Having devised the granular Frosted Gold finish that’s now found on several Royal Oak models, Italian jewellery designer Carolina Bucci has teamed up once again with Audemars Piguet, but on a collaboration that goes in an entirely different direction.
This time it’s all about contemporary materials and aesthetics with the Royal Oak Selfwinding Carolina Bucci Limited Edition 34 mm in black ceramic with an iridescent, laser-engraved sapphire dial and a generous dose of pink gold accents.
Though the Royal Oak has an unmistakable identity, Ms Bucci has proven that the iconic octagonal design can be a canvas for something different. Her latest creation proves that remains true.
Although this is merely a new dial, the execution is novel enough to be interesting. The dial isn’t traditional in either technique or materials – the dial is ultra-modern in fact – yet still preserves the classic Royal Oak aesthetic with a chequerboard pattern that evokes its signature tapisserie guilloche.
Pairing the iridescent dial with the muted black ceramic case makes the watch even more striking, resulting in an eye-catching aesthetic despite the moderate case of just 34 mm.
Still, its modernity in both style and techniques means it could be criticised as a gimmick. But that is too harsh. It’s less timeless than a traditional Royal Oak, but still a timeless design. And it is definitely chic.
The watch was born of Ms Bucci’s appreciation of rainbows in obscure places.
“I wanted to place a rainbow in the most unexpected of places, a little like when you see oil floating on a puddle in a city street,” says Ms Bucci, “So here you have every colour of the spectrum on a canvas that is completely black, which is itself the absence of colour.”
Her idea was realised with a two-part dial comprising a clear sapphire disc over a black-coated, mirror-polished brass blank below.
The rainbow finish is a result of the treatment applied to the sapphire disc, which is engraved with tiny squares and then cover with a thin film of gold via a metallisation technique. The sapphire disc then refracts incident light, splitting the beam into its constituent colours, much like how a prism creates a rainbow effect.
Interestingly, the dial turns entirely black at certain angles since the brass disc underneath is all black, creating a dramatic contrast in the appearance of the watch, an effect that’s impossible to achieve with a traditional tapisserie dial .
Inside the watch is the cal. 5800, a compact movement that’s supplied by Vaucher, the movement maker that’s a sister company of Parmigiani. In typical Vaucher style, the movement is smartly constructed and appealing finished, albeit in an industrial manner, though it is livened up by a 22k gold rotor.
Key facts and price
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding Carolina Bucci Limited Edition 34 mm
Diameter: 34 mm
Height: 8.8 mm
Material: Black ceramic with 18k pink gold screws and titanium caseback
Water-resistance: 50 m
Movement: Cal. 5800
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, and date
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 50 hours
Strap: Black ceramic bracelet
Limited edition: 300 pieces
Availability: At boutiques and AP Houses
Price: US$54,200; or 78,300 Singapore dollars
For more, visit audemarspiguet.com.
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