What’s left of the “dial” is essentially a satin-brushed, ruthenium-toned ring round the border and the two anthracite sub-dials. There’s a rehaut printed with a minute chapter ring too. In my experience, legibility is not the strongest suit to get a skeletonized watch, but that’s less of an issue in the case of the watch. The use of pink gold applied hour markers and pink gold baton-shaped hands, both full of lume, should offer adequate legibility in most light conditions. The “Audemars Piguet” logo is printed on the surface of the sapphire crystal on the front, and this gives it a pleasant floating effect.The sub-dials are simple with white printed white and text baton-shaped hands. The sub-dial in 3:00 indicates chronograph minutes and the one at 9:00 shows constant moments. One possible issue with legibility has to do with the chronograph seconds hand, which is black with a lumed white tip. Between how thin the hand is and the colour, reading the chronograph elapsed time may be more awkward than individuals may like. It’s not easy to say for sure until we get our hands on a physical case of the watch.I’ve abandoned the case and bracelet description for the last because these are some of the most recognizable areas of the watch. This is the exact same Gerald Genta layout that’s so popular among many collectors but with 44mm by 13.2mm case measurements. This is a somewhat large watch with a wide bezel on both the front and back. Each of the right lines and sharp angles also give it a bigger look. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Tourbillon Chronograph is offered in two case substances — titanium and rose gold. There will be the obvious visual differences in both materials but what I find more interesting is that ceramic is generally a light material with high tensile strength, while gold is a dense but soft material. This signifies is that the expertise of wearing each variant should be substantially different, and I personally find this interesting.
Audemars Piguet introduced the Royal Oak Frosted Gold last year to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the first ladies’ Royal Oak, yet the watch garnered significant attention from a male audience despite being aimed squarely at women. In fact, at SIHH earlier this year, AP boss Francois-Henry Bennahmias was wearing a prototype men’s Royal Oak ref. 15400 with the same frosted gold finish. As anticipated, the prototype has made it into production – in a limited edition, no less.
That “frosted” decoration is the result of a collaboration between the Le Brassus watchmaker and Florentine jeweller Carolina Bucci, whose signature technique involves hammering gold with a diamond-tipped tool to create minute indentations on the surface. The result is a fine, tactile and sparkly finish – a decidedly modern approach that mimics the look of gem-encrustation without the jewels.
Understandably, applying this jewellery technique to the angular lines of the Gérald Genta-design came with its challenges. The team had to ensure that the finishing would neither alter the clean lines of the hallmark octagonal bezel nor the fluidity of the bracelet. Consequently, the finishing has to be applied by hand to individual components one at a time. In effect, this hand-finishing technique ensures that each watch is different.
The Frosted Gold watches were originally only available in 33m and 37mm versions for ladies, which were equipped with a quartz calibre and the automatic cal. 3120 respectively. Now the 41mm Frosted Gold for men is powered by the in-house cal. 3120 automatic. It is available only in white gold with a blue “Grande Tapisserie” dial.
Price and Availability
The Royal Oak Frosted Gold for men (ref. 15410BC.GG.1224BC.01) is a limited edition of 200 pieces, and is priced at US$55,000.