The worlds of horlogerie and couture are far greater entwined than often perceived – from a distinct emphasis on technical specificity, meticulous artisanship as well as the utilisation of first-rate materials, both worlds exhibit an all-encompassing artistry. The alliance between Swiss watchmaking stalwart Audemars Piguet and luxury designer Tamara Ralph is a reflection of this shared artistry where a striking reinterpretation of the signature Royal Oak was conceived. An opus of bold femininity, the limited edition timepiece made its debut at the recent Spring/Summer 2024 Haute Couture Fashion Week.
With a penchant for accenting the power of creativity, Audemars Piguet has always sought inspiration from the world at large. Consequently, this paved the way for creative dialogues across disciplines, including that of haute couture. The Maison’s partnership with Tamara Ralph in 2020 when its watches were paired with her Spring/Summer 2021 Prêt-à-Porter collection. This year, their relationship perdures with the Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon, an exclusive piece with veins of Ralph’s couture universe.
A thoughtful nod to the spirit and mastery of both brands, the watch seamlessly fuses ancestral mastery with contemporary techniques, earning a coveted spot in the realm of watchmaking. Ralph, a fourth-generation couturier who has established herself as an eminent female creative director, joint hands with Audemars to design a timepiece marvel that flaunts intricate details, textures and hues, in ideal amounts. Featuring an 18-carat pink gold case adorned with Frosted Gold that stems from a time-honoured Florentine jewellery technique, the Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon “Tamara Ralph” watch’s case holds minute indentations carved with diamond-tipped tool that offers it an exterior akin to a gem.
An exemplar of peerless craft and sophistication, the watch possesses a multi-layered dial constructed from four overlapping circular pink-gold plates which as they emerge from the flying tourbillon cage at 6 o’clock, produce a stunning ripple effect. In harmony with the multi-layered architecture of the dial, the frame’s upper cage melds the three rings beaming from a disc with 19 stellar-cut 0.04 carat diamonds.
The subtle exclusion of the hour markers amplifies the pure aesthetic of the dial design while the applied pink gold-toned AP monogram at 12 o’clock grants a simple finishing touch. The limited-edition timepiece comes with two hand-stitched alligator straps – one in bronze and the other in chestnut – adorned with a pearl-like polish to emulate couture designs.
In a press release, Anne-Gaëlle Quinet, the Maison’s Head of Complications, acknowledged “the flying tourbillon, whose lightness, precision and elegance merge with a quality of execution” – all qualities that the timepiece symbolises. The sheer exquisiteness of the Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon attests the endless possibilities that arise from the union of watchmaking and couture.
Limited to 102 pieces, the Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon “Tamara Ralph” edition is now open for enquiry online.
Images by Audemars Piguet.