As Serena Williams retires, we remember how she wore the hell out of an Audemars Piguet Black Panther As Serena Williams retires, we remember how she wore the hell out of an Audemars Piguet Black Panther

As Serena Williams retires, we remember how she wore the hell out of an Audemars Piguet Black Panther

Zach Blass

Editor’s Note: Serena Williams is one of the greatest athletes of all time – she has 23 grand slam singles titles to prove it. But last night, she announced that she is retiring from professional tennis and (probably) stepping away after the upcoming US Open.  In a column for Vogue, the 40-year-old wrote: “Maybe the best word to describe what I’m up to is evolution. I’m here to tell you that I’m evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me.”  Aside from being an on-court phenomenon, Serena has also long been a brand ambassador for Audemars Piguet. So to honour this unique talent in T+T’s customary watch-related fashion, we thought we’d take another look at the time Serena showed she could pull off one of the more controversial releases of recent times.

Serena Williams retires

When the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Black Panther Flying Tourbillon was introduced, many enthusiasts were openly critical of its design, wondering who on earth would buy a $160,000 USD watch with a superhero tie-in. But when I got the chance to go hands-on with it I actually thought it was extremely impressive – in the metal, the hand-engraved white-gold Black Panther figure is truly a work of art due to its phenomenal intricacy.  The 250 pieces immediately drew interest from buyers, proving the haters wrong as allocations in each region moved quickly. The watch with its blend of high horology and pop culture, not only drew interest from collectors but some powerhouse athletes as well. Here are five professional athletes that have already been spotted wearing the AP Royal Oak Concept Black Panther Flying Tourbillon.

Serena Williams


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Serena Williams is known to sport various Audemars Piguet watches in partnership with the holy trinity brand. But where she stands apart is that she actually wears them during her matches, notably spotted wearing a Royal Oak Chronograph on the court. As a trailblazer of women’s tennis, as well as helping to pave the way for women of colour to climb the ranks of the WTA, I think it is very fitting she is an owner of the Wakanda inspired AP Royal Oak Concept Black Panther Flying Tourbillon.

Lebron James

Within days of its launch, Lebron was spotted wearing the AP Royal Oak Concept Black Panther while sidelined with an injury. As an ambassador of the brand who has collaborated with AP to make limited-edition pieces, cynics will say he almost certainly did not purchase the watch. But regardless of whether or not it is an official member of his personal collection, clearly King James is fond of the aesthetic and is proud to have Wakanda live forever on his wrist.

Draymond Green

The three-time NBA champion is a known AP collector, with Royal Oaks of various materials continuously gracing his wrist. Many times he can be seen wearing his Royal Oak Double Balance Wheel in black ceramic, but he was spotted wearing the AP Black Panther heading into a stadium before a game – a clear sign he has further expanded his AP collection with the concept watch inspired by the US superhero.

Neymar Jr

Earlier this month, Neymar Jr was spotted wearing the Marvel collaboration while travelling to the UK for the second leg of the Champions League semi-final against Manchester City. The Brazilian soccer superstar’s willingness to rock such a flamboyant watch perhaps isn’t surprising given his factory-set Rolex GMT-Master II 116759SARU with a pave diamond dial and a bezel bedecked with sapphires and rubies to match his Paris Saint-Germain team strip. The Black Panther is hardly the most contentious watch that Neymar has worn either – that would be the fake Richard Mille Cyril Kongo he’s previously been photographed wearing.

Virgil Van Dijk

Liverpool lynch-pin Virgil Van Dijk is usually seen rocking a Patek Philippe Aquanaut. The Dutch centre back, who missed most of the season with injury, has quite the collection. He’s previously been snapped wearing a Patek Philippe Aquanaut Singapore 2019 Limited Edition (on a Liverpool red strap), an Aquanaut 5169 (khaki green), plus an Aquanaut 5167A (black). Given these apparent brand loyalties, his purchase of  Black Panther is intriguing, particularly given what Patek CEO Thierry Stern makes of the watch. In a recent interview with the Australian Financial Review, Stern made it very clear he was not a fan of Audemars Piguet’s latest move. “I saw the watch,” Stern said. “I was a little bit sad for them because it shows that maybe they don’t have any more ideas.”

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Black Panther Flying Tourbillon Limited Edition

Serena Williams retires

Case Metal: sandblasted titanium case with satin-brushed titanium inserts. Glare-proofed sapphire crystal and caseback, water-resistant to 50m.

Case Dimensions: 42mm in diameter, 14.6mm thick.

Bezel: black ceramic bezel.

Crown: black ceramic, screw-down.

Dial: Purple/black accents with hand-painted white-gold 3D Black Panther character, white-gold hour-markers with black PVD coating, purple inner bezel, white-gold hands with luminescent coating.

Strap: Textured purple rubber strap with titanium clasp, additional black rubber strap.

Movement: Manual winding AP Manufacture Calibre 2965 with 72 hours of power reserve, flying tourbillon, and hours and minutes.

Price: CHF 150,000, Limited Edition of 250 pieces.