The Purple Avenger: Introducing Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak Concept Black Panther Flying TourbillonBy Israel Ortega
This Saturday, Audemars Piguet unveiled the super-powerful new collaboration between the Le Brassus Maison and entertainment giant Marvel. François-Henry Bennhamias, CEO of Audemars Piguet, and comedian Kevin Hart hosted the purple-themed event centered around the debut of this limited-edition timepiece and a unique, white gold piece that was to be auctioned during the event.
An important part of the celebration was the philanthropic cause that AP supported. Proceeds from the auction will go to the joint program that Audemars Piguet has established with two non-profit organizations, First Book and Ashoka. The program aims to provide students from low-income communities, ages 10-18, with the resources that will help improve their social environments.
Before showcasing the Marvel watch, Bennhamias recalled that the original inspiration to give shape and life to this collaboration was Gérald Genta’s timepieces with Mickey Mouse motifs, which emerged in the 1970s. Still, it was not until recent times —and after his encounter with actor Don Cheadle, who is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in his role as James Rhodes / War Machine— that the collaboration with Marvel began to take shape.
Michael Friedman, director of complications and legacy for AP, was commissioned to present the piece’s characteristics. The limited-production version of the Audemars Piguet X Marvel Royal Oak Concept Black Panther Flying Tourbillon —restricted to 250 pieces— is presented in a 42mm titanium case with a black ceramic bezel. Like all AP concept watches, the creation shows a fine-tuned style at its ends, with more curved lines, protruding crown protectors, grooved lugs, and a brushed finish, giving a technical but highly dynamic look to the modernized shapes of this Royal Oak Concept.
On its white gold dial, the watch shows its flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock, with central, luminescent white gold hands. A purple flange with white numerals highlights the dial. Of course, the colorful horological spectacle is rounded by the watch’s central motif: the prominent effigy of the “protector of Wakanda”, Black Panther, is presented in a very detailed, hand-painted white gold figurine that encompasses the almost the entire dial. Inside, the manual caliber 2965 beats at 3 hertz and offers a power reserve of 72 hours. A purple rubber strap further enhances the watch’s aesthetic “hi-tech” style.
For the auctioned version, the Royal Oak Concept Black Panther Flying Tourbillon was entirely made in white gold —case and bezel—, all of it profusely engraved by in-house craftsmen in an effort that took about 30 hours. A custom textured strap rounded out the overall look of the one-of-a-kind piece.
And how did the auction go? Ah, you can imagine that the bidding was a fierce “Endgame”-like battle between lots of interested parties from around the world, with competing bids leaping hundreds of thousands of dollars at a time. The bidding started at $100,000, and within a minute it had already reached a million bucks. The bidding war was starred by collectors from China and the UAE, with peeks coming from Russia and Germany. The Royal Oak Concept Black Panther Flying Tourbillon watch’s final price was… a cool USD 5,200,000!, which confirms that this collaborative idea between AP and Marvel will probably have a superlative future —maybe even more powerful than Thanos wearing the gauntlet with the Six Infinity Gems. “Yibambe!”
Royal Oak Concept Black Panther Flying Tourbillon
MOVEMENT mechanical hand-wound cal. 2695; hours and minutes; flying tourbillon; 21,600 bph; 72-hour power reserve
PRICE 150,000 CHF
CASE, LIMITED EDITION screwed-down titanium case with ceramic bezel and crown, 42mm, sapphire case back, 50-meter water resistance
CASE, AUCTIONED UNIQUE PIECE screwed-down and engraved 18K white gold case with ceramic crown, 42mm, sapphire case back, 50-meter water resistance
DIAL white gold, hand made Black Panther figurine, purple flange, white gold hands and indexes
STRAP purple rubber with titanium folding clasp (in white gold for the Unique Piece); an additional rubbed strap is included