Monochrome Watches
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Introducing

Carolina Bucci Redefines The Royal Oak With A Crazy Rainbow 3D Sapphire Tapisserie Dial

The iconic tapisserie pattern reinterpreted in an ever-changing rainbow of colours on the all-black ceramic Royal Oak. Going, going, gone…

calendar | ic_dehaze_black_24px By Rebecca Doulton | ic_query_builder_black_24px 4 min read |
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding 34mm Black Ceramic Carolina Bucci Rainbow Sapphire 77350CE.OO.1266CE.02

A 50th anniversary is a big deal, and Audemars Piguet is making hay while the sun shines. We’ve seen plenty of birthday treats this year, including the much-anticipated anniversary Jumbo, but nothing quite like this mesmerising full-black ceramic Royal Oak made with Italian jewellery designer Carolina Bucci. Marking her third collaboration with AP, Bucci is renowned by AP fans for her glistening Frosted Gold cases. For this latest project, Bucci puts away her hammer and dreams up a fascinating transformation of the iconic guilloché tapisserie design that Gerald Genta used on the maiden voyage of the Royal Oak in 1972. The unexpected and entirely on-trend face of the Royal Oak beguiles with an ever-changing iridescent rainbow dial that will be as hard to pin down as the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.  

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding 34mm Black Ceramic Carolina Bucci Rainbow Sapphire 77350CE.OO.1266CE.02

From frosted gold to rainbows

Since its debut in 1972, the Royal Oak became the precursor and has since commanded the market for luxury sports watches. Gerald Genta’s iconic design, with an octagonal bezel and exposed screws, an integrated steel bracelet, and a tapisserie (chequerboard) guilloché dial, has been judiciously steered by AP to reflect the changing times without ever losing its soul. Revisited in different case materials, including an all-black ceramic case and bracelet in 2021, perhaps the most surprising material was the Frosted Gold case created by Florentine jeweller Carolina Bucci to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the women’s Royal Oak in 2016. Although the idea of taking a hammer to a watch might make your hair stand on end, Carolina Bucci is a fourth-generation jeweller from the Florentine Bucci jewellery dynasty and dominates the gold hammering technique. Using a diamond-tipped tool to create tiny indentations in the metal, the result produces a discreet sparkle that is never flashy. Seducing men and women alike, the Frosted Gold case has become part of the Royal Oak inventory.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding 34mm Black Ceramic Carolina Bucci Rainbow Sapphire 77350CE.OO.1266CE.02

Like the Frosted Gold, the effect Bucci has achieved on the dial of this watch is undoubtedly novel but surprisingly subtle. Bucci’s description of the dial captures its essence perfectly: “I wanted to place a rainbow in the most unexpected of places, a little like when you see oil floating on a puddle in a city street…So you have every colour of the spectrum on a canvas that is completely black, which is itself the absence of colour.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding 34mm Black Ceramic Carolina Bucci Rainbow Sapphire 77350CE.OO.1266CE.02

Interpreting Genta’s 1972 tapisserie or chequerboard pattern in a far more contemporary key, Bucci has dispensed with guilloché and uses a modern micro-structuring technique to engrave the small squares on the surface of a sapphire disc. The small squares are then covered with a thin film of gold via metallisation. The sapphire disc with the tapisserie pattern, which is mirror polished and placed on top of a black brass plate, acts like a prism and refracts the light creating a spectrum of ever-changing rainbow colours. And, as AP points out, the “pattern of iridescent colours varies from dial to dial, making each design unique”.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding 34mm Black Ceramic Carolina Bucci Rainbow Sapphire 77350CE.OO.1266CE.02

sleek black ceramic

The contrast of the subtle yet ever-changing colours of the dial with the black ceramic case and bracelet adds more allure to the dark, very urban personality of this watch. With a slim, sleek height of 8.8mm, the ceramic case and the integrated bracelet display satin finishings throughout and polished chamfers to attract the light.

Responding to the design evolutions applied to the 34mm Black Ceramic in light of the 50th-anniversary celebrations, the dial features the applied pink gold indices and hands to match the eight pink gold screws on the bezel and the pink gold insert in the crown. Another tweak is the calibration of the indices and hands, now standardised across the collection. One of the evolutions that has not made its way onto the dial of this limited-edition piece is the 24k pink gold applied signature (replacing the AP monogram) for the very simple reason that it would interfere with the spectacle of the dial. Instead, the brand name is engraved on the sapphire plate and filled with white lacquer, matching the numerals in the date window at 3 o’clock and the white minutes track. Both the pink gold hour markers and Royal Oak hands are treated with luminescent coating.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding 34mm Black Ceramic Carolina Bucci Rainbow Sapphire 77350CE.OO.1266CE.02

The bracelet also responds to the 50th-anniversary design evolutions, and the pins connecting the links to the studs are no longer visible from the side but directly integrated into the studs.

Calibre 5800

The movement, which can be seen from the sapphire opening on the titanium caseback, is not an in-house movement. Produced by high-end movement maker Vaucher, calibre 5800 is an ultra-slim automatic movement with a 4Hz/28,800vph frequency and a power reserve of 50 hours. The 22k pink gold rotor is decorated with microbead-blasted, polished and satin finishings. The titanium section of the caseback is engraved with the inscription “Limited Edition Carolina Bucci”.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding 34mm Black Ceramic Carolina Bucci Rainbow Sapphire 77350CE.OO.1266CE.02

Availability & Price

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding 34mm Ceramic Carolina Bucci 77350CE.OO.1266CE.02 is a limited edition of 300 pieces and retails for CHF 48,500EUR 52,500 or USD 54,200.

For more information, please visit Audemars Piguet.com.

https://monochrome-watches.com/audemars-piguet-royal-oak-selfwinding-34mm-black-ceramic-carolina-bucci-rainbow-sapphire-dial-77350ce-oo-1266ce-02-introducing-price/

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