Haute Couture Week in Paris for the spring 2024 season has begun—and although it’s easy to assume that the worlds of high fashion and watchmaking exist on radically different planets, the two are more similar than the average consumer might realize. Both rely heavily on precise craftsmanship; technical specificity; and rare, high-grade materials. It should come as no surprise, then, that the two worlds might collide. And they have, for the partnership between Audemars Piguet and designer Tamara Ralph.
Audemars Piguet, a heritage fine watchmaking house based in Le Brassus since 1875, has always looked to the world at large for inspiration. Over the years, the brand has fostered cross-discipline creative dialogues, including with the world of haute couture. Their partnership with Tamara Ralph began in 2020, when their watches were paired with her spring 2021 prêt-à-porter collection. For 2024, the two have collaborated on the design of a Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon, a limited-edition piece inspired by Ralph’s couture universe.
Ralph, who is a fourth-generation couturier and one of only three female creative directors to be invited to show during Paris’s coveted couture schedule, worked with Audemars to create a watch inspired by the bold femininity and textured detail of her own work. The Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon “Tamara Ralph” Limited Edition timepiece features an 18-carat pink gold case adorned with frosted gold. Resulting from an ancient Florentine jewelry technique in which tiny indentations are created on a gold surface with a diamond-tipped tool, the case has a sparkle effect similar to that of a precious stone.
A feat of technical mastery and elegance, the watch’s multilayered dial is composed of four overlapping circular pink-gold plates, which create a ripple effect as they emanate from the flying tourbillon cage at 6 o’clock. Coordinating with the architecture of the dial, the flying tourbillon incorporates three rings radiating from a disc paved with 19 brilliant-cut diamonds. The pieces can be worn on interchangeable bronze and brown alligator straps.
In a press release, Ralph states that her “intention for the design of this piece is for it to capture the spirit and craftsmanship of both my brand as well as Audemars Piguet. The complications of watchmaking orchestrate a foundation which can be played with in terms of textures, colors, and designs, allowing for the savoir-faire of couture to shine through.” The piece will be presented on January 22nd, during the designer’s runway show in Paris. More information on the Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon “Tamara Ralph” Limited Edition can be found on audemarspiguet.com