Two years ago, Audemars Piguet (AP) introduced the Royal Oak Concept “Black Panther”, a watch that caused a stir, to put it mildly. While the comics-and-complications combination was unorthodox, the watch was a commercial success.
Now AP is following up – as promised – with its second Marvel collaboration, the Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon “Spider-Man”. Like its predecessor, it has a miniature sculpture of the superhero as the dial and it is once again again a Royal Oak Concept, but now powered by a new calibre.
And the Royal Oak Spider-Man watch also continues the charitable tradition started by its predecessor. A unique version of the new watch, the Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon “Black Suit Spider-Man” that depicts a black-and-silver superhero, will be sold at auction to benefit First Book and Ashoka, a pair of charities that bring education to disadvantaged youth.
In some ways, the Royal Oak Black Panther did not look serious enough for such an expensive watch; it was perhaps too purple. While its aesthetics were subjective, it was certainly well executed. The miniature sculpture was done well in both detail, colour, and form.
The same holds true for the Royal Oak Spider-Man, but it is an altogether more attractive watch. For one, it is less purple and more monochromatic, with much of the watch being black and white, leaving only the superhero figure to convey colour. And the figure itself is better positioned in that it allows more of the movement to be visible, in particular the large, arched tourbillon bridge.
The Spider-Man will probably get a lot of flak, simply because it is what it is. But it is more appealing than its predecessor.
Friendly neighbourhood superhero
The Spider-Man figure was created much like its Black Panther equivalent. According to AP, the process of producing each figure requires some 50 hours of work.
First a rough blank is milled from a block of gold in a CNC machine, then etched with laser to create the fine texturing on the suit.
Next is craftsmanship – the details on the upper body of the figure are engraved and refined by the hand of a single artisan. It’s followed by hand painting to create Spider-Man’s trademark blue-and-red outfit.
Behind the figure sit the open-worked bridges that are arching, angular, and facetted. Around them are the hour markers, which are black-coated white gold, as are the hands.
The Spider-Man utilises the latest version of the Royal Oak Concept case, which remains large and chunky but more wearable than earlier generations. It’s 42 mm in diameter and 15 mm thick, but with shorter lugs and a curved profile. And like latest Royal Oak models, the Spider-Man features a quick-release mechanism for the strap, explaining why it is delivered with a pair of straps.
Made of titanium, the case is matched with a bezel and crown in black ceramic. Being a Royal Oak, all surfaces, be they titanium or ceramic, are finished to a high level with a mix of brushed, polished, and frosted finishing.
Inside is the cal. 2974, a new, hand-wind movement derived from the cal. 2948 found in the Code 11.59 Tourbillon Openworked.
This calibre is different from that in the Black Panther in a crucial aspect: the tourbillon has a full bridge, instead of being a flying tourbillon as in the Black Panther.
Key facts and price
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon “Spider-Man” 42 mm
Diameter: 42 mm
Height: 15 mm
Dial: Hand-painted Spider-Man figure in 18k white gold
Water-resistance: 50 m
Movement: Cal. 2974
Functions: Hours, minutes, and tourbillon regulator
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 72 hours
Strap: Black and grey rubber strap with titanium folding clasp, and additional black and red rubber strap
Limited edition: 250 pieces
Availability: At AP boutiques and AP houses
Price: CHF195,000 before taxes
For more information, visit Audemarspiguet.com.