What’s left of the “dial” is essentially a satin-brushed, ruthenium-toned ring around the edge and the two anthracite sub-dials. There’s a rehaut printed with a minute chapter ring as well. In my experience, legibility isn’t the strongest suit to get a skeletonized watch, but that is less of an issue in the case of the watch. The usage of pink gold applied hour markers and pink golden baton-shaped palms, both filled with lume, should provide sufficient legibility in most lighting conditions. The “Audemars Piguet” logo is printed on the surface of the sapphire crystal on the front, and this gives it a nice floating effect.The sub-dials are easy with white printed white and text baton-shaped hands. The sub-dial in 3:00 suggests chronograph minutes and the one at 9:00 shows continuous moments. 1 possible issue with legibility must do with the chronograph seconds hand, which can be black with a lumed white tip. Between how thin the hand is and also the color, reading the chronograph elapsed time might be more awkward than people may like. It’s not easy to say for certain until we get our hands on a physical case of this watch.I’ve left the situation and bracelet description to the last because those are a few of the most recognizable aspects of the watch. This is the same Gerald Genta layout that is popular among several collectors however with 44mm by 13.2mm case measurements. This is a fairly large watch with a broad bezel on both front and back. All the straight lines and sharp angles additionally give it a bigger look. There are the obvious visual differences in both substances but what I find interesting is that titanium is generally a light material with high tensile strength, while gold is a dense but soft material. What this means is that the experience of wearing each variation should be substantially different, and I personally find this interesting.
Audemars Piguet introduced the Royal Oak Frosted Gold last year to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the first ladies’ Royal Oak, yet the watch garnered significant attention from a male audience despite being aimed squarely at women. In fact, at SIHH earlier this year, AP boss Francois-Henry Bennahmias was wearing a prototype men’s Royal Oak ref. 15400 with the same frosted gold finish. As anticipated, the prototype has made it into production – in a limited edition, no less.
That “frosted” decoration is the result of a collaboration between the Le Brassus watchmaker and Florentine jeweller Carolina Bucci, whose signature technique involves hammering gold with a diamond-tipped tool to create minute indentations on the surface. The result is a fine, tactile and sparkly finish – a decidedly modern approach that mimics the look of gem-encrustation without the jewels.
Understandably, applying this jewellery technique to the angular lines of the Gérald Genta-design came with its challenges. The team had to ensure that the finishing would neither alter the clean lines of the hallmark octagonal bezel nor the fluidity of the bracelet. Consequently, the finishing has to be applied by hand to individual components one at a time. In effect, this hand-finishing technique ensures that each watch is different.
The Frosted Gold watches were originally only available in 33m and 37mm versions for ladies, which were equipped with a quartz calibre and the automatic cal. 3120 respectively. Now the 41mm Frosted Gold for men is powered by the in-house cal. 3120 automatic. It is available only in white gold with a blue “Grande Tapisserie” dial.
Price and Availability
The Royal Oak Frosted Gold for men (ref. 15410BC.GG.1224BC.01) is a limited edition of 200 pieces, and is priced at US$55,000.