The black satin-brushed dial is partially skeletonized to show the inner workings of the watch. The minute and hour hands are made of 18K white gold and are partly skeletonized also. But as they’re rather chunky, telling the time is not overly difficult, but legibility isn’t ideal. That having been said, this is not actually a bit where the palms will be the focus. The running seconds hand to the chronograph is bright yellow to give contrast against the black dial.Finally, the individual moment markers as well as the markers to the 30-minute chronograph in 3 o’clock are left in yellow and white to provide maximum contrast and legibility. The 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock is also exceptional since it shows the elapsed minutes with a retrograde index. And finally, at six o’clock is that the tourbillon.The motion is where the magic all occurs. It’s obviously in-house, and it is the calibre 2937. And like all luxury chronograph movements, it’s a column-wheel and lateral clutch.What’s odd about it, however, is its two gongs. Instead of mounting the gongs into the motion plate, they’re attached to what Audemars Piguet calls for a “sound board.” Essentially, it’s a thin membrane made of a special aluminum alloy which covers the rear of the movement, held in place by screws, and also forming a water-tight seal. This explains how the Royal Oak Concept Supersonnerie Tourbillon Chronograph watch can get a water-resistance rating of 20 meters, which may not seem like much to a casual observer, but this couldn’t be more incorrect. The 20 meters is actually rather impressive thinking about the intricate construction of this watch.
Audemars Piguet introduced the Royal Oak Frosted Gold last year to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the first ladies’ Royal Oak, yet the watch garnered significant attention from a male audience despite being aimed squarely at women. In fact, at SIHH earlier this year, AP boss Francois-Henry Bennahmias was wearing a prototype men’s Royal Oak ref. 15400 with the same frosted gold finish. As anticipated, the prototype has made it into production – in a limited edition, no less.
That “frosted” decoration is the result of a collaboration between the Le Brassus watchmaker and Florentine jeweller Carolina Bucci, whose signature technique involves hammering gold with a diamond-tipped tool to create minute indentations on the surface. The result is a fine, tactile and sparkly finish – a decidedly modern approach that mimics the look of gem-encrustation without the jewels.
Understandably, applying this jewellery technique to the angular lines of the Gérald Genta-design came with its challenges. The team had to ensure that the finishing would neither alter the clean lines of the hallmark octagonal bezel nor the fluidity of the bracelet. Consequently, the finishing has to be applied by hand to individual components one at a time. In effect, this hand-finishing technique ensures that each watch is different.
The Frosted Gold watches were originally only available in 33m and 37mm versions for ladies, which were equipped with a quartz calibre and the automatic cal. 3120 respectively. Now the 41mm Frosted Gold for men is powered by the in-house cal. 3120 automatic. It is available only in white gold with a blue “Grande Tapisserie” dial.
Price and Availability
The Royal Oak Frosted Gold for men (ref. 15410BC.GG.1224BC.01) is a limited edition of 200 pieces, and is priced at US$55,000.