BY NIKHIL KURMALA
SIHH 2019 didn’t disappoint with watchmakers showcasing their latest technologies and designs while showing off their latest complications and mechanical feats to the public. From Vacheron Constantin’s Traditionnelle Twin-Beat to A. Lange & Söhne’s new Zeitwerk Date, SIHH 2019 was filled with surprises. The most polarising release was arguably from Audemars Piguet with their Code 11:59 collection. 2019 being their last year participating in SIHH, Code 11:59 undoubtedly caught everyone’s attention. This, in turn, caused many of the brand’s other new releases to remain under the radar and not getting the attention they deserve. One such release was the Royal Oak Tourbillon Extra-Thin in Black Ceramic.
The Le Brassus watchmaker originally introduced the Royal Oak in a black ceramic case in 2017. AP has also made the Tourbillon Extra-Thin in numerous past models, including a purple dial variant that was introduced at SIHH 2018. The intense blackness of this limited edition of 100 pieces gives elegance and refinement to the ceramic satin-finished and polished case, which is seven times harder than steel. Matched with the titanium case back and folding clasp, the black Royal Oak Tourbillon Extra-Thin is the third Royal Oak within the line which incorporates a ceramic case, bracelet, and bezel. Defying the Swiss watchmaker’s classical design, the original grid-patterned dial is replaced with the new ripple-like “Tapisserie Evolutive” which expands from the tourbillon at the 6 o’clock position. The dial features a simple but traditional hours and minutes dial layout, but comes equipped with a 60-second tourbillon. Featuring a spectacular display case back, the rear shows a power reserve indicator and also the inner mechanism of the timepiece. The three-quarter plate is crafted and made unique with a hand-finished sunray Geneva stripes pattern.
It is powered by the Calibre 2924 Manufacture movement, a hand-winding movement, that is equipped with 70 hours of power reserve. The Extra-Thin comes to the size of 41 mm x 9 mm Royal Oak. Though thin, it isn’t as thin as the Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra Thin, which measures at a scant 8 mm in thickness. Nevertheless, considering it has a tourbillon, 9 mm is still incredibly thin.
With its steel case, octagonal bezel, “tapisserie” dial and integrated bracelet, the Royal Oak overturned the prevailing codes in 1972 and took its rightful place as a true modern icon. Despite being a standard timepiece, the watch is made up of 216 individual pieces showcasing the craftsmanship of the Le Brassus watchmaker. This boutique exclusive timepiece will be limited to 100 pieces and is said to have a retail value of CHF 156,000. Visit Audemars Piguet here.