Haute Couture Meets Haute Horlogerie: Audemars Piguet and Tamara Ralph
A bold yet elegant Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon
Le Brassus watchmaker Audemars Piguet has always been a forward-looking innovator while preserving the essence of traditional haute horlogerie. Staying attuned to the evolving world of culture and fashion, it frequently collaborates with a diverse roster of influential artists. The brand’s latest creation is a striking yet classically elegant watch, the Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon “Tamara Ralph.”
A partnership formed in 2020, fashion designer Tamara Ralph has been pairing her collections with timepieces from Audemars Piguet. This fruitful collaboration has culminated in a special edition designed by Ralph herself, creating one of the boldest yet undeniably elegant women’s watches ever made. It features several defining elements, such as a large, frosted gold case and a four-stepped dial.
When the Royal Oak Concept (ROC) Flying Tourbillon debuted in 2020, it defied expectations with its unique design. Historically, the ROC lineup has been a platform for avant-garde watchmaking, prioritizing bold statements over traditional elegance. However, the ROC Flying Tourbillon challenged this perception. Despite its large case, the watch’s dramatic curves and signature frosted finish, blending seamlessly with polished and brushed surfaces, exude a surprising elegance. This combination resurfaces in the Tamara Ralph edition.
Moreover, the ROC Flying Tourbillon departs from the brand’s usual dial patterns, embracing a new design language centered on repeating concentric circles emanating from the tourbillon at six o’clock. The dial’s multi-layered construction further enhances its visual impact, evoking the grandeur of an ancient theater. Once again, this feature remains in the Tamara Ralph edition.
The key difference between this collaboration and the 2020 model lies in the color scheme. Previously, the ROC Flying Tourbillon featured contrasting colors like a blue dial against a pink or white gold case. This iteration embraces a unified golden theme, showcasing various shades on the dial that complement the case and strap, both rendered in the same hue. This cohesive approach creates a more elegant and feminine look, subtly toning down the boldness while achieving a balanced blend of masculine and feminine aesthetics.
Though it boasts an avant-garde aesthetic, the Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon “Tamara Ralph” remains a traditional timepiece at its core. Its heart lies in the hand-wound cal. 2964, a modern movement offering a respectable 72-hour power reserve.
However, this movement goes beyond modernity. Notably, compared to some previous AP tourbillon movements, the cal. 2964 showcases superior design. Crucially, the six o’clock aperture avoids obscuring the tourbillon cage with motion work gears, allowing it to shine in its full glory, further enhanced by its sparkling diamonds.
The movement’s backside echoes the dial’s forward-thinking design with strong, clean concentric lines. Additionally, the relief-decorated plates contribute to the watch’s depth, mirroring the four-stepped dial’s unique character.
The ROC Flying Tourbillon has been a well-designed watch since its inception, earning its high starting point. Perhaps it’s best to maintain that excellence, avoiding changes that could diminish its appeal. Designer Tamara Ralph, with her keen eye and understanding of this principle, has implemented subtle yet impactful modifications.
The latest version exhibits a clear sense of coherence and elegance, thanks to the unification of color throughout the design. For women seeking a beautiful and confidence-enhancing watch, this could be a fantastic option. However, it’s important to view it on its own merits, rather than solely through the lens of the collaboration.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon “Tamara Ralph”
Movement: Cal. 2964; manual; 72 hours power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, and tourbillon
Case: 38.5 x 11.9 mm; 18k pink gold; water resistant to 20 m
Strap: Alligator strap with 18k gold folding clasp
Availability: Only at AP Houses and boutiques
Limited edition: 150 pieces
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FROM THE SHOP
|Manual winding Sellita caliber AMT5100, with rose gold plating and custom bridge for Furlan Marri; 58-hour power reserve; heated blued steel screws
|Hours, minutes, small seconds and flyback chronograph
|38mm (46mm from lug to lug); stainless steel with olive-shaped pushers for Honey Blue flyback, Taupe flyback and Tasti Tondi pushers for Salmon flyback; water resistant to 50m
|Taupe, blue, or two-tone salmon and black (Revolution edition); double printed text with pulsations scale, polished applied indexes
|Italian leather with quick release system
|270 pieces per reference + 30 collector boxes (including one of each references) in addition.