Unique concept

In 2015, Audemars Piguet awakened sound with the Royal Oak Concept RD#1 – the most sonically considered concept watch of modern times, propelling acoustic performance in chiming watches to unparalleled levels. Eight years in the making, with the watchmaker as key sound producer, that concept timepiece presented dynamic innovations that defied practical restrictions, such as waterproofing.

Groundbreaking reality

Now, just 12 months later, that concept has become reality. In 2016, Audemars Piguet presents an outstanding new wristwatch: the Royal Oak Concept Supersonnerie, a minute repeater of superior acoustic intensity with a supremely clear, sustained tone. Three new pioneering chiming sound developments have become technological achievements, patented innovations. Presented in a super-light titanium case, this exclusive-production timepiece is precision-made to awaken sound. It brings unprecedented acoustic performance, exceptionally refined sound quality and the clear, harmonic tone of traditional pocket-watches to a contemporary minute repeater wristwatch.

The sound awakened

Since the Manufacture was founded, generations of watchmakers have progressed complex mechanisms created in Le Brassus into future-forward technologies through every decade of the 20th and 21st centuries.

That tradition continues through our pioneering chiming watches sound study programme, started in 2006, in collaboration with the EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne). Today, sound-measurement facilities are installed at the Manufacture, where various amplification methods, such as an anechoic chamber and microphone recordings, assist a dedicated team of watchmakers, artisans, technicians and academics in creating chiming technologies for the future. Restrictions of necessary technology, such as waterproofing, which diffuses sound, are being overcome; acoustic performance is scientifically augmented.

Pure harmony

The outcome of the study programme is a new method for pre-preparing the steel used to create the gong structure, to achieve a unique minute repeater sound. A scientific system of performance targets was devised according to material cross-section, length and rigidity. Today, these pre-defined targets anticipate the final performance of the steel used by the watchmaker to make the gongs, assisting him to hone the right pitch, tone, and harmony. The result is a shortened, precision-mastered tuning process and a unique sound.

Rare quality

The Royal Oak Concept Supersonnerie presents a newly developed case construction that prevents sound absorption, boosting amplification. In traditional minute repeater technology, the gongs are fixed to the mainplate. In the Royal Oak Concept Supersonnerie they are attached to a new device, a material spread beneath the movement that acts as a soundboard. Now, the gongs transmit vibrations directly to the soundboard – not to the mainplate. The technology functions like the upper body of a guitar. With the vibration-to-air system improved, sound quality, tone and amplification are richer.

Brighter tone

The striking regulator – the device that sets the pace of the striking sequence of hours, quarters and minutes – is redesigned. The anchor system is more flexible and becomes a shock absorber so that unwanted shock noise – created on action – is eliminated. Noise is almost imperceptible; poor frequencies are diminished and the pure, clear sound created by the watchmaker is freed. The result: a brighter, cleaner tone.