AUDE­MARS PIGUET ROYAL OAK CON­CEPT RD#1 (2015)

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WHAT IT IS:

A true con­cept watch in ev­ery sense of the word, the Royal Oak Con­cept RD#1 was the cul­mi­na­tion of an eight-year long re­search pro­gramme into the acous­tics of chim­ing watches. Aude­mars Piguet had al­ready be­gun its re­search in-house when it roped in Ecole Polytech­nique Fed­erale de Lau­sanne, a Lau­sanne-based univer­sity and re­search in­sti­tute, for its en­gi­neer­ing ex­per­tise.

WHAT’S NEW:

Al­though the watch also con­tains a tour­bil­lon reg­u­la­tor and a chrono­graph com­pli­ca­tion, its high­light is the minute re­peater – an un­usu­ally loud one that can be heard from across a room. De­vel­oped based on a spe­cially cre­ated pro­file of ideal sound char­ac­ter­is­tics, the minute re­peater is unique for the “hard” pa­ram­e­ters it had to meet, un­like tra­di­tional minute re­peaters that typ­i­cally rely on a watch­maker’s sub­jec­tive ex­pe­ri­ence. Alas, as a con­cept watch, the RD#1 was not for sale, and held sev­eral tech­ni­cal se­crets that were not re­vealed as they were still patent pend­ing.

WHAT’S NEXT:

Aude­mars Piguet fol­lowed up in 2016 with the Royal Oak Con­cept Su­per­son­nerie, a pro­duc­tion watch that im­proved on its pre­de­ces­sor’s tech­ni­cal fea­tures, chief of which was a “sound­board”. Made from a sonorous cop­per al­loy, the sound­board func­tions like a gui­tar’s sound­board – it’s ex­cited by the gongs it’s at­tached to, and vi­brates with them, with its larger sur­face area mov­ing more air and am­pli­fy­ing the gongs’ chimes.

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