly into one another and the boundaries between the dial and the movement dissolve.
The lack of a conventional dial exposes parts of the movement, including the flying tourbillon at 9 o’clock. It’s worth pointing out that the first flying tourbillon complication at Audemars Piguet made its debut in 2018 on board a spectacular women’s diamond-set Royal Oak Concept – which is explained here with a truly educational video.
The asymmetric sandblasted titanium bridges are picked out in either blue or grey and give the dial its bold edgy vibe. Two open pentagons, at 12 housing the logo and at 6 o’clock with the crown position indicator (HNR) meet two delta-shaped structures framing the tourbillon. On the right, another bridge features a cut-away area for the second time zone function set on a sapphire plate with an arrow-shaped indicator. The peripheral bezel bearing hour and minute markers is read with semi-skeletonised white gold Royal Oak hands with a luminescent coating.
Ten-day power reserve
The reverse side reveals another view of the manual-winding AP manufacture calibre 2954 guarded under a complex openworked geometric structure. Beating at a frequency of 3Hz, the power reserve is as mighty as the case and can store up to 237 hours (almost 10 days) thanks to the two large barrels visible through the sapphire crystal caseback.
Price and availability
The blue Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon GMT (ref. 26589IO.OO.D030CA.01) comes with a blue rubber strap with a sandblasted titanium folding clasp and an additional black rubber strap and retails for USD 198,400. The grey model (ref. 26589TI.GG.D006CA.01), however, is a limited edition of 30 pieces and comes with a matching grey rubber strap and an additional grey alligator leather strap.
For more information, please visit audemarspiguet.com.
This post first appeared on Monochrome Watches - An online magazine dedicated to fine watches.