The scoop of a very special Audemars Piguet Royal Oak dedicated to Michael Schumacher was out earlier this week, but officially, it was only presented tonight, at a launch event organized at Corinna Schumacher’s ranch in Givrins, in the Swiss canton of Vaud. The guest were welcomed to a seated dinner by François-Henry Bennahmias, CEO of Audemars Piguet, and Sabine Kehm, Michael Schumacher’s agent and longtime friend.
This is not an ordinary Royal Oak — oh dear, how do I dare using the word “ordinary” in the same sentence with Royal Oak – as it is a groundbreaking model for several reasons.
First of all, the idea to develop this model came from Schumi himself. Back in 2010, when he became an Audemars Piguet ambassador, he asked AP’s engineers: would it be possible to create a mechanical wrist watch designed specifically for use in motorsport which would measure and record an extended series of consecutive lap times?
AP took the challenge and after five years of research and development the Royal Oak Concept Laptimer is the first motorsport-specific watch to feature a complication with two angular indexing systems on a single chronograph, each with an independent memory.
The chronograph is driving two central hands which can be controlled independently via three push-pieces – the first sited at the conventional two o’clock position to start and stop the chronograph; the second sited at the four o’clock position to re-set the chronograph, and the all-important third push-piece sited at the nine o’clock position.
This third pushpiece makes it possible to simultaneously stop either of the two chronograph hands, while returning the other hand to zero and restarting it – meaning that, while the time of the most recent lap is being noted down, timing of the next lap is already underway. The watch therefore negates the need for two or more hand-held timing devices, streamlining the operation within a single wrist chronograph.
Alternatively, the watch can keep a certain lap time as reference, stopping one hand with the laptimer button, and using the flyback function on the other chronograph hand with the pusher at 4 o’clock to restart the measurement of each new lap.
Finally, the timepiece can be used as a “standard” flyback chronograph with both hands running together in parallel.
The Royal Oak Concept Laptimer Michael Schumacher will be limited to 221 pieces, to honour the number of F1 World Championship point-winning races in which he competed.
It is the first time, Audemars Piguet would develop from scratch a new movement at the request of one if its ambassadors. A remarkable sign of esteem from the part of AP for Michael Schumacher. The price $229,500 is equally remarkable…
Before you go, here is a super-cool promo video by AP of the ROCLT:
More about Audermars Piget at www.audemarspiguet.com