Published on November 28th, 2014 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Audemars Piguet Acoustic Research – Episode 1, The Sound Awakens
Exceptional engineering and the power of sound merge in one of the most innovative concept watches created by a Swiss haute horlogerie watchmaking house. The result of an in-depth eight-year sound research programme with three patents pending, this new Royal Oak Concept watch, a unique prototype, will be unveiled by Audemars Piguet at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie 2015 (SIHH) in Geneva.
Engineered within Audemars Piguet’s acoustic research lab, this new Royal Oak Concept is the first chiming watch so acoustically considered as to become a sound concept in its own right. It has been sonically developed through an ongoing acoustic study programme in collaboration with the EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) and it took three years to transfer that technological study into a watch concept. The result is scientifically defined sonic targets for watchmakers to measure and attain the ‘perfect’ minute repeater sound at a volume level never achieved before.
By applying the principles of stringed instrument making, Audemars Piguet has made a breakthrough in the acoustic quality of chiming watch technology and significantly enhanced sound transmission. In parallel, the Manufacture has innovated to overcome the necessary restrictions of water-resistance, which naturally dampens volume, with creative solutions increasing sound intensity. Finally, to further improve sound perception, Audemars Piguet developed a new almost silent striking mechanism regulator. The result? The volume, pitch, tones and harmony of sound in a modern water-resistant minute repeater watch are all scientifically enhanced.
For the first time in the history of chiming wristwatches, this timepiece isn’t a minute repeater simply meant for the confidential use of its wearer. Instead, its unique sound becomes a powerful experience to be shared.
The family-owned watchmaker took a passionate as well as a technological approach to the study programme, engaging a carefully chosen community of researchers, including watchmakers, artisans, technicians and academics. The inner working of musical instruments was explored by a stringed instrument maker, an esteemed academic of the Geneva conservatory contributed on the subject of perceived sound, and an engineer from EPFL worked to improve sonic quality. Each added to the texture of the research programme, preventing it from becoming a simple academic exercise and highlighting sound as an expressive tool.
This new piece is a milestone in Audemars Piguet’s rich history of creating inventive, masterful and unique concepts: it breaks the rules of chiming watches by mastering sound.