The watch: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept “Black Panther” Flying Tourbillon
The best thing about this watch: I guess it depends on how you feel about the Marvel movie franchise. Martin Scorsese, look away.
The backstory: Last month, Audemars Piguet – the brand behind the beloved Royal Oak and collaborations with LeBron James and Jay-Z – teased a collaboration with Marvel. Now we know that the first element of what will be a permanent partnership is a Black Panther-themed watchmaking that puts a complete superhero figure front and center. Along with the release of the already limited edition piece came a one-of-one (unique piece, in horological parlance) of the white gold watch. This watch was auctioned off this weekend at an event hosted by Kevin Hart; LeBron James and Serena Williams were in attendance. The final sale price? A casual $ 5.2 million.
Black Panther superfans without $ 5.2 million, don’t despair. Audemars released 250 pieces of the standard version with a titanium case and ceramic bezel instead of white gold. It’s not vibranium, but it should still do the trick. Compared to the $ 5.2 million single coin, the Standard Edition costs a relatively reasonable $ 162,000. A brand representative said there was “VERY limited availability at this point” so hopefully you have super fast speed to get to your local AP store.
This watch counts in the world of watches because: Audemars Piguet made its bones by taking risks like this Marvel collaboration. It can be hard to fathom the idea of someone paying over $ 100,000 for a superhero watch – it sounds more like Swatch than fine watchmaking. However, this is exactly the kind of skepticism that was sparked in AP when it released collaborations with Jay-Z and LeBron James – and both of these pieces were hugely important in bringing a new kind of collector to the table, and to AP in particular. Look at the site Revolution notes that it’s hard to separate Jay’s 2006 collaboration and the rise of AP mentions in the rap songs that quickly followed. The partnership with Marvel suggests that AP thinks a different kind of watch collector is emerging. Most watch brands stick to tradition and focus on technical details, but this watch is aimed at a much more modern collector, who appreciates summer blockbusters as much as tourbillons. There’s a little proof that AP’s bet will pay off: a watch Robert Downey, Jr. wore as Iron Man in Avengers: Endgame sold for $ 312,000 at auction just a few years ago.
Super details: This large Black Panther figure is not a child’s toy. The piece is in white gold, engraved by hand and then painted by hand. In total, it takes 30 hours of work to bring the character to life. There’s a semi-hypnotizing video of the watch being made on the AP site – have the Russo Brothers lead the next one and I’ll happily watch two more hours of the process.
Where and when to buy it: Now in all AP stores.
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