When Audemars Piguet first launched the Royal Oak Concept “Black Panther” Flying Tourbillon in 2021 while announcing its partnership with Marvel, the watch — as many new launches from the most sought-after brands tend to be — was met with plenty of criticism. Not that that stopped the 250-piece limited edition from selling out in no time, despite being priced at 150,000 Swiss francs (S$224,100).
Now, the brand drops its second collaborative timepiece, starring one of the most popular characters in the Marvel stable, Spider-Man. Our first impression is that the Audemars Piguet team has gotten even better at creating a superhero-themed tableau with a sense of dynamism and depth since the Black Panther edition, which was already pretty impressive in its detailed execution.
Like the Black Panther edition, the new Spider-Man watch comes in a 42mm grade 5 titanium case with a ceramic bezel. However, the Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon “Spider-Man” uses a different and skeletonised movement, the new hand-wound Calibre 2974, to create a sense of transparency — heightening the feel of the Spider-Man mini figurine swinging out of the void. (Calibre 2974 is based on Calibre 2948, which is used in the Code 11.59 Tourbillon Openworked.)
Using a CNC machine, the main form of the figurine is cut from a block of white gold. This is followed by laser-engraving — following numerous prior rounds of programming and testing — to create the textile pattern of our hero’s suit. After that comes the hand-finishing, where touch-ups and engraving-related finishings are executed by a single artisan, making each of the 250 pieces unique. Finally, the figurine is painted, with the painter giving not only Spider-Man his characteristic red and blue palette but also heightening the sense of movement by focusing on shadows and contrasts. Some 50 hours of work is required just to create one of these figurines.
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The rest of the watch isn’t too shabby either. As one would expect from Audemars Piguet, a skilful mix of matte and mirrored finishes characterise both the case and the movement. Hour markers and hands are made of black PVD-coated gold, with a polished finish and filled with blue lume.
Another bonus that should make the owners of this watch happy: For the first time, the 42mm Royal Oak Concept case features a quick-change strap system. The Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon “Spider-Man” comes with two straps: A black and grey rubber strap with a titanium buckle, and a second rubber strap in on-theme black and red.
As with the Black Panther edition, a unique piece was created for auction, with proceeds benefiting American non-profit organisations First Book and Ashoka, which both work to empower young people to create positive impact. The one-of-a-kind Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon “Black Suit Spider-Man” features a laser-engraved case filled with luminescent ceramic, as well as the superhero in a black suit. It’s a reference to an outfit worn by Spidey in several comics in the 1980s. This timepiece hammered for US$6.2 million recently at an auction in Dubai, conducted by The Auction Collective. Haters? Ain’t no one got time for that.
The Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon “Spider-Man” retails for 195,000 Swiss francs (about S$291,600).