Audemars Piguet's Royal Oak is one of the world’s most iconic timepieces. Its classic band, intricate detailing and technological advancements have kept the family-owned Swiss manufacturer at the forefront of the industry since its debut. So when, for the watch's 40th anniversary in 2016, Carolina Bucci was enlisted to reinvent it while paying tribute to its rich heritage, the Italian jewellery designer was stumped. How could she improve on perfection, created by one of the oldest fine watchmakers in the world? Finally deciding that channelling the concept of success that grows from heritage, craftmanship and the notion of family, the result was a watch with a glittering surface and striking dial that swiftly sold out.
Such was the success of their initial collaboration, Carolina has partnered with the brand once again, for another fresh take on the Royal Oak, this time a limited-edition 37mm crafted in yellow gold. The new watch has a frosted gold finish and a silver-toned mirrored face, replacing the Royal Oak's trademark tapisserie dial.
“With the first frosted gold design, I took the perfection of the Royal Oak case and bracelet and roughed them up a little, juxtaposing the perfectly imperfect Florentine finish with Swiss watchmaking precision," Carolina explains. "Now I'm doing the opposite, taking the textured surface of the tapisserie dial and flattening it out into a perfectly smooth mirror. The motive for both is to create something interesting and unpredictable."
But it’s a creation that has come with technical challenges. The focal point of the piece - the mirrored dial - is the most unforgiving component, requiring painstaking precision to craft.
"The mirror is always interacting with its environment, ever-changing according to what clothes you're wearing, the décor of the room, the lighting, the time of day, the weather," adds Carolina. "I know women with a great eye for keynote accessories who are going to love this."
With a limited edition of just 300 pieces, if you’re planning to snap up one of these collector’s items, jump to it, and get one while you can. Individually packaged in mirrored boxes, also designed by Carolina, bearing a frosted gold AP insignia, the designer admits that she holds on to luxury watch packaging and displays it in her own home. Most importantly, the final product has received the family's blessing. "The creativity behind the watch is simply amazing," says Jasmine Audemars, chairwoman of the brand's board of directors and great-granddaughter of founder Jules Louis Audemars. "It's unique and fun. With Carolina Bucci, we've created a kind of masterpiece."