The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Supersonnerie utilises an ever more familiar case shape from the Swiss powerhouse and updates the internal workings with something totally new, and totally awesome. What Audemars Piguet have focused on more than any other aspect of this watch, is the sound quality achieved by the sonnerie complication from which the piece takes its name. This is not the first watch Audemars Piguet have released in this vein. Back in 2014, they débuted the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Acoustic Research Episode 1 watch, which we reviewed on aBlogtoWatch (you can check out David Bredan’s detailed analysis here). With this Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Supersonnerie, ready for release just one year later, the brand feel they have produced a minute repeater of superior acoustic intensity with a supremely clear, sustained tone.
As with the first iteration of this project, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Supersonnerie places emphasis on sound quality and clarity. Traditionally, when a minute repeater strikes, a background whirring can be heard. This comes from a component called the governor, which is in constant operation during the chiming process. With this watch, this essential component runs in almost absolute silence, reducing the distraction from the chimes themselves. In fact, Audemars Piguet is so passionate about developing the perfect-sounding watch, they’ve filed three patents in the making of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Supersonnerie.
Audemars Piguet reference their chiming watches sound study programme which began way back in 2006. In collaboration with the EPFL (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne), Audemars Piguet invested heavily in sound-measurement facilities to assist their passionate team of watchmakers, artisans, technicians, and academics in their research. One of their major challenges was to overcome the noise diffusion caused by robust casing, which is necessary for a decent level of water resistance. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Supersonnerie is resistant to 20 meters, which is actually impressive given the adjustments that have to be made for this kind of watch.
When Audemars Piguet released the original version of this watch, they spent time consulting with “an esteemed academic of the Geneva conservatory” to ensure the sound was not just clear, but also pleasing to the ear. And it must be pointed out that the titanium case allows this sound to travel through its walls with much less resistance than other common watchmaking materials thanks to its lower density than gold and platinum.
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Supersonnerie watch is powered by a manual manufacture movement, known as the Calibre 2937. Considering its functions, it is surprisingly thin at 8.28mm. The watch operates at a steady 21,600vph, has 43 jewels, and 478 parts, with a minimal guaranteed power reserve 42 hours. The black ceramic screw-locked crown coordinates nicely with the black ceramic and titanium pushers used to operate the complication on demand. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Supersonnerie watch comes on a black rubber strap with a folding clasp in titanium. In addition to the stage-stealing sonnerie, the watch is also home to a tourbillon chronograph with central sweep-seconds hand and a 30-minute counter, which can be found at 3 o’clock. The minutes are indicated by a sweet, double-ended hand that rotates around its central axis and is read according to its coloured tips that correspond to the text on the dial.
I was already a fan of the Concept cases and their unique aesthetic, so that predisposes me favorably towards this watch to begin with. It seems likely that Audemars Piguet will continue to research this field and no doubt attempt to double-down on their efforts here. That being said, price for the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Supersonnerie is $597,400. audermaspiguet.com