This is my full report… The Royal Oak Concept Laptimer Michael Schumacher is the world’s first mechanical chronograph with alternating consecutive lap timing and flyback-function.
In 2010 Michael Schumacher approached Audemars Piguet and asked the family-owned manufactory to develop a very specific chronograph for him.
Yesterday Audemars Piguet CEO François-Henry Bennahmias explained us:
“From the outset, Michael explained that he did not want to develop a watch to use while in the cockpit of a race car, but one which would enable him to time laps accurately from track side when, for example, he was mentoring young drivers or advising on how a car’s performance might be improved.”
In fact this was a horological challenge that had never before been met in a mechanical watch, not to mention in a wrist watch, and one that was inspired by motor racing’s very specific requirement to be able to time and compare multiple, consecutive laps. Latter a task that has traditionally been carried out using a bank of two or more stop watches arranged in series.
François-Henry Bennahmias: “Now, after almost five years of development we can claim to have conquered that challenge and we are honoured to be able to pay tribute to the greatest F1 driver of all time by unveiling the Royal Oak Concept Laptimer Michael Schumacher. Our Royal Oak Concept is the world’s first luxury watch to feature two angular indexing systems on a single chronograph, each with an independent mechanical memory.”
If you ask yourself at that point: Why presenting the watch after Michaels accident? Please listen to Sabine Kehm, Michael´s agent, she underlines the full support of the Schumacher family for the project.
So the Royal Oak Concept Laptimer Michael Schumacher is the first motorsport-specific watch to feature a complication imagined by a celebrated driver and it is the first time that a movement has been developed from scratch by Audemars Piguet at the behest of an ambassador.
The Royal Oak Concept Laptimer Michael Schumacher will be the second Audemars Piguet chronograph to carry the name of the celebrated driver, the first being the Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph Michael Schumacher of 2012 which he helped to design and which was produced in an edition of 1,000 units in titanium, 500 in pink gold and 100 in platinum.
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Laptimer Michael Schumacher features a single chronograph driving two central hands that 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 reset the chronograph
- the third push piece sited at the nine o’clock position
This third push piece makes it possible to simultaneously stop either of the two chronograph hands, while returning the other 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 The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Laptimer Michael Schumacher negates the need for two or more hand-held timing devices, streamlining the operation within a single wrist (!) chronograph.
Alternatively, the Royal Oak Concept can keep a certain lap time as reference, stopping one hand with the lap timer 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.
If you wish the timepiece can also be used as a “standard” flyback-chronograph with both hands running together in parallel.
The voice you hear is from Tim Sayer, he is the Chief Marketing Officer of Audemars Piguet…
Now Giulio Papi, head of Audemars Piguet (Renaud et Papi) SA in Le Locle, tries to explain the new chronograph …
You have to see these two videos… Giulio Papi live! 🙂
and here is the video of the presentation Giulio Papi refers to…
Hand-wound Audemars Piguet (Renaud et Papi) Manufacture calibre 2923.
Laptimer Chronograph with double central second hands, flyback, 30 minutes counter, small seconds, hours and minutes.
Total diameter: 34.60 mm (151⁄4 lines).
Total thickness: 12.70 mm.
Number of jewels: 34.
Number of parts: 413.
Minimal guaranteed power reserve: 80 hours.
Frequency of balance wheel: 4 Hz (28,800 vibrations/hour).
Finishing & decoration: Maillechort mainplate and central bridge, circular grained and blackened, blackened titanium upper-bridge, blackened balance-wheel bridge, black polished steel column-wheels, linear-grained and sandblasted steel levers, linear- grained steel springs and bevelled and linear-grained bridges.
One column wheel, located at the six o’clock position, controls the chronograph sequence, while the two at the 12 o’clock position control the complex lap timer sequence.
The gear train is driven by two mainspring barrels set in parallel that provide double of power reserve. To ensure exceptionally smooth operation the watch features conical gear teeth that mesh seamlessly and accurately at all points in the movement’s cycle for a perfectly linear torque transmission.
A new oscillating wheel coupling mechanism has been developed for jerk-free action when the chronograph is stopped or started.
The new Audemars Piguet 2923 calibre operates at a frequency of 4 Hertz = 28,800 A/h and features a variable-inertia balance wheel. 4 Hertz means it is capable of recording times down to one-eighth of a second.
Due to the complexity of the movement’s construction, it contains several unusually long and slim components that would not operate satisfactorily using traditional lubricating methods. Audemars Piguet chose solid lubricants which will not deteriorate easily and which will remain consistent and offer exceptional longevity.
Forged carbon case, curved glareproofed sapphire crystal, titanium caseback with glareproofed sapphire crystal, titanium bezel, black ceramic and 18-carat pink gold screw-locked crown, black ceramic and 18-carat pink gold pushpieces, black ceramic Laptimer pushpiece with MS logo, titanium pushpieces guards.
Water-resistant to 50 metres.
Openworked black dial, 30 minutes counter at 3 o’clock, white gold Royal Oak hands with luminescent coating, black inner bezel.
Black rubber strap with titanium AP folding clasp.
Limited to 221 pieces
Price: 226.900 CHF
>>> On page 2 you find more of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Laptimer Michael Schumacher >>>
Wow, probably the best sports chronograph ever. The height of the watch looks to be huge. I understand that a concept watch has to show off a little, for the “final” watch, I’d rather see a standard AP dial than a sceletonized dial that is distracting from reading the time an chrono.
Thanks for your report, Alexander!
I agree with Dartagnan too. A brilliant bit of mechanism design. I am trying to think who will by one aside from the usual oil sheikhs. Aha! Bernie Ecclestone, he can afford it.
Just as an aside; were the guests encouraged to take the watch apart? I see the array of screwdrivers and other tools.
I generally like these AP concept watches. They really show the excellent watchmaking capabilities and freedom to operate of the still family owned company.
But… these two screws really seem to be inserted the wrong way on purpose… Alex, do you know the (possible) reason?
And Mr. Bennahmias, does he suffer from a cold? He would look much better leaving away the hideous scarf.
No, these were still the first cases and not yet watches ready to be sold. Take it as granted that the watches that are going to be sold will be more then perfect
Wonderful report, Alexander! I am reminded and saddened of Schumacher’s greatness and tragedy.
On to the watch: what an amazing complication AP developed. Beautiful movement innovation and well executed.
Typically, I am not a fan of open dials (i.e., Hublot), and that would be my only criticism. I think a closed dial would improve legibility, especially on a “timing machine” like this. Is there any significance to the shape that is visible from the dial side? It looks somewhat like a Maltese cross…
Thanks a lot for providing us with fantastic videos as well as lovely pictures!
I think the videos were recorded by Audemars Piguet, am I right?
No, all videos are mine. I always use my material and I always film with my equipment. Either camera or iPhone
You mentioned the price would be 226,900 CHF, how much would it be in Euros or US Dollars?
Michael Schumacher is one of my favourite sportspersons, that is why I want to know the price of this watch, as I won’t be able to afford to buy this watch unless I win a state lottery.
Incredible machine! Magnificent. The chronograph is one of the more difficult complications to make, the split-second so much more; the flyback too is difficult. Chronograph with an alternating split-second flyback – holy ****!
You name it: “holy ****!”
Comments are closed.