An Introduction To The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Laptimer Michael Schumacher
For the first time in its history, Audemars Piguet are developing a new movement at the request of one of its ambassadors – Michael Schumacher. The idea came back in 2010 from Michael himself when he first became an ambassador for the brand. He asked the engineers if it would be possible to create a movement (or complication) that could not only measure, but also record a series of consecutive lap times, a challenge that AP accepted.
This seems simple, however it is far more complicated than expected. In order to record laps, common practice would be to use two or perhaps more stopwatches arranged in a series. Imagine how hard it would be to record consecutive laps with just the one stopwatch.
Five years later, after extensive research and development, Audemars Piguet are set to release the first timepiece to feature two indexing systems on a single chronograph, each with their own memory.
For all of these complications to function together a highly sophisticated movement would surely have had to be created, and as you’d expect, it was. The number of components, or parts that we’re used to create this movement totalled at 413, which seems a huge amount considering they only added one extra function. Numbers like this start to make you realise how difficult this project actually was.
This Schumacher comes in the usual Royal Oak Concept style, often argued to be Audemars Piguet’s playfield for new innovations and movements. The central part of this 44mm case is created from forged carbon whilst the octagonal bezel and the caseback are made from titanium. The pushers are made from black ceramic and pink gold. It comes on a rubber strap with a titanium folding buckle. The watch is 12.70mm think, and is pretty sensibly sized. The face of the watch has large openings to sneak a peak into the mechanicals of the watch, with wide white gold skeletonized hands that glow in the dark.
Many references to Michael Schumacher can be identified around the timepiece. Firstly, there are seven stars marked on the left side of the case in honor of Schumacher’s seven World Championship wins, as well as the ‘MS’ inscription that can be found on the caseback and the lapitimer at 9 o’clock.
This limited edition Schumacher piece will be limited to 221 pieces, further paying homage to the career of this racing legend as that was the number of F1 World Championship point winning races that he competed in. The price is £175,000 for one of these limited timepieces, with a percentage of the proceeds going to the ICM (Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle Epinière). The ICM is an international brain and spinal cord research centre.
The Concept Laptimer will be the second watch to hold the name Schumacher, the first being the Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph Michael Schumacher from 2012. Similarly to the new Laptimer, Michael was involved in the creation in this 2012 chronograph, helping with the design. The first Schumacher was produced in limited editions of 1000 pieces in titanium, 500 pieces in rose Gold and 100 in platinum.
We at Luxe Watches hope to be one of the lucky 221 who’ll be able to pick up this piece and offer it to all of our customers.