While the “Royal Oak” part of this watch is something that might feel familiar to most of you, there’s another part of the name of this impressive Audemars Piguet that will certainly need some more explanations, and that is the “Supersonnerie” part… The 2.0 version of the minute repeater, a watch that carries 3 patents and multiple unprecedented technical solutions, the Supersonnerie is all about remarkable acoustic performances – an idea that goes back to the 2016 Concept RD1 Acoustic Research Minute Repeater. Today, the brand is unveiling a new version of its Royal Oak Minute Repeater Supersonnerie, entirely crafted in titanium, with a smoked grey dial.
The Supersonnerie concept
Developed by Audemars Piguet and launched in 2016 in the Royal Oak Concept collection, the Supersonnerie mechanism endows this new minute repeater model with the volume and resonance usually associated with pocket watches. This patented technology results from 8 years of research in collaboration with EPFL, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne. Inspired by the sonic power of older minute repeater watches as well as by the harmony of musical instruments, a dedicated community of watchmakers, technicians, academics and musicians reviewed the case construction to produce a new chiming technology. It has since been applied to an even more complex Grande Sonnerie Carillon.
While the architecture of the movement itself and the way the time is stroke is fairly similar to other minute repeater watches, the brand has worked on multiple aspects to enhance the acoustic performance and upgrade the sound quality and harmonic tone. For instance, the gongs are not attached to the mainplate, but to a new device acting as a soundboard, which improves sound transmission and boosts sound amplification – the module visible on the caseback, acting as a resonator. Also, the striking regulator – the device that sets the pace of the hours, quarters and minutes chiming sequence – has been revised and now incorporates an innovative, more flexible anchor system that absorbs shocks and eliminates unwanted noise. Furthermore, an astute mechanical modification of the chiming sequence has mitigated the quarter-hour pause between the chiming of the minutes and the hours, when the watch does not strike the quarter hours. Last but not least, a security function prevents the wearer from activating the hand-setting function while the minute repeater mechanism is striking.
The Supersonnerie function is powered by the in-house Calibre 2953, a hand-wound movement made of 362 parts and beating at 3Hz. It stores up to 72 hours of power reserve and brings energy to the minute repeater mechanism, as well as the time display.
New RO Titanium attire
While the idea of a Royal Oak Minute Repeater Supersonnerie isn’t new, as we’ve seen already multiple editions of this watch in past years, the brand is now releasing a new, monochromatic and sleek edition of its high-end chiming watch, with new materials and colours.
The 42mm case of the RO Supersonnerie is now crafted from grade 5 titanium, with polished and brushed surfaces – all classic for a Royal Oak watch. In addition to being light and resistant, titanium is also a material of choice for a minute repeater, with its characteristic sound and known virtues when it comes to amplifying the chime of the repeater. This new Royal Oak Minute Repeater Supersonnerie 26591TI is worn on a classic titanium bracelet.
New to the model too is the dial, with the emblematic “Grande Tapisserie” pattern, now offered in a sleek smoked grey colour with gradient effect. The small seconds at 6 o’clock is black-toned and the watch retains the classic white gold applied hour-markers and Royal Oak hands with luminescent coating.
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Minute Repeater Supersonnerie Titanium (ref. 26591TI.OO.1252TI.03) won’t be limited in numbers but production will be, as expected, in low volumes. Price is upon request, but expect in excess of CHF 350,000. For more details, please visit www.audemarspiguet.com.