This year Audemars Piguet introduced a new generation Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon GMT, which is essentially a reworked version of the previous model, now with a “flying” tourbillon, meaning it’s supported only on one side (instead of two like a standard tourbillon).
AP did a really good job with this watch. The contemporary aesthetic is clearly a departure from the classical (monotonous) Haute horology finishes we’ve seen over and over, and that’s, of course, a good thing. This watch is bold without being ostentatious, thanks largely to the matte-finished surfaces, such as the sandblasted titanium case, the vertical satin-brushed black ceramic bezel, and a general design theme that omits almost all shininess.
At 9 o’clock you can view the new flying tourbillon, with its gold balance wheel and variable inertia weights, as it oscillates to and fro at 3Hz (or 21,600 times per hour). And while the new flying tourbillon is surely an improvement over the non-flying version, my favorite feature is still the digital 24H format GMT function at 3 o’clock, which can be advanced by the large, flat pusher at 4 o’clock. Control of time setting and winding is done via the crown. When adjusting with the crown the selector on the dial at 6 o’clock moves into either H (time setting), N (neutral), or R (winding) mode.
At 44 mm x 16.1 mm, the case wears very nicely on my 7.5″ wrist. The crown is screw-locked and is water-resistant to 100 meters. Powering the functions is 3Hz automatic caliber 2954 (35.50 mm) which has 24 jewels, 348 total components, and a has an impressive 237-hours of power reserve (almost 10-days). Retail is $176,500. (Ref. 26589IO.OO.D002CA.01)
While few of these are made, the price is prohibitively high, and the watch is oversized — it’s also one of the most advanced and coolest looking timepieces in the Audemars Piguets lineup.