Swiss Haute Horlogerie Manufacturer Audemars Piguet is proud to present a new limited edition 34 mm Royal Oak Selfwinding in black ceramic. This timepiece is the fruit of the latest collaboration between the Manufacture and Carolina Bucci. In celebration of the Royal Oak’s fiftieth anniversary, the Italian jewellery designer has created a dial endowed with a unique multi-coloured mirror effect paying tribute to the iconic Tapisserie design. The result is as unexpected as it is elegant. This limited edition is designed for both men and women and is available exclusively in Audemars Piguet boutiques and AP Houses.
A subtle and unexpected aesthetic
For her third collaboration with Audemars Piguet, Carolina Bucci has left behind her hammering technique, known as Frosted Gold, to enrich an all-black ceramic piece with a surprising dial. Always looking to meet new challenges, she decided to focus on contrasts. At first glance, the dial appears black, but on closer inspection it reveals a multi-coloured spectrum that brings the Tapisserie effect to life in the ever-changing light. To reach this result, a sapphire plate adorned with little squares achieved through micro-structuring is added on top of the brass dial plate to create rich rainbow-coloured plays of light. A golden metallisation, specially developed for the occasion, is also applied onto the back of the sapphire plate to create a mirror effect and shine lights onto the dial. The pattern of iridescent colours varies from dial to dial, making each design unique. This limited edition comes in a presentation box that has also been designed by Carolina Bucci. For this special occasion, the jewellery designer wanted to use the Tapisserie pattern in relief, going into the finest details, to pay homage to the 1972 classic.
“I wanted to place a rainbow in the most unexpected of places, a little like when you see oil floating on a puddle in a city street… So here you have every colour of the spectrum on a canvas that is completely black, which is itself the absence of colour”, says Carolina Bucci, jewellery designer.
Materials full of contrasts
The black ceramic case and bracelet are highlighted by hexagonal pink gold screws that secure the bezel and create an elegant contrast of colours. All the components of the case and bracelet are finished with the Manufacture’s signature satin-finishing that is paired with polished chamfers for a maximum play on light.
The bracelet has been slightly revised to provide a better visual effect. The pins connecting the links to the studs are no longer visible from the side, but are directly integrated into the studs.
The titanium and sapphire caseback is engraved with the inscription “Limited Edition Carolina Bucci” and reveals the Calibre 5800 beneath, which indicates the hours, minutes, seconds and date. In keeping with the finish on the screws, hour-markers and hands, the 22-carat pink gold oscillating weight features elegant microbead-blasted, polished and satin finishes.
On the dial, the AP monogram has vanished to leave pride of place to the long-form signature which has been engraved on top of the sapphire plate and filled with white lacquer due to the singularity of the dial imagined by Carolina Bucci.
A collaboration in constant evolution
Carolina Bucci first started working with Audemars Piguet in 2016 for the 40th anniversary of the women’s Royal Oak that was created by Jacqueline Dimier in 1976. It was for this special occasion that the Italian designer was invited to reinterpret the original design by Gérald Genta. Together with the Manufacture’s watchmakers, she brought the ancestral technique of Florentine hammering, or Frosted Gold, to the complex architecture of the Royal Oak.
This technique consists of creating tiny indentations in the gold with a diamond-tipped tool that results in a sparkle that looks like diamond dust. Two models were initially released – the 15454 in 37 mm and the 67652 in 33 mm in a choice of white or pink gold – during an international event with Jacqueline Dimier in attendance. This marked the beginning of Audemars Piguet’s collaboration with Carolina Bucci. Since 2016, the Frosted Gold finish has been applied to numerous watch collections, sizes and complications.
In 2018, the designer signed a limited edition of 300 pieces for Audemars Piguet, entirely crafted in frosted yellow gold with a unique dial. Instead of the model’s trademark Tapisserie design, Carolina Bucci chose a mirrored dial with a flat surface evoking the surface of a lake on a calm day, reflecting the surrounding landscape. Despite its apparent simplicity, the mirrored dial presented a number of technical challenges that the Manufacture’s artisans were able to overcome to perfection.
In 2020, she went on to design the K.I.S.S. collection of gold bracelets – available in two sizes and numerous tones with matching necklaces – that were inspired by her previous projects with the Manufacture. These creations reinterpret the aesthetic codes of a mechanical watch spring, creating a link between Haute Joaillerie and Haute Horlogerie.
Today, Carolina Bucci pays tribute to the Royal Oak’s 50th anniversary, with a design in black ceramic contrasted with multi-coloured reflections on the dial, providing the watch with unexpected plays of light. The Royal Oak Selfwinding 34 mm will not only surprise watch lovers with its iridescence, but will also seduce them with its sober and discreet refinement.