First unveiled in 2002 as a 30th anniversary tribute to the Royal Oak, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept watch is among the most anticipated launches at SIHH. Everyone knows it is coming – what will AP do this year? The answer for 2014 might come as a surprise, because the aesthetics would not likely be predicted. Here is a hint: white ceramic plays a major role.The case takes the expected form. The bright white ceramic bezel, and crown, pushpiece, and central bridge, not to mention the white rubber strap, hark back to the days when white watches were all the rage. In this case, white is not to be associated with feminine and soft. AP says the ceramic it uses is so hard that it takes diamond-tipped machine tools eight hours to make a single bezel, compared with about 45 minutes for one made with steel. The titanium 44 mm case is comfortable on the wrist, and it is water resistant to 100 meters.
Inside, the caliber 2930 movement features a tourbillon at 9 o’clock and a 24 hour GMT display with day and night indicator at 3 o’clock. The GMT display is set via the pushpiece. The main plate and bridges are hand finished with polished angles. A crown-position indicator appears at 6 o’clock. Twin barrels provide a nearly 10 day power reserve.
The movement consists of 291 parts, 85 of which are found in the tourbillon cage, which despite that impressive parts count weighs only .45 of a gram. It takes one watchmaker three days to assemble one movement, and two of those are required to install the cage.