SIHH 2015: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept RD#1 (Updated with Live Photo)

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Acoustic ResearchAs it did last year, Audemars Piguet presented a new Royal Oak Concept watch at the 2015 SIHH watch fair. This year’s model is truly a milestone: The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept RD#1 (formerly nicknamed “Acoustic Research”) — which I saw, and heard, in person today — is a unique prototype piece that is the result of an eight-year program to develop the “perfect” minute repeater sound volume.

To develop the Royal Oak Concept RD#1 timepiece, Audemars Piguet partnered with the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), a Swiss organization dedicated to the study of acoustics. The result of their intensive sound research program is, according to AP, “the first chiming watch so acoustically considered as to become a sound concept in its own right.” By applying the principles of stringed instrument making to the development of the watch’s chiming mechanism, the brand has created a repeater watch with a significantly enhanced sound transmission. One of the challenges the designers had to overcome was the natural volume-dampening effect of the water-resistant titanium case. The solution was a brand-new, almost silent striking mechanism regulator built into the movement, which also incorporates — in addition to the revolutionary repeater — a column-wheel chronograph and a tourbillon. AP says that the volume, pitch, tones and sound harmony are all scientifically enhanced, and that the chimes have an enhanced sound intensity. The watch is still water-resistant, albeit to a relatively modest 20 meters.

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept RD#1 has a 44-mm-diameter titanium case, bezel, and chronograph pushers. It has a black dial and luminescent-coated hands in the Royal Oak Concept style. The chronograph function has a central sweep seconds hand and a linear, 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock; the tourbillon is at 6 o’clock. The manual-wind movement has a frequency of 21,600 vph (3 Hz) and stores a power reserve of 48 hours.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Acoustic ResearchBelow you’ll find a photo of the Royal Oak Concept that I snapped today at SIHH.

AP Royal Oak Concept Acoustic

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  1. Wow, it’s like they’re trying to make these watches as unappealing as possible.

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