As we’ve witnessed at SIHH two weeks ago, 2014 is most definitely the year of the Royal Oak Offshore for Audemars Piguet. We saw the iconic 42mm Royal Oak Offshore get a light but significant facelift, but perhaps the biggest surprise was the white ceramic and the sheer abundance of the stuff. There was a 44mm Offshore and Offshore Diver made entirely of the stuff, but the best execution of this new material (for Audemars Piguet anyways) has to be the Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon GMT.


Whenever I think of white ceramic in watches, I think of ladies’ pieces à la Chanel J12. It’s hard to picture it as masculine material choice on a watch. But that’s exactly where Audemars Piguet have gotten it absolutely right. The Royal Oak Concept line has always been an experimental platform for trying out different materials and combinations, as first seen on the first Royal Oak Concept from a decade ago, crafted from the space-age alloy “Alacrite 602”. While this latest Royal Oak Concept may is more of an aesthetic variation rather than a technical innovation, the end result is positively surprising.


Compared to just about every other brand’s white ceramic offerings, Audemars Piguet’s is probably the most attractive I’ve come across thus far. It doesn’t have that vitreous, porcelain-like look to, and this is mostly likely due to its matte finish. It could also be a result of Audemars Piguet’s own composition for the material. According to the Audemars Piguet rep that showed me the piece, this composition also makes the white ceramic a harder material than their black ceramic.


While I’m not the biggest fan of all-white watches, I find that the touches of white ceramic on both the case and the movement to contrast perfectly against the faceted, satin-brushed and matte sandblasted Titanium case. It really has to be seen in the metal (and zirconium oxide) to be believed.


The Calibre 2930 tourbillon GMT movement is basically the same as the Calibre 2913 from the previous black ceramic Roayl Oak Concept GMT Tourbillon, except for the white upper bridge.


While I don’t expect this this to be the most sought-after Royal Oak Concept ever, I do think it pushes the boundaries for Audemars Piguet; even if only in cosmetics. Price should be around as much as the black ceramic Royal Oak Concept GMT Tourbillon, which is in the 200’000 CHF price range.

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