Audemars Piguet is no stranger to tapping into the minds of creatives outside of watchmaking for design inspiration and collaboration; Travis Scott’s Cactus Jack, Mathew Williams’ 1017 ALYX 9SM, and Marvel’s Spider-Man are just a few of the names attached to some recent AP drops. For its most recent release, the Le Brassus-based watchmaker turned to haute couture designer Tamara Ralph. Together, they unveiled the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon “Tamara Ralph” Limited-Edition watch at the designer’s runway show during Haute Couture Fashion Week in Paris. Merging the ultra-exclusive worlds of haute couture and haute horlogerie, this new iteration takes the design of the Royal Oak Concept Frosted Gold Flying Tourbillon and dresses it up in a delicious palette of shimmery pink, metallic bronze, and warm brown.

If you’re unacquainted with Tamra Ralph, she is one of the most celebrated couturières in her field and has dressed some of the world’s most famous (and wealthiest) women in her coveted custom-fitted creations (which can easily cost hundreds of thousands of dollars). Audemars Piguet’s partnership with Tamara Ralph began in 2020 when it supplied watches — including the original Royal Oak Concept Frosted Gold Flying Tourbillon pieces — for her Spring/Summer 2021 Prêt-à-Porter collection. This time around, the fashion designer not only lent her name to the Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon ‘Tamara Ralph’ watch but also had creative input on its design. Commenting on the collaboration, Tamara Ralph said, “My intention for the design of this piece is for it to capture the spirit and craftsmanship of both my brand as well as Audemars Piguet. The complications of watchmaking orchestrate a foundation which can be played with in terms of textures, colors and designs, allowing for the savoir faire of couture to shine through.”

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As you may already know, the Royal Oak Concept case debuted in 2002 as a futuristic execution of the classic Royal Oak silhouette, pairing a dramatic curved profile and faceted details with the familiar octagonal bezel. The first women’s Royal Oak Concept was added to the lineup in 2018, which was the brand’s first flying tourbillon. Two years later, the Frosted Gold variants joined the women’s RO Concept collection.

The new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept ‘Tamara Ralph’ Limited-Edition watch carries on the Frosted Gold and flying tourbillon combination but in a fresh colorway. The watch sports a 38.5mm wide pink gold case that’s 11.9mm thick. The upper surfaces of the bezel and case feature AP’s Frosted Gold finish, characterized by tiny and repetitive indentations to create a glistening surface that almost looks like diamonds. This shimmery texture contrasts beautifully with the polished sides of the bezel and the satin-brushed case flanks while the steel hexagonal screws nestled into the pink-hued metal add a subtle two-tone touch. The six-sided winding crown, similar in shape to the screws, is set with a translucent cabochon-cut sapphire.

The multi-layered dial, which Audemars Piguet says is inspired by “the bold femininity and textured detailing of Tamara Ralph’s Couture creations,” is home to four overlapping circular pink gold plates. The ripple-effect design is enhanced by the four different shades of the plates, evolving from brown at the center to bronze to golden hues, each benefitting from a sunburst satin finish. The bronze plate is covered in bronze lacquer while the other colors are a result of galvanic treatment. What’s more, each ring is framed with a thin diamond-polished gold thread, emphasizing the depth of the dial. If that weren’t enough, there’s also the flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock, also featuring a multi-ring design and (no surprises here) embellished with diamonds — 19 brilliant-cut diamonds to be exact. Finally, there are the pink gold hour and minute hands, both with luminous coating for in-the-dark reading and an applied AP logo at 12 o’clock. Two pearly-finished alligator straps are supplied with the watch; a bronzed-tone one and a brown one, while the AP folding clasp is of course, fashioned from 18k pink gold to match the case.

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Inside the case, and visible via the sapphire caseback, is Caliber 2964. This hand-wound movement supplies the watch with a minimum of 72 hours of power reserve and beating at a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour. Audemars Piguet applies the multi-layered circular motif yet again here, where the movement’s back bridges are decorated with five progressively larger circles radiating from the back of the flying tourbillon cage. There are alternating sandblasted and satin-brushed finishes while well-placed apertures offer partial views of the gear train and tourbillon bridge.

With its myriad of colors, textures, and shapes — all of which have both contrasting and matching elements — this AP x Tamara Ralph collaboration is a winner in my book (at least from the photos.) “Fashion” has long been a dirty word in some watch enthusiast circles but if an injection of fashion yields results like these, then perhaps it’s time to rethink that tired attitude. The high-end women’s watch space can certainly benefit from more creativity, so why not look to designers like Tamara Ralph who make it their business to create pieces that many women would consider wardrobe grails. The new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept ‘Tamara Ralph’ is limited to 102 pieces and is priced at $203,800 USD. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.

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