The Royal Oak Concept was first unveiled in 2002 as an avant-garde, 30th-anniversary tribute to Audemars Piguet’s legendary octagonal Royal Oak – designed by Gérald Genta as the world’s first luxury watch in stainless steel (read about the Royal Oak watch model history here).
As a Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie 2014 preview, Audemars Piguet is now presenting the Royal Oak Concept GMT Tourbillon in titanium and white ceramic.
As Audemars Piguet explains, treating the roughed-out surfaces and edges to a polished or satin-brushed finish represents a technical challenge, due to ceramic’s inherent resistance to abrasion. It takes around 8 hours to make the Royal Oak Concept GMT Tourbillon’s bezel, compared with 45 minutes if it were steel. The result is a smooth look combined with extreme resistance to scratches.
Use of titanium helped to keep the watch pretty light despite of the large and sporty 44 mm case.
The Royal Oak Concept GMT Tourbillon’s hand-wound Calibre 2930 features a twin barrel delivering 237 hours - or nearly 10 days - of power reserve.
The GMT display at 3 o'clock provides an instant reading of the time in a second time-zone and can be adjusted by pressing the push piece at 4 o’clock. The indication of the second time-zone, based on 12 hours, uses two discs. The first, on which the figures are inscribed, completes one turn in 12 hours. The second, just below, completes a turn in 24 hours and has 2 coloured areas: a white half for daytime and a black half for night-time.
The Royal Oak Concept GMT Tourbillon also features a selection indicator mechanism. According to the position of the winding stem, the hand positioned on the dial at 6 o’clock indicates the function selected. The H, N and R indications correspond to the three positions of the winding stem, meaning time-setting, neutral and winding respectively.
The Royal Oak Concept GMT Tourbillon (ref. 26580IO OO D010CA SDT) is water resistant to 100 metres.