ANALYSIS: How is the $5.2m Audemars Piguet Black Panther different to the $160k version? ANALYSIS: How is the $5.2m Audemars Piguet Black Panther different to the $160k version?

ANALYSIS: How is the $5.2m Audemars Piguet Black Panther different to the $160k version?

Zach Blass

As a community, we watch lovers can forget there is a larger world beyond our obsession, and that the overwhelming majority of watch buyers are not plugged in, in any way, to our commentary. Not every luxury watch buyer, even of popular models we all desire, has dived down the #watchfam rabbit hole. Consequently, they have tastes and perspectives that remain uncontaminated by community influence.

That’s worth remembering with the new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Black Panther Flying Tourbillon limited edition – AP’s first collaboration with Marvel. With its Black Panther figure on the dial, the watch was met with disbelief and disdain from some quarters of the collecting community. But regardless of how you may feel about this novelty, the watch has already proved an unquestionable hit for the brand. It did what it was created to do. Because, last Sunday, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Black Panther Flying Tourbillon piece unique was auctioned off for charity, earning a hammer price of $5.2 million dollars – a new record for AP at auction.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Black Panther

The presentation was an interesting new format for Audemars Piguet, and perhaps the industry as a whole. The auction itself sure was fun to watch. Viewers felt they were in a Marvel style command centre, with Tony Stark-like displays showing the bids in real time and jumping between the various countries of the highest bidders.

Initially it was a race between many bidders, spanning Russia, Germany and Australia. But the main two bidders were found in both China and the United Arab Emirates, with the former winning the contest of fiscal endurance. It was an exciting moment for Audemars Piguet and co-host Kevin Hart who continually reminded bidders the watch was “ONE. OF ONE!”

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Black Panther

To reiterate what I mentioned earlier, this release, both the limited edition and the piece unique, is a prime example of the need to understand the larger perspective on watch releases. Too often we think that brands have to speak strictly to the enthusiast community, but it is clear the smarter path is to target both the niche and mainstream audience in turn. Based on what I see on social media, it is becoming impossible to receive unanimous applause from the enthusiast community anyway. These critics, by and large, are simply not the target consumer of this watch.

Word on the street here in New York is that the supply of the regular limited edition Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Black Panther Flying Tourbillon models are selling quickly, if not sold out. The early signs are that the memes aren’t going to win the day on this one.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Black Panther Flying Tourbillon specifications, pricing, and availability:

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Black Panther

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Black Panther Flying Tourbillon Limited Edition

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Black Panther

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.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Black Panther Flying Tourbillon Piece Unique

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Black Panther

Case Metal: 18-carat white gold, entirely engraved. Glare-proofed sapphire crystal and caseback. Water-resistant to 50m.

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

Bezel: engraved 18-carat white gold.

Crown: black ceramic.

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 white gold clasp, additional black rubber strap.

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

Hammer Price: $5,200,000 USD, piece unique 1/1