Timeless alliance

Timeless alliance

Couture, horology entwine for new ladies' Royal Oak

Timeless alliance
Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon Tamara Ralph Limited Edition.

Audemars Piguet celebrated the 20th anniversary of Royal Oak Concept and 50th of the Royal Oak in 2022 -- the same year Tamara Ralph launched her eponymous haute couture brand.

The London-based designer was previously the founder and creative director of Ralph & Russo, whose spring/summer 2021 collection featured ready-to-wear outfits matched with Audemars Piguet watches.

Haute couture meets haute horlogerie in their latest collaboration -- the Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon Tamara Ralph Limited Edition.

On Jan 22 -- the first day of Haute Couture Week -- her fashion show at the Shangri-La Paris presented the spring/summer 2024 collection as well as a new timepiece, which captures the spirit as well as uncompromising craftsmanship of both brands.

Since 1875, Audemars Piguet has been operating in the village of Le Brassus in the ValleĢe de Joux. The oldest Swiss watchmaking company still in the hands of its founding families always looks for inspiration from other realms.

The Royal Oak Concept debuted in 2002 with a limited edition inspired by concept cars. While retaining the Royal Oak's octagonal bezel, the futuristic model was housed in a rounded 44mm case made from alacrite 602 -- a light yet highly resistant alloy mainly used in the aeronautical industry.

Models wearing the Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon at Tamara Ralph's runway show at Shangri-La Paris.

For over two decades, the Royal Oak Concept has been an experimentation platform for creating avant-garde timepieces boasting original designs and innovative complications.

In 2018, Audemars Piguet's first flying tourbillon wristwatch was dedicated to women. Two versions of the 38.5 mm white gold model stood out with audacious aesthetics illuminated by brilliant or baguette-cut diamonds.

The Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon Tamara Ralph Limited Edition is another stunning interpretation with a multilayered dial inspired by the textured detailing of couture creations.

Four overlapping circular pink gold plates create a ripple effect as they emanate from the flying tourbillon cage at 6 o'clock.

Each layer is in a different colour, evolving from brown in the centre to bronze and then golden tones towards the dial's extremity. The brown and golden shades have been achieved through galvanic treatment while the bronze layer is covered with lacquer.

A continuous sunburst satin finishing radiates outwards in a seamless alignment from one plate to the other. Each plate is adorned with a thin diamond-polished gold thread that adds depth to the dial.

Without hour and minute markers, the dial emphasises the harmonious design while hands are filled with luminescent coating for legibility in the dark.

At 6 o'clock the flying tourbillon spins in a cage, whose upper frame incorporates three rings radiating from a decentred disc paved with 19 brilliant-cut diamonds. The cage is only supported from below to leave the watch's beating heart unobscured on the dial side.

On the caseback, the sapphire crystal reveals the hand-wound Calibre 2964, which delivers a power reserve of 72 hours.

The circular, multilayered aesthetic echoes on its back bridges, which are decorated with five circles emerging from the back of the flying tourbillon cage while increasing in size as they progress towards the periphery.

Haute couture designer Tamara Ralph.

Alternating sandblasting and satin brushing add texture and depth while subtly mirroring the frosted gold finishing on the 18-carat pink gold case, whose hexagonal crown evokes the stainless steel screws punctuating the bezel. Audemars Piguet artisans have been adapting the ancient Florentine jewellery technique to decorate timepieces with frosted gold since the collaboration with Carolina Bucci in 2016 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the first feminine Royal Oak.

A diamond-tipped tool is used to create tiny indentations on the gold surface, resulting in a sparkling effect similar to that of precious stones. The juxtaposition of finishing techniques further gives the case a sumptuous texture and its play of light.

The Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon Tamara Ralph Limited Edition is available in 102 pieces. The collaboration perfectly conveys the concept of Tamara Ralph's spring/summer 2024 collection, which is a reverent ode to life's most precious commodity -- time.

Multilayered dial inspired by textured detailing of Tamara Ralph's couture creations.

Calibre 2964.

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