Introducing the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon “Spider-Man”
Your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man takes a trip to Le Brassus.
In retrospect, it’s perhaps surprising that Spider-Man wasn’t the first cab off the rank for the AP x Marvel collaborative series; he is, along with Iron Man and the more regionally specific Captain America, one of the A-list superheroes. But at the time of the initial release, the Wakandan king was the prime focus of the MCU movie-making machine and hit a cultural nerve, so it makes sense. Following that same rationale, Spider-Man is the logical choice for 2023, as Spider-Man: Across the Spiderverse is hitting the big screen in June, and the synergy between the releases from Le Brassus and Hollywood is hardly coincidental.
Now, onto the watch itself. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon “Spider-Man” is limited to 250 pieces, alongside a unique piece called the Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon “Black Suit Spider-Man”. The regular version is housed in the same 42mm titanium RO Concept case, with an exceptionally well-sculpted Spider-Man front and centre, thanks to the barely-there (and brand new) calibre 2948, an open-worked movement that does all it can not to steal the show from Spidey, despite the beautifully finished tourbillon doing its thing at the bottom of the dial.
For all that, the case is impressive, and the new calibre is a technical marvel; it’s the Marvel character that your eyes are drawn to. The pose and positioning of Peter Parker is superb. There’s foreshortening and a sense of depth that goes well beyond what you think should be possible in the narrow confines of a watch case. The web-slingers hand seemingly jumps out of the dial, drawing you up to Spidey’s head which, naturally, dominates the 12 o’clock position. and his legs flick out towards nine, ensuring a vertical and horizontal balance, which, coupled with the tourbillon, makes the composition and layout of this unconventional open-work dial very effective and compelling.
In terms of construction, this miniature Spider-Man took no less than 50 hours of work, the initial form CNC-cut from a block of white gold. Then, the bottom half of the figure was laser-engraved to achieve a textile-like finish. Then hand-engraving takes over, with a single engraver adding in fine details, such as the iconic web pattern. Painting is the next stage in the process, with great skill being required to accentuate the illusion of the character leaping out of the case. Of course, the eyes are filled with luminous material, as are the hands and exterior hour markers. The straps are noteworthy, too, as for the first time, the RO Concept case comes with an interchangeable strap system, so you can easily swap between the included black and grey or black and red rubber straps.
The unique piece comes in a white gold case and features a Spider-Man clad in black. This watch will be auctioned off, with proceeds going to support young people. As CEO François-Henry Bennahmias poetically put it, “For this second collaboration with Marvel, we want to pay tribute to Spider-Man, one of the most popular Super Heroes in the Marvel universe, who is aware that with great power there must also come great responsibility. And, to mark the occasion, we are pleased to reiterate our commitment to First Book and Ashoka’s work to empower young people to become agents of change; they are our real-life heroes.”
Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon “Spider-Man”
Movement: Hand-wound Calibre 2974, 72 hours of power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, tourbillon
Case: Titanium, 42mm x 15mm, black ceramic bezel, water-resistant to 50M
Strap: Black and grey rubber strap with interchangeable system and AP folding clasp. Additional black and red rubber strap.
Availability: Limited to 250 pieces
MORE STORIES ABOUT AUDEMARS PIGUET
|Movement||Self-winding caliber A-500; 60 hours power reserve|
|Functions||Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph and date|
|Case||42.5mm; titanium; water resistant to 30m|
|Dial||Salmon (6N gold plated) with gené or frosted area; Super-LumiNova filled Arabic numerals|
|Strap||Ballistic gray rubber; titanium folding clasp|