First Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Marvel Black Panther Flying Tourbillon Appears At Christie’s Marvel(ous) Auction
Was Gérald Genta turning over in his grave back in April 2021 or does the fact that the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Black Panther Flying Tourbillon was a huge commercial success make this comic(al) figure of a tourbillon okay for everyone?
Since its launch in April 2021, the watch world has been at odds with the AP Black Panther, which has garnered polarized opinions (see Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Black Panther: Fun Or Fail? (Video).
However there is no denying that this watch has been a phenomenal success for Audemars Piguet, evidenced by the fact that a one-off version of the model created to raise funds for two charities, First Book and Ashoka, was auctioned for $5.2 million, making it the most expensive Audemars Piguet watch ever sold.
The sale of that unique timepiece heightened the desirability of the regular limited edition Black Panther in titanium and ceramic, of which only 250 were made (and all sold rather quickly).
And this is what auction house Christie’s and the consignor of this Royal Oak Concept Black Panther Flying Tourbillon are banking on. This is the watch’s first appearance at auction (obviously), and like the green-dialed Patek Philippe Nautilus Reference 5711/1A-014 that went under the hammer at Antiquorum in July 2021 only three months after that watch was introduced, it is likely to produce an eye-watering result despite being a “flipped watch.”
The green-dial Nautilus was introduced in April 2021 sporting a retail price of $34,893 in the United States; at the Antiquorum auction it fetched an astounding €416,000 (including buyer’s premium).
Christie’s Watches Online: The Marvelous Sale
Christie’s has built its entire online sale of 221 lots around its star attraction, naming it The Marvelous Sale and giving it a fitting tagline – “a cornucopia of horological marvels” – that plays off the fact that this Audemars Piguet model features a prominent Marvel comic book character on its dial.
Lot 46, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Marvel Black Panther Flying Tourbillon, is set to a starting bid of HKD 3,000,000 (approx. $385,390) and its high estimate lands at HKD 6,000,000.
But that is not all we find in this auction. Among the plethora of Rolex and Patek Philippe models that populate every auction these days, there are several watches celebrating designer Gérald Genta’s (1931-2011) heritage, including other Audemars Piguet models, a Reference 5711/1A-001 Patek Philippe Nautilus (lot 2, starting bid HKD 650,000!), and my absolute favorite here: a platinum Gérald Genta Retro Classic Minute Repeater with jump hour and retrograde minutes (lot 96). The starting bid on this watch, which is simultaneously the low estimate, is HKD 400,000 (approx. $51,385).
The Marvelous Sale, an online-only auction, runs through September 7, 2021.
Quick Facts Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Marvel Black Panther Flying Tourbillon
Case: 42 x 14.6 mm, titanium and black ceramic, water resistant to 50m
Dial: hand-painted white gold 3D Black Panther character straddling the tourbillon
Movement: manual winding Caliber 2965 with one-minute flying tourbillon, 72-hour power reserve, 3 Hz/21,600 vph frequency
Functions: hours, minutes
Limitation: 250 pieces
Retail price at release in April 2021: 150,000 Swiss francs
Auction estimate: HKD 3,000,000 – HKD 5,000,000