The precious hands of time

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Automatic Tuxedo is an exceptional timepiece, festooned with 621 brilliant cut diamonds.


Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Automatic Tuxedo  - exclusive to Harrods

As you grow older, time appears to gather momentum. I recall as a child staring out of the classroom window, wistfully longing to play on the green fields outside. My plans to kick a ball appeared thwarted by the monotonous ticking of the battery-powered wall clock. Seconds seemed to slow to virtual standstill. I ached for a time when I no longer had to trudge to school, battling the harsh winter elements, which always made their presence felt in my native Lancashire.

During my late teens and early twenties, time seemed to gather pace to an enjoyable rhythm. Studying and subsequent work, would pass with to an andante beat, and socialising provided equilibrium, smoothing the extremes of mania and stagnation.

Once children arrived, the pace of life acquired greater alacrity. My vivid recollection of my daughter’s birth, feels almost current, my memory’s ink has yet to dry. However, this year I am tasked with purchasing her first car. Age has stealthily crept up on my blindside.

I am the middle-aged man with a receding hairline. My musical tastes have matured, leading to a predilection for classical music, a preference for traditional attire and wary eye on everything I eat and drink for fear it may adversely affect my health.

Time is precious.

The value I place upon time, may partly explain my fascination with haute horology. A fine timepiece, provides the medium to savour time.

Audemars Piguet, peerless exemplars of haute horology, are based in Le Brassus in the Swiss Jura.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Automatic Tuxedo  - exclusive to Harrods

The region is world-renowned for creating complicated timepieces, seldom bettered anywhere else on the globe. Some of the finest perpetual calendars, minute repeaters and tourbillons leave the atelier in Le Brassus, dispatched to an appreciative audience around the globe. Moreover, Audemars Piguet have displayed a prowess for combining several complications such as a perpetual calendar, minute repeater and rattrapante, sometimes referred as a Grand Complication.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Automatic Tuxedo  - exclusive to Harrods

A profound skill at creating complicated watches does not mean that Audemars Piguet lack the know-how to produce pulchritudinous forms worthy of any red-carpet gathering. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Automatic Tuxedo is an exceptional timepiece, festooned with 621 brilliant cut diamonds.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Automatic Tuxedo  - exclusive to Harrods

The model is exclusive to the prestigious and world-renowned retailer Harrods. The iconic, Knightsbridge based store, recently celebrated the first anniversary of its Fine Watch Room.

The dial

The Royal Oak, first launched in 1972, is regarded as an icon. This model embraces many elements of the original model, but enhances the watch with deliciously decadent details.

A Petite Tapisserie dial, typically found on the Royal Oak, makes way for a polished lacquered black dial. It has an almost mirror-like appearance and provides the perfect canvas for the gem-setter.

The hours are marked with elegant white gold batons, each set with three diamonds. The precise sizing and mounting is testament to the timed-served artistry of the gem-setter.

A greater challenge for the gem-setter are the hour and minute hands, again they are presented in white gold, inlayed with uniform diamonds. The tolerances required by the gem-setter are incredible. The hands cannot touch, all diamonds must perfectly align and fit within the allocated space.

The AP logo, presented in white gold, proudly resides at noon.

The case

The 18-carat white gold case is adorned with 621 diamonds totaling 7.45 carats.

The case diameter of 33mm will suit the majority of ladies’ wrists.

If you admire the bezel, you will observe white gold screws. This is faithful to the original Gérald Genta design used on the first stainless steel model. This noble metal has always been used on the Royal Oak and I am pleased to see it retained on this timepiece.

Examine the screw-heads, the slots perfectly follow the contour of the dial. Other brands may use screws to secure the bezel, yet few match this attention to detail. In between the screws, four diamonds are perfectly presented.

The crown is set with a translucent cabochon sapphire, reinforcing the feeling of indulgence.

I seldom make much reference to bracelets on watches. However, it is unusual to see a bracelet of such magnificent construction. A spectacular interplay of diamonds and white gold would befit any darling of the silver screen.

The movement

Audemars Piguet are a Manufacture, that is to say, they craft their own movements. Whilst the brand has sometimes featured quartz movements on some ladies’s models, I am delighted to see they have fitted a mechanical movement to this watch.

A self-winding movement provides convenience to the wearer. Beneath the beautiful physique of this watch, resides an intelligence worthy of the AP soubriquet.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Automatic Tuxedo  - exclusive to Harrods

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Automatic Tuxedo  - exclusive to Harrods

The calibre 2140, features a rotor fitted with a 21-carat gold, 31 jewels and 147 parts. The hand finishing is impeccable with hand beveled bridges, circular graining and Côtes de Genève motif perfectly executed.

Conclusion

I accept that not everyone will embrace the persona of this watch. It is extrovert in its character and may not suit those who seek discretion. However, I think it is sensational.

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Automatic Tuxedo conclusively demonstrates the broad range of talents, of the skilled artisans, who breathe the pure mountain air of Le Brassus.

This watch values time with every facet of its distilled form, allowing the wearer to relish each passing minute.

Technical specification

  • Model: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Automatic Tuxedo  – exclusive to Harrods
  • Model reference: 77220BC.ZZ.0789BC.01
  • Case: 18-carat white gold; diameter 33.00 mm; height 8.60 mm ; sapphire crystal to the front and solid caseback .
  • Functions: Hours; minutes.
  • Movement: Calibre 2140, self-winding; frequency 28,800 vph (4 Hz); 31 jewels; power reserve 40 hours; 147 parts
  • Bracelet: Diamond-set 18-carat white gold bracelet.

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