Swiss Haute Horlogerie manufacturer Audemars Piguet is delighted to unveil a new Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon limited edition created in collaboration with Haute Couture designer Tamara Ralph. Inspired by the designer’s aesthetic merging bold femininity, boundless creativity and timeless elegance, this limited edition in 18-carat pink gold shimmers with Frosted Gold and takes on a unique palette of graded hues ranging from brown and bronze to golden tones. This collaboration, which was revealed on 22 January 2024 during Tamara Ralph’s runway show in Paris for the Spring/Summer 2024 Haute Couture Fashion Week, celebrates the natural synergies between Haute Horlogerie and Haute Couture, while furthering the strong ties that Audemars Piguet has woven with creative worlds over the years.
Believing in the power of creativity to feed culture, connect people and broaden horizons, Audemars Piguet has always looked to the larger world for inspiration. Over the years, the Manufacture has fostered enriching dialogues amongst fields of creative practice, including Haute Couture, with which it shares a strong commitment to uncompromising craftsmanship, precision and excellence.
In 2020, Audemars Piguet began its partnership with designer Tamara Ralph, pairing several of its watches with her Spring/Summer 2021 Prêt-à-Porter collection. Pursuing their enduring relationship, Audemars Piguet and Tamara Ralph have collaborated this year on the design of a Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon limited edition inspired by Ralph’s Couture universe. The timepiece, which was presented on 22 January 2024 during the designer’s runway show in Paris, highlights the two brands’ forward-thinking approach to craftsmanship, their seamless blend of ancestral expertise with modern techniques, as well as their distinctive creations that are at once objets d’art and vectors of emotion.
“My intention for the design of this piece is for it to capture the spirit and craftsmanship of both my brand as well as Audemars Piguet. The complications of watchmaking orchestrate a foundation which can be played with in terms of textures, colours and designs, allowing for the savoir-faire of couture to shine through. Rich materials, unique colour palettes and ultimate precision are combined, creating an exquisite limited edition of the Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon, inspired by Haute Couture.”Tamara Ralph, Creative Director and Founder of Tamara Ralph
“Tamara’s endless quest for perfection perfectly echoes our watchmakers’ dedication to pushing their craft to the limit. We are delighted to start 2024 in collaboration with such an inspiring woman and it is only the beginning!”Ilaria Resta, Chief Executive Officer, Audemars Piguet
A REFINED PLAY OF TEXTURES AND LIGHT
The Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon “Tamara Ralph” Limited Edition showcases an 18-carat pink gold case adorned with Frosted Gold. This ancient Florentine jewellery technique was revisited by jewellery designer Carolina Bucci and adapted by Audemars Piguet artisans in 2016 to decorate the Manufacture’s timepieces. Tiny indentations are created on the gold surface with a diamond-tipped tool, giving a sparkle effect similar to that of precious stones. Its visual power is accentuated by the polished bevel outlining the octagonal bezel, while the case’s satin-brushed flanks provide added contrast. The juxtaposition of finishing techniques—a meticulous operation which required perfect alignment between the hammered, brushed and polished surfaces—gives sumptuous texture to the case, while bestowing it with endless plays of light.
For its part, the caseback’s glareproofed sapphire crystal is held in place by an 18-carat pink gold octagonal frame, finished with satin brushing and polished chamfers and engraved with “Royal Oak Concept Limited Edition.”
Lastly, the hexagonal crown, whose shape recalls the stainless steel screws punctuating the bezel, also plays with light thanks to its satin-brushed and polished finishing. Its translucent cabochon-cut sapphire adds yet another touch of feminine elegance to the case design.
A HARMONY OF COLOURS AND LAYERS
The multi-layered dial takes inspiration from the bold femininity and textured detailing of Tamara Ralph’s Couture creations. It is composed of four overlapping circular pink gold plates, creating a ripple effect as they emanate from the flying tourbillon cage at 6 o’clock. Each layer presents a different colour, evolving from brown in the centre to bronze in the middle, to reach golden tones towards the dial’s extremity. While the brown and golden colours have been achieved through galvanic treatment, the bronze layer is covered with bronze lacquer. The dial is finished with a continuous sunburst satin-finishing radiating from the hands outwards, in seamless alignment from one plate to the other. Pushing details to the limit, each plate is adorned with a thin diamond-polished gold thread that adds depth to the dial.
