As part of its new partnership with Marvel Entertainment, Audemars Piguet has released a new Black Panther take on its classic Royal Oak timepiece.
There were a ton of reasons to like Black Panther, the Marvel fantasy flick of 2018. Not only did it tell a pretty fantastic tale of the mythical African land of Wakanda, but it also showcased the immense talents of actors of colour, including Lupita Nyong’o, the unstoppable Michael B. Jordan, and the late Chadwick Boseman.
It’s a fitting theme for the first foray of a new collaboration between watchmaker Audemars Piguet and Marvel Entertainment, a partnership that’s been cemented with the release of the Royal Oak Concept “Black Panther” Flying Tourbillon, a model, limited to 250 pieces, that pays tribute to a new generation of inspirational heroes.
Rooted in ancestral craftsmanship and futuristic technology, the 42mm Royal Oak Concept “Black Panther” Flying Tourbillon speaks to Audemars Piguet’s long history of design experimentation and connection to the larger cultural world. Featuring a futuristic design that recalls the cutting-edge suit of Marvel’s Black Panther, the timepiece’s rounded case is honed from titanium and is topped off with a black ceramic octagonal-shaped bezel and crown for a high-tech look.
Although unyielding, the ultra-resistant case is adorned with refined hand-finishing. The black ceramic bezel has been decorated with the brand’s trademark alternation of satin-brushing and polished chamfers, while the titanium case presents a textured look with sandblasted surfaces juxtaposed to satinbrushed and chamfered titanium inserts. The satinbrushed steel hexagonal screws brazenly securing the bezel on the case further the two-tone aesthetics, while the visible purple gasket adds a vivid touch of colour.
The titanium sapphire caseback, similarly finished with sandblasting and satin-brushing, reveals part of the micro-mechanics ticking within, while the dial brings together the pulsating flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock with a highly contemporary hand-painted rendition of Marvel’s Black Panther, comprised of white gold.
In addition, the myriad of details adorning Black Panther’s body, from his hands and claws to his muscles and facial features, have been sculpted by hand by a single engraver, while a single painter created the eyes and applied numerous layers of diluted dark paint on the suit in order to reach the perfect balance of texture and graded contrasts. The resulting alternation of matt and mirror surfaces adorning the character also echoes Audemars Piguet’s trademark hand-finishing – 30 hours of work in total were necessary for the engraving and painting of Marvel’s Black Panther, while it took a highly specialised team of 4 engravers and 4 painters to decorate the characters of the collection’s 250 pieces.
The laser-textured titanium bridges finished with black and grey PVD coating, appearing in the background, recall the Black Panther’s faceted suit. The dial also reveals the movement’s openworked barrel at 10 o’clock, granting an exceptional view of the coiled mainspring – the watch’s power source. The vivid purple inner bezel, enhanced by a colour-coordinated gasket and rubber strap, foregrounds the dial’s dark tones while infusing it with the mystic and vibrant flair of Vibranium.
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