Everything You Need To Know About The Audemars Piguet x Tamara Ralph Collaboration

Lindsay Judge   |   20-03-2024

Swiss Haute Horlogerie manufacturer Audemars Piguet has joined forces with fashion powerhouse Tamara Ralph to create a limited edition iteration of the Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon.

As the highest level of watch craftsmanship combines with haute couture design, this style-focused timepiece celebrates bold femininity and boundless creativity with a timeless edge. 

The 18-carat pink gold watch shimmers with a frosted gold finish and takes on a unique palette of graded hues ranging from brown and bronze to golden tones. The Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon Tamara Ralph” Limited Edition debuted at the designers Spring/Summer 2024 show in Paris. 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, colours and designs, allowing for the savoir-faire of couture to shine through. Rich materials, unique colour palettes and ultimate precision are combined, creating an exquisite limited edition of the Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon, inspired by Haute Couture.” Said Tamara Ralph, who previously partnered with the brand in 2020. 

The watch showcases an 18-carat pink gold case adorned with Frosted Gold. This ancient Florentine jewellery technique was revisited by jewellery designer Carolina Bucci and adapted by Audemars Piguet artisans in 2016 to decorate the Manufactures timepieces. Tiny indentations are created on the gold surface with a diamond-tipped tool, giving a sparkle effect similar to that of precious stones. Its visual power is accentuated by the polished bevel outlining the octagonal bezel, while the cases satin-brushed flanks provide added contrast. The juxtaposition of finishing techniques—a meticulous operation which required perfect alignment between the hammered, brushed and polished surfaces—gives sumptuous texture to the case, while bestowing it with endless plays of light.

For its part, the casebacks glareproofed sapphire crystal is held in place by an 18-carat pink gold octagonal frame, finished with satin brushing and polished chamfers and engraved with Royal Oak Concept Limited Edition.” Lastly, the hexagonal crown, whose shape recalls the stainless steel screws punctuating the bezel, also plays with light thanks to its satin-brushed and polished finishing. Its translucent cabochon-cut sapphire adds yet another touch of feminine elegance to the case design.

Tamaras endless quest for perfection perfectly echoes our watchmakersdedication to pushing their craft to the limit. We are delighted to start 2024 in collaboration with such an inspiring woman and it is only the beginning!” Said Ilaria Resta, Audemar Piguets CEO. 

The multi-layered dial takes inspiration from the bold femininity and textured detailing of Tamara Ralphs Couture creations. It is composed of four overlapping circular pink gold plates, creating a ripple effect as they emanate from the flying tourbillon cage at 6 oclock. Each layer presents a different colour, evolving from brown in the centre to bronze in the middle, to reach golden tones towards the dials extremity. While the brown and golden colours have been achieved through galvanic treatment, the bronze layer is covered with bronze lacquer. The dial is finished with a continuous sunburst satin-finishing radiating from the hands outwards, in seamless alignment from one plate to the other.  Pushing details to the limit, each plate is adorned with a thin diamond-polished gold thread that adds depth to the dial.

Matching with the circular, multi-layered architecture of the dial, the flying tourbillon at 6 oclock merges technical mastery with a sophisticated aesthetic. The cages upper frame incorporates three rings radiating from a decentred disc paved with 19 brilliant-cut diamonds (~ 0.04 carats). Its pink-gold-toned hue echoes the 18-carat pink gold hour and minute hands, both filled with luminescent coating for optimum legibility in the dark. At 12 oclock, the applied pink gold AP monogram adds the final touch. Hour-markers have been left out to accentuate the purity and harmony of the dial design. 

The timepiece comes with a bronze-toned hand-stitched large square scale” alligator strap. It is also supplied with an additional brown alligator strap recalling the centre of the dial for a refined look. The two straps are decorated with a pearly finish adding subtle elegance and glamour. The timepieces glittering hues and intricate details will catch the eye from up close and afar, just like a Couture piece would.

Powered by the hand-wound Calibre 2964, this limited edition combines tradition with modernity. Its flying tourbillon, visible at 6 oclock, gives a glimpse of the mechanism pulsating within. This delicate, high-end complication counteracts the effects of gravity on a watchs accuracy. The balance wheel and escapement are mounted in a tiny rotating cage that completes a revolution every minute to prevent their centre of gravity from staying in the same orientation. Contrary to its tourbillon sibling, the flying tourbillon cage is only supported from below to leave the watchs beating heart unobscured on the dial side. It is considered today as a symbol of watchmaking art as only a few expert watchmakers retain the skills required for its production. 

Inspired by the dials circular, multi-layered aesthetic, the back bridges of the movement, which can be admired through the sapphire caseback, are decorated with five circles emanating from the back of the flying tourbillon cage while increasing in size as they progress towards the periphery. Their alternation of sandblasting and satin-brushing add texture and depth while subtly echoing the refined Frosted Gold finishing adorning the case. The sapphire caseback also reveals the sole bridge on which the flying tourbillon cage is fixed, while an additional opening discloses part of the geartrain. Design and movement development have merged once more to reach seamless harmony, inside and out; much like Couture.