Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept GMT Tourbillon 2014 Watch
Childhood friends Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet - both from Le Brassus, Switzerland - joined together in 1875 (at ages 24 and 22, respectively) to develop and craft watches. Six years later they founded “Audemars Piguet & Cie”, creating what is now the oldest watchmaking company that is still owned by its founding families. Their timepieces - which were, initially, basic chronometers - have evolved since then and are now designed to exude class, status, luxury and prestige, giving their pieces a different style. They have created a brand that is now a symbol of success and wealth. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Collection was first launched in 1972, and was the first top-of-the-line sports watch. It was the world's first stainless steel luxury timepiece, changing the way that stainless steel pieces were seen – until then, gold had been the only option for high-end watches. The Royal Oak collection was named after British Royal Navy battleships; which were, themselves, named for the tree where King Charles II hid from his enemies. The first Royal Oak piece had a gold component & included some gold in the interior of the watch. The idea was to protect the gold, within a strong, watertight case. The success of this collection has caused other luxury watchmaking brands to start creating steel pieces, leading to steel becoming nearly essential for high-end sports watches. This success has also encouraged the company to develop laboratories that specialize in exploring and using other new materials for both cases and movements, such as titanium, alacrite, forged carbon and ceramics. Tourbillon is a French word, meaning "whirlwind". However, in the watchmaking industry, it refers to a complex feature that is present in some high-end timepieces. It is a historic complication (a function other than a watch's ability to tell the time), developed by Abraham-Louis Breguet. It was originally designed to improve the accuracy of pocket timepieces by protecting the tiny parts inside the watch that are vulnerable to gravity, which may distort them and cause accuracy fluctuations, depending on the position in which the watch is kept - although, it is also an incredible and beautiful think to watch in action. It was often an obscure, though interesting, feature in mechanical watches until the latter part of the 20th century; when mechanical pieces became an almost exclusively luxury item. Tourbillon watches are exquisite, magnificent and unique; which is why they evoke admiration and awe in those lucky enough to own one – as well as those who have the opportunity to see one close-up. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept GMT Tourbillon will make it's debut at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) 2014 in Geneva. This watch features a white ceramic bezel, crown and push pieces - instead of black. It has a sculpted titanium case middle and wa white ceramic bezel which frames the tourbillon carriage and second ‘GMT’ time-zone display, inside. It also newly offers an intricately machined upper bridge made of white ceramic - made possible by the company's ongoing advances in materials science.