One of the few high-horology brands with a finger firmly on the pulse of pop culture, Audemars Piguet has teamed up with several cultural icons on special-edition timepieces over the years. Aside from celebrities such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, hip-hop mogul Jay-Z and LeBron James, it has also worked with creatives such as jewellery designer Carolina Bucci and of course, entertainment giant Marvel.
Now, the Swiss manufacture’s latest collaborative outing sees Matthew Williams — fashion designer and founder of streetwear-influenced luxury brand 1017 Alyx 9SM — putting his cool, minimalist spin on a collection of Royal Oak and Royal Oak Offshore watches. There are four new limited-edition models, as well as a unique piece created for a charity auction.
This is not the first time that Williams, who has also been the creative director of Givenchy since 2020, has put his stamp on an Audemars Piguet timepiece. In 2019, he commissioned watch customiser MAD Paris to create a limited number of pared-down 41mm Royal Oaks in steel, which found fans in stars such as Drake.
That stylishly stripped-down aesthetic sets the tone for the new collaborative timepieces, which include two Royal Oak models and two Royal Oak Offshore models, mostly in different sizes. It’s not just the Tapisserie dials that have disappeared to make way for gold dials with vertical satin finishes. The Royal Oak models also do away with the hour markers and the date windows.
Crafted in yellow gold, the two Royal Oak models are the Royal Oak Selfwinding 37mm and the Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronograph 41mm. Both have dials featuring lumed yellow-gold hands and the twin signatures Audemars Piguet and 1017 ALYX 9SM — the former applied and the latter transferred. Taking the minimalist theme to the extreme, the chronograph watches in this collection eliminate the traditional counters while retaining the hands at their usual 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions (see image above).
Then there are the Royal Oak Offshore 42mm models, which are available in either yellow gold or white gold. Their aesthetic is largely similar to that of the aforementioned Royal Oak models, except that they retain their date windows at 3 o’clock. These sportier models feature AP’s interchangeable strap system and come with an additional black rubber strap.
As for the unique piece, it is a 41mm Royal Oak Chronograph in yellow gold and stainless steel, with a black PVD-coated gold dial with vertical satin-finishing. The watch was auctioned for charity on Aug 24 during the collaboration’s launch party in Tokyo. It sold for US$1 million (S$1.36 million), which will benefit two children’s NGOs, Kids in Motion and Right to Play.
Latest-generation movements power these new timepieces, of course. The 37mm Royal Oak Selfwinding is powered by Calibre 5909, which was introduced in 2022. The slim automatic movement has a power reserve of 60 hours.
The 41mm Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronograph watches (including the unique piece) are driven by the Calibre 4409, while the Royal Oak Offshore models are equipped with Calibre 4404. Both are integrated chronograph movements with a flyback function, with the Calibre 4404 being slightly thicker and featuring a date indication.
Another special touch of this collaboration lies in the rotor. Made in yellow or white gold, each oscillating weight is distinguished by an engraving of Alyx’s brand signature, as well as markings similar to those found on the fashion brand’s signature safety buckles.
The Royal Oak Selfwinding 37mm in yellow gold retails for $107,100 (limited edition of 200 pieces).
The Royal Oak Chronograph 41mm in yellow gold retails for $131,700 (200 pieces).
The Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph 42mm (in yellow or white gold) retails for $162,400 (limited edition of 75 pieces each).
(All prices are in Singapore dollars.)