12 February 2024


By In Audemars Piguet, General

Recently, Audemars Piguet has launched a series of collaborations with designers, artists, musicians and actors to design special editions of its watches. Among them, the latest announcement results to be the launch of a collaboration with Australian haute couture designer Tamara Ralph, which resulted in the AP Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon “Tamara Ralph” Limited-Edition, firstly showed at the designer’s runway show during Spring/Summer Haute Couture Fashion Week in Paris. Audemars Piguet’s partnership with Tamara Ralph began in 2020 when the Swiss brand supplied watches – including the first Royal Oak Concept Frosted Gold Flying Tourbillon pieces – for her Spring/Summer 2021 Prêt-à-Porter collection.

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.

Tamara Ralph
Tamara Ralph with the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon on the wrist
Tamara Ralph with the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon on the wrist – Photo courtesy of Tamara Ralph

The new Royal Oak Concept, specifically designed for women, conveys a new design for the – now very famous – Royal Oak Concept case, which debuted in 2002, and maintains its distinctive silhouette, with a dramatic curved profile and faceted surfaces with the familiar octagonal bezel. The freshly launched model is characterized by the use of frosted gold paired with an exquisite diamond flying tourbillon. Moreover, the watch sports a 38.5mm wide pink gold case that’s 11.9mm thick, an important size for women, functional in making the watch a statement by itself, “boldly feminine” as said by Audemars Piguet. The upper surfaces of the bezel and case feature AP’s Frosted Gold finish, characterized by tiny and repetitive indentations from the use of a diamond tipped tool to create a glistening surface that almost looks like diamonds. The hammered surface is not only appealing to the eye and touch, but it is also extremely hard-wearing and resilient to scratches.

Audemars Piguet Roya Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon ref. 26630ORfront picture
Audemars Piguet Roya Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon ref. 26630OR – Photo courtesy of Audemars Piguet

The contrast between the shimmery texture of the case and the polished sides of the bezel gives the watch a signature appearance 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 cabochon sapphire in its tip, a further sign of feminine elegance. The most distinctive and notable part of the watch is undoubtedly the multi-layered dial composed of four overlapping gold plated in different shades evolving from brown at the center to bronze to golden hues, each covered by a sunburst satin finish, giving a sense of tri-dimensionality.

Audemars Piguet Roya Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon ref. 26630OR detail of the dial and the tourbillon
Audemars Piguet Roya Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon ref. 26630OR – Photo courtesy of Audemars Piguet

The bronze plate is covered in bronze lacquer while the other plates are a result of a galvanic treatment. What’s more, each ring is framed with a thin diamond-polished gold thread, aimed at furtherly emphasizing the depth of the dial. As mentioned before, 19 diamonds are used to decorate the flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock, which features a multi-ring design. It is worth mentioning the design of the two off centered pink gold hands, both with luminous coating and an applied yellow gold AP logo at twelve o’clock, which visually balances the tourbillon, and the absence of hour markers. 

Given the sporty look of the watch, the two alligator straps supplied with the watch – a bronze one and a brown one – are particularly appropriate and pair beautifully with the folding clasp in 18k pink gold, which perfectly matches the case. The transparent case back is aesthetically very pleasing and shows the hand wound Caliber 2964, which supplies a minimum of 72 hours of power reserve and beats at a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour. Mirroring the layout of the dial, the bridges are decorated with a series of circles departing from the flying tourbillon cage, progressively increasing in size. The apertures reveal the sole bridge on which the flying tourbillon cage is fixed and parts of the gear train.

The new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept ‘Tamara Ralph’ is produced in only 102 pieces, with an upon request price, albeit rumored to be slightly above 200.000 CHF.

Audemars Piguet Roya Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon ref. 26630OR - Photo courtesy of Audemars Piguet
Audemars Piguet Roya Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon ref. 26630OR – Photo courtesy of Audemars Piguet

Despite not being the first limited edition Audemars designed for women, notable examples being the models designed with Carolina Bucci and Serena Williams, and definitely not the first collaboration between the Swiss brand and a prominent designer (Bucci, for example, was the jeweler which firstly used the frosted gold in 2016), this new Royal Oak Concept rapidly caught the eye of the sector due to the wonderful reinterpretation of the, now classic, model. The use of the frosted gold is particularly remarkable thanks to the use of the different shades of gold both in the dial and the case, perfectly matching with the two straps supplied. The tourbillon, moreover, combines the technical skills so important for Audemars with the use of diamonds, which make the look of the watch even more elegant and precious.

This collaboration is also very significant because it was designed by a woman, established and successful in her own sector, for women and combines jewellery aspects, like the use of diamonds and the frosted gold itself, with remarkable technical solutions, thus creating a piece able to gain a broad interest between female collectors.

Written by Aurora Patti

Born in 1997, working in corporate but with a neverending love for the world of watchmaking.