Pre-SIHH 2015: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Acoustic Research Watch

By Harlan Chapman-Green

Anyone remember that last concept watch Audemars Piguet released? It wasn’t that long ago but it was remarkable. It took Gerald Genta’s most famous sports watch design from the early 70s and gave it the whole Gravity style futuristic re-working. My two most favourite parts were the white ceramic bezel and the Schwarzenegger style squared off shoulders. I’m delighted to say that they (sadly only the shoulders) have returned on this concept.

The first thing we should really talk about with this watch is the Acoustic Research part in the name. Audemars Piguet, along with several other high-end companies, has been conducting some major work into the improvement of the sound created by a minute repeater. The minute repeater is widely regarded as the most complex of mechanical systems to put inside a watch. The trouble is the thick cases aren’t sonorous, meaning they don’t conduct sound well. Although gold is certainly the material of choice for a minute repeater watch, it’s still got it’s limits. Breguet did some work into this with the La Musicale that I reviewed in a previous article, but that was dedicated purely to putting a music box type movement built into a watch. The difference here is that Audemars Piguet is really bringing an old system into the modern age, along with case design of course.

Indeed Audemars Piguet has consulted the experts of Geneva about the ability to produce sound as well as possible. The 44mm titanium case is water resistant to 20m so it’ll be good for the occasional droplet from the taps of the Savoy. And if that isn’t enough there’s a chronograph in there and a tourbillon too. The work Audemars is doing is fantastic. The fun doesn’t stop there as there’s two balance wheels and two escapements as well! Because this is a pre SIHH article, Audemars won’t tell us all the details on the watch. It’s only available with a rubber strap and a titanium case and bezel. Although it’s a sports watch all these complications come at a price in that it’s become so very delicate. As if they weren’t delicate enough already anyway. Once we get all the details we’ll fill you in on them but for now it’s just a taster of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Acoustic Research. For more info, please visit


Harlan Chapman-Green – Contributing Editor

First introduced to horology with the Patek Philippe Calibre 89 by his father two years ago, Harlan enjoys his passion for fine horology. He prefers to spend his time in the boutiques of upmarket brands, trying out new pieces constantly. His preferred 3 brands are A. Lange & Söhne, Breguet and Vacheron Constantin. Although not much for the smaller brands, he still finds the complications intriguing and wishes to own one watch from each of his three favourites. Read his articles here.