Audemars Piguet’s Michael Friedman and Eric Ku go deep on the history of the Royal Oak Concept while exploring two brand new releases Audemars Piguet’s Michael Friedman and Eric Ku go deep on the history of the Royal Oak Concept while exploring two brand new releases

Audemars Piguet’s Michael Friedman and Eric Ku go deep on the history of the Royal Oak Concept while exploring two brand new releases

Andrew McUtchen

Lightning sometimes strikes [the same channel] twice. This time last week, we brought you one of the most scholarly and in-depth conversations I’ve ever been privy to in my time as a watch journalist, in the form of a video in our Watch & Chill series over on our YouTube channel. The main speakers were Michael Friedman, Head of Complications at Audemars Piguet, and collector and dealer extraordinaire Eric Ku.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept History

It was all about the way that Audemars Piguet views history, and the vehicles for the story were two watches. Eric Ku’s now restored vintage Audemars Piguet chronograph, and the 2020 release that has launched a thousand dreams, the [Re]master01 Selfwinding Chronograph. We have captured some of the lightning in a bottle of a few posts, but really, if you haven’t had the pleasure, and a weekend stretches away with a spare hour in it, do yourself a favour.

And now, precisely a week later, we’re doing it again, this time with our eyes fixed firmly on the present — and the future. This video sees two (at the time, unreleased) new watches revealed to Eric, who is asked by Michael for his unvarnished opinion. It all seems a little cosy, doesn’t it? Be reminded that Eric doesn’t always heap bouquets at the feet of Michael’s creations – when he was asked about the [Re]master01 during its prototyping phase, Eric grimaced, and suggested the date window be entirely removed. This necessitated the whole movement being re-engineered. So, needless to say, the setup was not necessarily going to lead to a predictable outcome.

In addition to watches, there is all the pop culture context that Audemars Piguet cherishes like few other brands: everything from Radiohead’s OK Computer, to John Mayer’s love for the Royal Oak Concept, to the 30-year cycle, to Eric Ku’s memories of his first grail watch (the End of Days Limited Edition Royal Oak Offshore), to Dwayne Johnson’s wrist in Ballers. It’s all on the table.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept History

Therefore, the outcome is as entertaining as Episode 1, and is nicely charged with that undercurrent of discovery and novelty. Two guys seeing two hot new Audemars Piguet models for the first time: the brand new Royal Oak Concept GMT, and the CODE 11.59 Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph. Pretty simple really, joy being sparked all over the place. We are proud to bring you this second, unashamedly epic in scope, long-form content. Take your time, and drift back to the future with two captains of the game reading the play …

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept History

Chapters to skip to on the YouTube listing

0:40 Introductions

2:28 What are we talking about today?

2:44 Michael Friedman sets the scene for today’s topics

3:22 Audemars Piguet has watches that are on the pulse (Royal Oak Concept)

3:55 The introduction of the Royal Oak Concept in 2002

5:05 It was an attempt to create a horological expression that had never been done before

5:35 The Royal Oak Concept has gone on to become the platform for new concepts and complications

6:11 We are looking today at the latest Concept GMT

6:22 The reveal of the 2020 Royal Oak Concept GMT!

10:31 “In my eyes, 21st Century watchmaking started with [the Concept]” – Eric Ku

14:19 Audemars Piguet started with CAD and CNC in 1986

16:28 It’s hard to believe the original Royal Oak Concept is 18 years old!

16:44 Radiohead’s OK Computer is very old 🙁

17:40 The Royal Oak Concept truly cuts through the timeline….

18:46 “The [Concept] has aged so well” – Eric Ku

20:25 The late ‘90s, early 2000s were very experimental

22:00 What does the Ferrari Dino have to do with this story?

23:42 The 30 year cycle is making old things cool and nostalgic

24:00 The Concept is a platform for Audemars Piguet to be more experimental

25:00 The new 2020 Frosted Gold Women’s Concept

25:43 The Audemars Piguet RD2 Selfwinding Perpetual Calendar

27:21 The Audemars Piguet Offshore 25th Anniversary Limited Edition

28:10 How does the Royal Oak Concept GMT wear on the wrist?

31:07 The caseback of the Royal Oak Concept GMT

33:29 AP and some small independent brands blur the line between horology and art

34:14 John Mayer wears a Royal Oak Concept, is that gratifying

34:42 The eclipse between the vintage and modern collector

35:35 Eric Ku discusses his own collecting philosophy and how it relates to vintage

36:19 What it’s like to wear the Audemars Piguet [Re]Master01 vs a vintage Audemars Piguet

37:36 The crazy box the CW1 original Concept came in!

38:06 Arnold and Terminator 2, the connection….

38:22 The first Limited Edition Royal Oak Offshore was the ‘End of Days’ Limited Edition

39:59 Eric Ku reminisces about his own End of Days edition and the coupon that came with it

40:38 Dwayne Johnson wears the purple dial Frosted Gold Royal Oak in Ballers

44:42 The second watch to be revealed is the CODE 11.59 Selfwinding Tourbillon Flyback Chronograph

49:55 What does Eric Ku think of it?

53:02 Michael Friedman explains the scarcity of complicated Audemars Piguet watches

54:06 Scarcity is not an excuse, a lack of capacity is real

55:26 When the museum opens, Eric Ku is going to….