Watches: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept GMT Tourbillon (+live pics)

By Thierry Ané on March 10, 2014

The SIHH 2014 will remain as an exceptional vintage for all the fans of Gerald Genta’s iconic octagonal design. It is mainly through its sportier form, the Royal Oak Offshore that is, that Audemars Piguet’s team showed off its creativity. We witnessed the introduction of an entirely revamped Offshore 42 mm collectionWatches: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore 42 mm 2014 Collection (+live pics) and the presentation of two contrasting 44 mm models in ceramicWatches: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore 44mm Black & White Ceramic (+live pics). The Le Brassus-based manufacture also launched an immaculate Diver modelWatches: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver White Ceramic (+live pics) and a breathtaking version of the Offshore Tourbillon ChronographWatches: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph Platinum.

But there is another model, belonging to the usually more refined Royal Oak collection that is directly aimed at the hardcore “Offshore” aficionados: the Royal Oak Concept. Since 2002, Audemars Piguet has been using this model as an experimental platform for new materials and functions, turning it into an avant-garde statement piece as cutting-edge as any ‘Offshore” model.

The last iteration of this enduring series, the Royal Oak Concept GMT Tourbillon Black Ceramic and Titanium, was unveiled in 2011 and this year the brand reveals yet another sequel to this innovative line with the Royal Oak Concept GMT Tourbillon White Ceramic and Titanium.

Put like this, it does not seem much of a revolution: merely a change of colour! But names can be very deceiving and there is obviously more to it than a trivial relooking. The watch uses the same satin-brushed and matte sandblasted lightweight titanium case as its predecessor. The bezel, crown and pusher, however, are now crafted in matte-finished white ceramic. Much harder than its black counterpart, this ceramic is also more difficult to work with.

It would not have been an impressive achievement though if Audemars Piguet had not spiced up things by inserting this white ceramic directly into the movement! On the previous black ceramic version, the hourglass-shaped upper bridge visible on the openwork face of the watch was crafted in black anodized aluminium. On the white ceramic model, however, it is made from white ceramic just like the bezel, the crown and the push-piece. Due to this technical feat, the calibre previously named AP 2913 now becomes the AP 2930 movement.

This new movement beats at 21,600 vibrations per hour and offers the same impressive 10-day power reserve as the previous version thanks to its twin barrels. It features a one-minute tourbillon at 9 o’clock and a second time zone function at the 3 o’clock position. The indication is made by way of two superimposed discs. The first one, engraved with the numerals, completes one full rotation every 12 hours while the second one, dual-toned for day-night indication, rotates in 24 hours. This second time zone is adjusted by the push-piece at 4 o’clock. Lastly, this high-end movement also features a very useful function indication (time-setting “H”, neutral “N” or winding “R”).

The watch is delivered on a white rubber strap secured by a titanium folding buckle. Like the Offshore Diver and the Offshore 44mm, I thing that the white ceramic looks absolutely stunning on a men’s watch and very masculine as well (mainly due to its matte finish). A really great watch that I would love to add to my AP collection…

For a technical description of the timepiece and additional pictures: