In about a month’s time, manufactures, journalists and watch aficionados will decend upon Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie. Before they do, some manufactures like Audemars Piguet are giving us a sneak peak of some of the 2014 novelties. The Royal Oak Concept GMT Tourbillon being one of them.

SIHH will open its doors from the 20th to 24th of January 2014. Here is a sneak peak behind the doors at the Audemars Piguet booth. What stands out most with this piece is the striking white ceramic bezel. AP has made some great advances in the use of various materials such as ceramics and carbon fibres. The Concept GMT Tourbillon is an iteration of the initial Royal Oak Concept introduced in 2002. The white theme is carried onto the vrown and pushers as well, providing a striking contrast to the strong and lightweight titanium case. However it doesn’t stop there, ceramic even extends to the movement itself in the upper bridge.

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Ceramic crown and pushers look quite surreal

The caliber 2930′s use of ceramic comes to the strength and scratch resistency of the material. The downside of ceramic though is the difficulty in working with the material. Special tools and machines are needed to shape and polish ceramic. As a comparison, a steel Royal Oak bezel takes 45 minutes to machine, but a ceramic one takes 8 hours. Yes 8 hours just for a bezel.
The movement beats at 21,600 vph and features a twin barrel providing a 10 day power reserve, a GMT complication, and who can forget the tourbillon also. The tourbillon itself sits within a cage that is made up on 85 components and is painstakingly put together by master watchmakers at AP. To increase precision and reliability, AP simply didn’t just link two barrels together, they feed the power to a geartrain at the one time by bridging the two with a single pinion. By doing so, the watch can run quite accurately for 10 days before winding is required.

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The tourbillon and cage

On the dial you’ll also notice a H, N and R indicator. As you pull the crown out, this indication changes telling you which mode you are in. i.e. GMT setting, neutral or winding mode. The GMT is clearly displayed at the 3 hour marker and can be adjusted by pressing the pusher at the 4 hour marker. The GMT dial is actually two dials overlapping each other. One has the hours marked on it, the other is a disc that is coloured to tell the user whether it is day (white) or night (black).

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GMT indicator

This is a technically brilliant watch with a very modern appeal to it. Some will enjoy AP pushing the boundaries, however some would like a more classic touch. We would’ve liked this watch to come with a metal bracelet rather than rubber strap. Let’s see if AP make any changes for SIHH 2014. We look forward to surprises from AP and other manufactures.

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