Audemars Piguet’s new partnership with Marvel was an unforeseen master stroke. The Swiss manufacturer revealed the first watch of this historic collaboration a few weeks after having signed a contract with the superhero franchise. Social media were in a real frenzy. Some people were saying things like “it’s a disgrace!”, “what a crazy idea”, “blasphemy!”, but Audemars Piguet’s CEO stood by his decision and even announced another partnership for 2023. François-Henry Bennhamias is the spirited mischief-maker of the Swiss watchmaking industry and, in the blink of an eye, he made this conservative world – to say the least – look extremely stuffy. It is nice for a change. You can see it for yourself by watching the video featuring him on Frank sans C’s channel: he is a friendly – and teasing – man, full of enthusiasm, full of ideas and who is not done crossing lines. It’s a breath of fresh air for those who, just like us, don’t like to look at the finger when a wise man points at the moon.
It’s easy to criticize. However, I tend to think that, in the end, only the market’s verdict really matters. In this case, the verdict is irrevocably positive. The instrument issued in only 250 pieces – costing about €170,000 each – was sold out just five days after its presentation!
Royal Oak Concept Black Panther: futuristic design and high-tech materials
Black Panther – with a very special version of the Royal Oak Concept – was chosen to launch the series of watches that are going to pay tribute to the Marvel universe.
This 42 mm diameter model – which comes with a rubber strap – possesses extremely modern lines enhancing the cutting-edge materials. Indeed, it features a sandblasted titanium case, including an octagonal-shaped bezel with visible screws and a black ceramic winding crown.
The materials are combined to make the watch resistant, light and scratch-resistant as a nod to the famous vibranium. This imaginary mineral absorbs vibrations, possesses extraordinary attributes and is used to make the suit that protects Black Panther from gun shots and explosions. Incidentally, this material was also used for Captain America’s shield! Do you think it could be a clue for the next AP Marvel?
Black Panther: at the forefront of the Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon
The 3D rendition of Black Panther is a miniature wonder. It is entirely handmade and its numerous meticulous details make it eye-catching. The exceptionally realist representation of the superhero is a true miniature work of art. A few prototypes were turned down by François-Henry Bennhamias before reaching this level of perfection. The character seems to be literally springing out of the dial. This is mind-boggling.
About 30 hours of work from a craftsperson are required to make this white gold, hand-painted miniature. The position of the body, the outline of the muscles, the claws, the hands and the face’s expression all make the rendition of Black Panther a real wonder. An engraver sculpts the miniature and a painter is then in charged of the finishes and contrasts.
The manufacture of the 250 superheroes was entrusted to a team of eight craftspeople from Audemars Piguet’s workshops.
Hypnotizing tourbillon on the Black Panther
Frozen yet so full of life, the character is stepping over a flying tourbillon and its elevated two-tone cage, which adds volume to the piece. This fascinating gyratory system regulates the last-generation Manufacture Calibre 2965.
The hand-wound mechanism is visible from the front and from the back thanks to sapphire crystals and it guarantees a 72-hour power reserve. You could say it is “weekend-proof”!
The mechanism is adorned by 3D decorations. The design and the black and grey PVD coating are inspired by Black Panther’s suit.
Audemars Piguet X Marvel: which superhero is next?
François-Henry Bennhamias, Audemars Piguet’s CEO, gave the exclusive to Frank sans C about the release date of the new AP x Marvel – in 2023 – and about which character won’t be featured – Iron Man. Still, one question remains on every fan’s lips: which superhero will be next? One thing is for sure: it won’t be Namur… hmm… Namor, since Marvel’s first superhero is nicknamed SUBMARINER!
You will find out once the information is declassified. That is to say, about five minutes before the official launch! In the meantime, would you be up for a little challenge? We are on it! Stay tuned.