Matching with the circular, multi-layered architecture of the dial, the flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock merges technical mastery with sophisticated aesthetic. The cage’s upper frame incorporates three rings radiating from a decentred disc paved with 19 brilliant-cut diamonds (~ 0.04 carats). Its pink-gold-toned hue echoes the 18-carat pink gold hour and minute hands, both filled with luminescent coating for optimum legibility in the dark. At 12 o’clock, the applied pink gold AP monogram adds the final touch. Hour-markers have been left out to accentuate the purity and harmony of the dial design.
The timepiece comes with a bronze-toned hand-stitched “large square scale” alligator strap. It is also supplied with an additional brown alligator strap recalling the centre of the dial for a refined look. The two straps are decorated with a pearly finishing adding subtle elegance and glamour. The timepiece’s glittering hues and intricate details will catch the eye from up close and afar, just like a Couture piece would.
INTO THE HEART OF HAUTE HORLOGERIE
Powered by the hand-wound Calibre 2964, this limited edition combines tradition with modernity. Its flying tourbillon, visible at 6 o’clock, gives a glimpse of the mechanism pulsating within. This delicate, high-end complication counteracts the effects of gravity on a watch’s accuracy. The balance wheel and escapement are mounted in a tiny rotating cage that completes a revolution every minute to prevent their centre of gravity from staying in the same orientation. Contrary to its tourbillon sibling, the flying tourbillon cage is only supported from below to leave the watch’s beating heart unobscured on the dial side. It is considered today as a symbol of watchmaking art as only a few expert watchmakers retain the skills required for its production.
Inspired by the dial’s circular, multi-layered aesthetic, the back bridges of the movement, which can be admired through the sapphire caseback, are decorated with five circles emanating from the back of the flying tourbillon cage while increasing in size as they progress towards the periphery. Their alternation of sandblasting and satin-brushing add texture and depth while subtly echoing the refined Frosted Gold finishing adorning the case. The sapphire caseback also reveals the sole bridge on which the flying tourbillon cage is fixed, while an additional opening discloses part of the geartrain. Design and movement development have merged once more to reach seamless harmony, inside and out; much like Couture.
“This timepiece is the feminine expression par excellence of the flying tourbillon, whose lightness, precision and elegance merge with a quality of execution that symbolises its values.”Anne-Gaëlle Quinet, Head of Complications
A POWERFUL LEGACY
The Royal Oak Concept saw the light of day in 2002 to celebrate the Royal Oak’s 30th anniversary. For the occasion, Audemars Piguet released a 150-piece limited edition inspired by Concept cars that combined titanium with Alacrite 602, a light yet highly resistant alloy mainly used in the aeronautical industry. While the bezel retained the Royal Oak’s trademark octagonal shape, the massive rounded 44 mm case, whose ergonomic curvature matched the natural shape of the wrist, brought this timepiece to new horizons. To complement the case’s futuristic aesthetic, the dial exposed the advanced hand-wound mechanism, while providing a variety of innovative functions.
Although originally conceived as a one-off limited edition, the Royal Oak Concept established an entirely new aesthetic for 21st-century Haute Horlogerie and led to the creation of a collection in 2008 following the release of the pioneering Royal Oak Carbon Concept Tourbillon and Chronograph. A platform of experimentation and innovation ever since, the Royal Oak Concept has seen the addition of unyielding materials, avant-garde designs and innovative complications attuned to the timepiece’s identity.
The first Royal Oak Concept for women joined the collection in 2018, premiering Audemars Piguet’s first flying tourbillon wristwatch. Two 38.5 mm timepieces in 18-carat white gold highlighted the collection’s disruptive aesthetic with an array of brilliant- or baguette-cut diamonds. This design was reinterpreted in 2021 with a series of timepieces playing with diamonds and coloured gemstones.
The Royal Oak Concept also welcomed a new women’s Flying Tourbillon model glittering with Frosted Gold in 2020 – the first in the collection. This timepiece was executed in a choice of 18-carat white or pink gold and complemented with a multi-layered dial in graded blue tones. Building on this design, the latest 18-carat pink gold Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon “Tamara Ralph” Limited Edition merges the collection’s bold and powerful looks with the sophisticated luxury and fantasy of Tamara Ralph’s Haute Couture.