CIRCA: 2021
CASE MATERIAL: Titanium and black ceramic
DIAMETER: 42 mm.
STRAP MATERIAL: Purple Audemars Piguet rubber strap
DIAL: Hand-painting white gold 3D black Panther
FUNCTIONS: Flying tourbillon
BUCKLE: Titanium Audemars Piguet deployant clasp
WITH: Audemars Piguet International Warranty Card, product literature, additional Audemars Piguet rubber strap, fitted presentation box and outer packaging
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Lot Essay

Without doubt one of the most exciting releases of 2021, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Black Panther flying tourbillon is the first ‘superhero’ watch to emerge as a result of AP’s new collaboration with Marvel Entertainment. Christie’s is delighted to present here the first example of this titanium limited edition of 250 pieces to be offered at international auction. Furthermore, it is accompanied by the full set of boxes, certificate and accessories.

In true Audemars Piguet style, the company’s association with Marvel Entertainment is both inspired and visionary. In early 2021, rumours among watch collectors and American comic book fans turned to excitement when a promotional teaser video featuring AP’s CEO, François-Henri Bennahmias and actor Don Cheadle appeared online. Shortly after, it was announced that the two companies had officially collaborated to create the first in a proposed series of ‘superhero’ watches. The ‘Black Panther’ flying tourbillon is also the latest addition to the Royal Oak Concept series, entirely fulfilling the spirit of the Concept family in combining the finest haute horology with futuristic design and materials. The pairing of a watch manufacturer of AP’s standing with U.S. entertainment giant Marvel is a quantum leap in brand awareness for Audemars Piguet in ensuring that their watches will reach not only a wider but crucially a new younger audience.

The Black Panther Concept flying tourbillon takes its name and imagery from the Marvel Comics warrior character Black Panther, real name T’Challa, King and protector of the fictional African nation of Wakanda. Black Panther was the first superhero of African descent, who first appeared in July 1966 in American comic books published by Marvel Comics.

The outstanding feature of the Black Panther Concept watch is the laser-cut white gold figure of Black Panther which straddles the tourbillon itself. The minutely detailed hand-engraved figure is extraordinary in the level of its finish which is hand-painted to create shadows and highlights that give the figure an incredible 3D effect to the point that it seems to be almost alive. It takes one of AP’s craftsmen 30 hours of work to complete the Black Panther figure.
The watch’s purple and black colour scheme takes its inspiration from ‘vibranium’, a fictional metal native to Wakanda with a natural purple glow. Black Panther’s suit is supposed to have been made from vibranium. The 42mm case is a new more easily wearable size for the Royal Oak Concept, it is made of sandblasted titanium with satin-brushed titanium inserts. AP’s signature octagonal bezel is made from black ceramic. The watch is powered by the hand-wound manufacture calibre 2965 with one-minute flying tourbillon, the centre of which is emblazoned with the AP logo.

At the star-studded launch event for the Marvel Black Panther Concept watch on 10th April 2021, a unique white gold version was auctioned to raise funds for two charities - First Book and Ashoka. Selling for $5.2 million dollars, this one-off Royal Oak Concept achieved a world-record, not only for the model but for the brand, becoming the most expensive Audemars Piguet watch ever.

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