It didn’t seem that long ago when I penned an opinion piece on Audemars Piguet and Marvel’s first collaboration model – and what that means for the brand. Now just a little over two years later, we’re presented with the second watch in this exciting partnership, featuring none other than our friendliest neighbourhood hero, Spider-Man.
There are a whole roster of superheroes to pick from in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but Spider-Man wins the second round – he is one of the most popular superheroes after all, and a safe choice.
There are a lot of similarities between the first launch and this one. The watch, in the Royal Oak Concept line, is in 42mm titanium and black ceramic, open worked to showcase the exquisite mechanics of the timepiece, including the tourbillon at 6 o’clock. The design too, features a literal effigy of the superhero; this time it’s Spider-Man naturally, engraved in such a life-like manner that the miniature almost seems to jump out of the watch case. The watch is also limited to 250 pieces, with a unique piece that will be auctioned off to benefit the First Book and Ashoka associations.
“With great power comes great responsibility,” CEO Francois-Henry Bennahmias quips. “We are pleased to reiterate our commitment to First Book and Ashoka’s work to empower young people to become agents of change; they are our real-life heroes.” The watchmaker also supported these two non-profit organisations the first time around, which are dedicated to empowering young people to create change and a positive impact.
But unlike the first Marvel watch, this one is completely openworked. The last time we spoke with Bennahmias, the watch was in the works already and he told us – the only thing he could tell us at that time – “You feel that the character is coming out of the watch – it’s not even in the watch any more. It’s crazy.”
But it’s true. Even just from the photos. Inside beats the hand-wound calibre 2974, and it took all of AP’s open working expertise to reduce the movement’s architecture to the bare minimum and create a three-dimensional depth in the watch in such a way that Spidey himself looks to be suspended in the void. The miniature is first cut from a block of white gold using a CNC machine. Then, his suit is laser-engraved on to get all the minute textural details. Then, touch-ups and engravings are done by hand by a single artisan to achieve AP’s strict standards of finishing. Then, Spider-man requires hand-painting – matte red and metallic blue for contrast. No less than 50 hours of work are put in every figurine, pushing the limits of the craftsmanship in the manufacture at Le Brassus.
On the dial, even the Arabic numerals on the hour markers are comic-book-like, a testament to the level of thought and detail that went into this timepiece.
On the unique Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon “Black Suit Spider-Man”, the white gold case is dressed with a spider leg motif, which is first laser-engraved and then filled with luminescent hybrid ceramic. The Spider-Man that appears in this unique version wears a black suit, in reference to the one worn in the 1980s comics, notably The Amazing Spider-Man #252 in 1984.
The new launch also marks the release of an interchangeable strap on the 42mm Royal Oak Concept – the watch comes equipped with a black and grey rubber strap with a titanium AP buckle. A second strap in black and red rubber is included, to match the famous suit of the Marvel superhero.