A few days ago Audemars Piguet released the first images of its new Minute Repeater Royal Oak concept, due to be shown for the first time at SIHH 2015, and predictably the collective watch world lost its mind.
Ok, that may be a bit of an exaggeration but there was definitely a lot of armchair commentary on this latest piece from the highly regarded Swiss watchmaker and so I thought why not throw my thoughts into the fray as well? After all, this is a watch blog.
Officially Audemars Piguet is calling this new piece the Royal Oak Concept Acoustic Research, which is a bit too much of a mouthful for us so we’ll just refer to it as the ROO Acoustic. Now, the first thing you – along with many of your fellow watch lovers I’m sure – probably noticed about the ROO Acoustic is that as far as watches go, this one is not particularly attractive. In fact I’d even go as far to say that it is unattractive. The color scheme is rather hideous and gives the watch a very industrious feel, which sometimes can work well but in this case not so much.
The fact is though, this is not a production piece, it’s a concept watch which has been designed to showcase the new minute repeater technology Audermar Piguet’s engineers have been furiously working away on. That’s not say that aesthetics don’t still matter, they do of course, but in this instance they must take a backseat to functionality (although I still think they could have chosen a better color palette for the dial.)
Not too much information has been made available by Audemars Piguet at this stage other than the fact that the ROO Acoustic will be equipped with a highly audible minute repeater mechanism. Now if you’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to a Minute Repeater chime you’ll know that although it is an elaborate affair it also is often a very private one, namely because you have to be very close to the watch itself to hear the melodious sound it is emitting.
Not so anymore if Audemars Piguet has anything to do with it. According to the brand the Minute Repeater complication it will showcase in the ROO Acoustic is the result of 8 years of research, dedicated to attaining not only the perfect pitch but also a level of audibility never before seen (or rather heard) in a mechanical minute repeater.
Unfortunately we will just have to take their word for it at this point but stay tuned for what I’m sure will be a flood of videos early next year when the concept is shown to the public for the first time at SIHH 2015. Hopefully by then they may have made some subtle design tweaks too but I guess there are only so many things one can focus on at one time.
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