Audemars PIguet Royal Oak Laptimer Michael Schumacher
Last week, in Switzerland, Audemars Piguet unveiled a world’s first in mechanical watch movements — the Royal Oak Concept Latimer Micheal Schumacher watch, named for the seven-time Formula One world champion driver and brand ambassador who first challenged Audemars Piguet to build the watch five years ago.
Created specifically for motorsport use, the timepiece is meant to measure every single lap for an extended series of consecutive laps — instead of having to use multiple watches to do so. Schumacher asked Audemars Piguet in 2010 if such a watch could be built. Unfortunately, during the R&D process, the legendary racecar driver suffered a serious injury while skiing (in 2013). However, at the family's wish, the brand carried on, marking the first time it had ever developed a movement at the request of a brand ambassador.
The Royal Oak Concept Laptimer Michael Schumacher watch offers alternating consecutive lap timing with two hands that take turns standing still to mark the lap time and flying back to start the next lap time. While the next lap is being timed, the user must record the lap time before the hands start to move again at the close of the next lap.
The hand-wound Manufacture caliber 2923 Laptimer Chronograph movement plays home to 413 individual pieces, including double barrels and double springs, to offer 80 hours of power reserve (or 50 hours when the chronograph lap-timer functions are engaged), and a column-wheel chronograph with a dual-angular indexing system so one chronograph drives two central hands independently.
The watch is cased in a 44mm forged carbon Concept case with a titanium bezel and caseback, and ceramic and 18-karat pink gold pushers. The watch features a blackened open-worked dial and the caseback features Michael Schumacher’s initials. On the Laptimer pusher side, seven stars are engraved to mark Schumacher’s seven F1 World Championship titles. Just 221 pieces will be made—each retailing for $229,500. This is just one example of the brand's technical prowess.