Audemars Piguet after officially announcing that it has signed a partnership with the entertainment giant Marvel, on 10 April 2021 it revealed to the world the first fruit of this collaboration, the brand new Royal Oak Concept Black Panther Flying Tourbillon. The newcomer of the Le Brassus maison has caused quite a stir, as happens with any self-respecting novelty, and we have seen criticism, even very heavy, from the social world.

This article is not intended to be a simple analysis of the watch, but an in-depth study to try to understand what the choices Audemars Piguet made and discuss them with you readers. 

Taken as a whole, the event saw three main actors (Audemars Piguet CEO, François-Henry Bennhamias, presenter and comedian Kevin Hart, who hosted the event himself, and Head of complications, Michael Friedman) and had as main purpose the auctioning of a particular edition of the new watch. This exclusive version, made in a single piece with white gold case (ref. 26623BC.GG.OO.D077CA.01) hand-engraved with a Black Panther-inspired motif, it was beaten at an unexpected figure of $ 5.2M and the proceeds will be donated to the First Book and Ashoka associations, to allow students with little financial means to have a high level education. Praise to Audemars Piguet for this type of initiative is obvious but never sufficiently highlighted. 

Il Royal Oak Concept Black Panther

We now come to the description of the watch. It is a Royal Oak belonging to the Concept collection, with monolithic shapes capable of transmitting the feeling of projection into the future as explained in a our article from last year, which was dedicated to the character of Black Panther of Marvel Entertainmenyou will be realized in just 250 pieces.

The 42mm case was made in titanium, while the octagonal bezel and the winding crown are made of cblack eramic, material on which Audemars Piguet has developed considerable know-how. Compared to other Concepts, the lugs and crown protectors have completely new shapes and processes, specially designed to suit the style of the watch and the world to which it is dedicated.

The real novelty lies in having placed a disc depicting on the dial the character of Black Panther, handmade in white gold, which allows a glimpse of the barrel under his arm and does not obstruct the view of the flying tourbillon at 6 o'clock. The front and back of the movement are appropriately decorated to reveal the strength of the character, as if it had damaged the environment around him. Finally, the flange on which the hour markers are applied is purple, which is the same color that characterizes King T'Challa in the MCU films, as is the rubber strap. 

Il 2965 caliber

Caliber 2965 is part of Audemars Piguet's new design philosophy. Until the introduction of the Royal Oak Concept GMT 26589IO, the Le Brassus brand used to use classic tourbillons with a dedicated upper bridge, while with the latest models made (be it Code 11.59, Royal Oak or Concept), a flying tourbillon was developed that enhances the technical quality that these offer. In spite of the finishes dedicated to this particular model, the new Royal Oak Concept Black Panther 26623 falls precisely into this latter category of watches and is powered by a manual winding caliber with a flying tourbillon beating at 3Hz and has an overall power reserve of 72 hours. 

The total sale price is 150.000 CHF, excluding VAT.

Considerations and topics for discussion

As previously mentioned, a novelty and a partnership like the one with Marvel Enterntainment has attracted numerous criticisms, with the social audience that has not shown itself at all lukewarm towards this new Royal Oak Concept Black Panther Flying Tourbillon 26623. Below, you will find 6 discussion topics, which contain my personal opinions, through which I would like to discuss with you readers: 

  1. The choice of Black Panther.
    In the period in which the "Black Lives Matter" movement had a remarkable sounding board, also thanks to characters like Lewis Hamilton, choosing the character played by Chadwick Boseman, who died prematurely on August 28, 2020, is a good choice. Black panther and Chadwick Boseman have great significance for African American communities and Audemars Piguet has implicitly shown that they fully share the values ​​of inclusiveness, morality and justice they represent. I have no doubt that a good percentage of the 250 pieces are sold thanks to the sharing of these themes.
  2. The realization of the details.
    The watch as a whole can only be well done given the avant-garde collection to which it belongs. The details depicting Black Panther are remarkable, just look at the claws on the hand or the workmanship of its "aramatura". The pose of the chosen character leaves me a little perplexed, on the various social networks you can find the best memes about it
  1. The mix of materials.
    Although the materials used are certainly not new to the Concept collection, they blend perfectly with the theme of the clock. When a brand knows how to innovate like Audemars Piguet, it is in the position of having many arrows in its bow that it can shoot to achieve its purpose. 
  1. The Caliber.
    The caliber selected is top notch and I really appreciate the introduction of the flying tourbillon. If Audemars Piguet has decided to introduce it to all of its collections despite an intrinsic greater delicacy than the traditional version, it means that a sufficiently high level of reliability has been reached for this component. 
  1. The price.
    The selected price is high. While we're talking about a Royal Oak Concept, there aren't any particularly serious complications outside of the tourbillon that can really justify such a hefty price tag. Will Audemars Piguet be able to sell all 250 pieces that will be produced? Overall, we are talking about a turnover of around CHF 40 million and it will not be so easy to sell them all. 
  1. The basic idea.
    What leaves me most perplexed about this watch, with its undoubted build quality and sharing of the values ​​it represents, is the very idea of ​​placing a character from the MCU on the dial. As Audemars Piguet pointed out, it was Gerald Genta's own legacy that inspired the brand to place Black Panther on the dial as it had previously done for Disney characters, but in that case it was clear provocations, produced on a larger scale and intended for a wide audience. The boundary conditions, in this case, are different. Finally, indissolubly tying a watch to a historical period such as the one in which the MCU has depopulated, could be a risk given by the very fact that fashions are volatile, change and could be a constraint in the evolution of the watch itself. Is there Marvel today and tomorrow? 

Let us know what you think in the comments below. 

For more information, Audemarspiguet.com