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Hero worship | Audemars Piguet limited-edition Royal Oak Concept “Black Panther” Flying Tourbillon

Audemars Piguet has kicked off its partnership with Marvel in blockbuster style, unveiling the new Royal Oak Concept “Black Panther” Flying Tourbillon in Los Angeles

Audemars Piguet is already a Hollywood superstar of a watch brand. Everyone from Will Smith to Dwayne Johnson, Denzel Washington to Don Cheadle owns one.

But now it’s a Hollywood superhero of a watch brand, too.

To launch its new long-term collaboration with Marvel Entertainment, the Le Brassus brand flew to Los Angeles for a one-hour publicly broadcast live show. This was big thinking from one of the watch world’s biggest hitters.

It was also fun, knowingly OTT and refreshingly unstuffy. (Can you imagine one of the other ‘big three’ watch manufacturers doing anything like this?)

The show started with Audemars Piguet Chief Executive Officer François-Henry Bennahmias landing in a helicopter before receiving a call from the show’s host Kevin Hart to berate him for his tardiness. A watch CEO arriving late? Pas possible!

One Audi R8 and one studio golf buggy later, he joins Hart on stage at Studio M accompanied by in-house band Free Nationals for the beginning of the show.

Audemars Piguet limited-edition Royal Oak Concept “Black Panther” Flying Tourbillon
Audemars Piguet limited-edition Royal Oak Concept “Black Panther” Flying Tourbillon

AP rolled out a troop of A Listers for the affair, including LeBron James, Anthony Joshua and Mark Ronson.

For the occasion, Serena Williams and Ian Poulter joined AJ in auctioned off dedicated lots in profit of an educational programme developed by Audemars Piguet with First Book and Ashoka.

The real star of this particular show was AP’s latest watch launch – the limited-edition Royal Oak Concept “Black Panther” Flying Tourbillon.

Limited to 250 pieces, this 42mm watch is the first iteration of AP’s Marvel heroes watch series.

Based on the iconic Royal Oak, this first Marvel version has leant in hard.

The flying tourbillon is certainly a fitting complication to celebrate the gravity-defying heroics of a superhero. (You can’t really imagine them plumping for a minute repeater, can you?)

The face is adorned with a carved and hand-painted rendition of Marvel’s Black Panther, composed of white gold. It’s an impressive tribute to the character famously played by Chadwick Boseman, who sadly passed away last year.

Audemars Piguet capped off the auction by selling a unique version of this timepiece, which boasted a white gold case and a bezel entirely engraved by hand with a motif inspired by Black Panther. It sold for $5.2m – a world record price for any Audemars Piguet.

The appeal of the Marvel universe has never been so, well, universal – and joining forces with one of the world’s most exciting watch brands has already proven itself to be a winning combination.

See more about the collaboration at the brand’s website

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