DOUBLE THE FUN
This year is definitely Audemars Piguet’s year. They have not only launched a great range of novelties, but also unveiled two great watches that serve entirely different purposes: the RD1 Concept and the Concept Laptimer Michael Schumacher.
RD1 CONCEPT Since 2002, Audemars Piguet has been producing concept watches that have taken centre stage in the horological world. Last year’s Royal Oak Concept GMT Tourbillon was striking with its hourglass strut and standout white palette, and set the bar quite high. It seems, however, that the folks over at the manufacturer’s concept watch programme have decided to raise that bar again by releasing the Audemars Piguet RD1.
Even an untrained eye will appreciate the refinement and the new age aesthetics of the RD1. The case is titanium, with a brushed finish and glare-proof sapphire crystal glass. The iconic Audemars Piguet octagon frames a semi-skeletal face that shows off the watch’s tourbillon, which is nestled at the six o’clock position. The cutaway angles on the casing bring a modern architectural edge to the piece by cleverly drawing the eye and accentuating the contrasting black strap. The hands, crafted in white gold, stand out strikingly against the black, satin-brushed dial and inlay. The RD1 is the epitome of everything Audemars Piguet.
Beneath the excellently constructed exterior lie even more impressive feats of mechanical advancement. Besides the chronograph and the tourbillon, the RD1 has taken strides forwards by incorporating a fine-tuned, acoustically sculpted minute repeater with an all-new striking mechanism regulator that is almost silent.
Drawing inspiration from the clear tones engineered for chiming watches, the engineers in Audemars Piguet’s concept watch programme set about trying to create the perfect minute repeater sound. They take their work seriously. So seriously, in fact, that they created The Audemars Piguet Acoustic Lab, to attempt to achieve the same level of acoustic perfection created by the chiming watchmakers of old, before the introduction of waterproof casings ultimately dampened any sound produced. This may seem an odd direction to take, but it is one that has taken this watch another mechanical notch up, in its pursuit of sonic perfection.
After what we can only imagine as a very long time spent listening to the sound of a watch, the Audemars Piguet concept watch programme engineers emerged victorious. By
Top and facing page: RD1 Concept.