Audemars Piguet unveils new Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon “Spider-Man” 42mmZach Blass
- New Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon “Spider-Man” marks second Marvel collaboration after “Black Panther”
- Continues tradition of a limited edition of 250 pieces, with a piece unique “Black-suit Spider-Man” to be auctioned for charity
- The solid white-gold, hand-painted and engraved Spider-Man figure requires no less than 50 hours of work
When Audemars Piguet debuted their first Marvel collaboration, the 2021 “Black Panther” Flying Tourbillon, it was received, at least initially, with mixed fanfare. Some wondered how such a playful collaboration would affect the aura of their storied holy trinity manufacture in the eyes of its collectors – both current and aspirational. Others trolled the placement of the hands, suggesting at certain hours of the day their placement became a phallic extension of the Black Panther figure on the dial (even though the handset stems from the thigh not, well… that area). Ultimately, these haters were quickly silenced, or at least proven wrong, when the “Black Panther” became an immediate success – the limited-edition watches widely adopted by some of the most prolific celebrities and athletes and, the piece unique “Black Panther” launched alongside the limited edition fetching a record-setting US$5.2M at auction for charity. Therefore, a follow-up made absolute sense. The only question was: which iconic Marvel character would be next? Well swinging into the equation is none other than your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man. Meet the new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon “Spider-Man” 42mm.
I could not be more thrilled Spider-Man is the subject of their next collaboration, as Spider-Man is personally my favourite Marvel character. While Black Panther is certainly beloved, especially in the wake of films, Spider-Man’s appeal is amongst the most massive. Like the previous “Black Panther”, the new “Spider-Man” features a figure of the character splayed across the dial that it is cut from solid 18K white gold and meticulously hand-engraved. But the Spider-Man figure differs in that it is hand-painted in the character’s signature red and blue. Looking at the above, you can see the incredible detailing through the hand-engraving and the painted colouring is executed perfectly and in the exact hues of red and dark blue. The Spider-Man figure alone requires no less than 50 hours of meticulous work from Audemars Piguet’s artisans.
The remainder of the dial follows a similar format to the “Black Panther” with PVD black-gold hour indexes (numerals for the even numbers and indexes for the odd numbers) radially arrayed across the sloped inner bezel. At the centre, and clearly positioned at the hip, you have two central hands conveying the hours and minutes. Now, in darkness it may become hard to see the full scope of colour and detailing to the Spider-Man figure. But you will be glad to hear that not only are the hands and hour indexes coated in SuperLuminova®, but also the eyes of Spider-Man are luminous as well.
Theoretically, this could have been a moment for Audemars Piguet to explore ceramic and really lean into the red and blue of Spider-Man. But doing so would not allow the figure to pop as much as it does against the more muted tones of the case, bezel and dial. After 50 hours or more of work, it makes sense to let the Spider-Man figure be the star of the show. The 50-metre water-resistant case, 42mm in diameter and 15mm thick, is made of lightweight and robust titanium with an octagonal screw-down crown and bezel in black ceramic. In terms of finish, the case features three style of decoration: satin-brushing, sand-blasting, and mirror-polishing. The mirror-polishing, in typical AP fashion, is reserved for edges of the facets found on the lugs, case flanks, wide-spanning crown guards, and the outer perimeter of the ceramic bezel. The front of the case, within the framing borders of thin-polished lines, carries a muted sandblasted finishing that really accentuates the mirror-polished accents. Moving to the top of the ceramic bezel, and sides of the case, crown guards, and crown, you will notice a richly satin-brushed finish. These alternating decorations create a gradient of grey, each of the surfaces reflecting light in a different way. With the watch you get two bundled straps, a black and grey and black and red rubber straps with an interchangeable system and AP folding clasp.
Exhibited beneath a sapphire caseback, we have a different calibre than what was used in the “Black Panther”. Whereas the “Black Panther” used the hand-wound AP manufacture calibre 2965, the “Spider-Man” uses the hand-wound AP manufacture calibre 2974. Both calibres have 72 hours of power reserve, but the calibre 2974 is not a flying tourbillon like the 2965 – it is strictly a tourbillon. The structure of the calibre has each of the wheels and gears in a nearly perfect vertical line from top to bottom, and the open-working of the bridges, front and back, offers a web-like aesthetic befitting of Spider-Man. The darkened and brushed surfaces of the top facets of the bridges allow the chamfered edges, which are not darkened, to really stand out in contrast – like thin glistening lines of webbing. And, I love how if you look between the words ‘Concept’ and ‘Pieces’ on the sloped rehaut of the caseback you can actually see Spidey’s feet set into the movement.
If Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland do not chase after one of the 250 pieces of the limited edition, I will be sorely disappointed. After all, Tom Holland is a certified watch lover and Andrew Garfield could maybe sneakily sport it when he isn’t repping Omega on talk shows and the red carpet. Then again, Maguire, who allegedly loves to gamble, may get a rush out of competitively bidding on the piece unique “Spider-Man” that has launched alongside the 250-piece limited edition. Like the “Black Panther”, Audemars Piguet will be auctioning off a piece unique, alongside other AP items, to raise money for charity and they have stated this will be a continuing tradition for their Marvel releases.
Audemars Piguet explains: “Limited to 250 pieces, this model is accompanied by a unique piece called the Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon ‘Black Suit Spider-Man’. This one-of-a-kind timepiece comes in a white gold case that is finely engraved to give it the effect of a luminescent spider’s web. It is combined with a black ceramic bezel with ceramic also adorning the case back that bears the words ‘Royal Oak Concept Unique Piece’ in white. Spider-Man appears on the dial in a black suit, a reference to the one worn by the superhero in several 1980s comics, notably The Amazing Spider-Man #252 in 1984. This lesser-known representation of the character makes the piece unique and more mysterious, as do its luminescent hands and hour markers which turn green at night.”
All the proceeds from the auction will be donated to First Book and Ashoka. Both organisations aim to further educational equity by providing aid to young people from low-income families and historically excluded communities.
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UPDATE: The piece unique Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon ‘Black Suit Spider-Man’ has just been sold at auction for US$6.2M, beating the previous “Black Panther” piece unique by US$1M. All proceeds go to the charitable First Book and Ashoka organizations.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon “Spider-Man” 42mm pricing and availability:
If you are interested in the availability of the 250-piece Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon “Spider-Man” 42mm limited edition, please inquire with your local Audemars Piguet boutique. Price: CHF 195,000, limited to 250 pieces.
|Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon “Spider-Man” 42mm
|42mm (D) x 15mm (T)
|Titanium case, black ceramic bezel and screw-down crown
|50m (screw-down crown)
|Openworked movement, 3D Spider-Man character in hand-painted gold, PVD black gold hour markers and hands with luminescent coating.
|Glareproof sapphire crystal and exhibiton caseback
|Black and grey rubber strap with interchangeable system and AP folding clasp. Additional black and red rubber strap.
|Hand-wound AP Calibre 2974
|Tourbillon, hours and minutes
|Limited to 250 pcs.