Audemars Piguet Joins Forces with Matthew Williams and 1017 ALYX 9SM
Keen to keep their finger on the pulse of culture, Audemars Piguet have made an unofficial collaboration using their iconic Royal Oak an official collaboration by teaming up with Matthew Williams’ streetwear brand 1017 ALYX 9SM. In 2021 Williams’ brand joined forces with Parisian watch customizers MAD Paris to create a series of bespoke watches that reinvented the Royal Oak by introducing a minimalist aesthetic built upon a brushed metal dial and monochromatic aesthetic. Now, AP has teamed up with 1017 ALYX 9SM to create five official collaboration references, four for sale to the public as a limited edition release, and one to be auctioned for charity.
A trailblazer in the fashion industry, Matthew Williams has built an impressive resume for himself. Currently at the helm of Givenchy as Creative Director, across both women's and menswear, he is best known for his utility-goth streetwear aesthetic where distressed looks meet the polished shape, style and structure of high-fashion. Prior to his appointment with Givenchy, Williams founded Milan-based brand 1017 ALYX 9SM, along with streetwear powerhouse Luca Benini in 2015.
Today, his design language is signified by its marriage and contrast between the refinement of luxury fashion and utilitarian-inspired aesthetics that appear counter-intuitive to one another. Famously, he injects streetwear into luxury fashion in a way that results in an interesting fusion of opulence and brutalism.
In 2021, 1017 ALYX 9SM collaborated with watch customizer MAD Paris to create a limited series of 34mm Royal Oaks with 1017 ALYX 9SM’s branding and Williams' brutalist aesthetic, as shown above. The customized watches were appreciably clean and minimalistic, and even boasted a unique mini roller coaster-style buckle in exchange of the Royal Oak’s signature folding clasp. Now, this unofficial collaboration has come full circle.
Starting off with the four publicly available references, three of them come in 18kt yellow and one comes in 18kt white gold. Two of them are Royal Oak models at 37mm and 41mm, and the other two are both 42mm Royal Oak Offshore models. Additionally, this is the first time ever that the same design has been developed for both the Royal Oak and Royal Oak Offshore simultaneously. Despite the use of an octagon and screws in both and fact that the Offshore took almost all of its inspiration from the Royal Oak, the two collections tend to have quite a different feel due for a variety of reasons, so this is certainly a unique way for Williams to put his own stamp on the collaboration.
The Royal Oaks
Beginning with the Royal Oaks, the 37mm variant is an 18kt yellow gold time-only variant, that features a vertically brushed golden dial with luminescent yellow-gold hands and the signatures "Audemars Piguet" in gold applique at 12 o’clock and "1017 ALYX 9SM" via stamp transfer at 6 o’clock. Featuring the same aesthetic DNA, the 41mm Royal Oak variant is also made of 18kt yellow gold and features the same vertically brushed golden dial but instead of being a time-only variant it is a Royal Oak Chronograph. However, instead of featuring normal subdial chapter rings it only features gold subdial hands that float on the dial by themselves.
The 37mm variant is powered by the automatic cal. 5909 and has a power reserve of 60 hours and the 41mm Royal Oak Chronograph features the automatic cal. 4409 with a 70-hour power reserve – both of which are on display behind an exhibition caseback. Additionally, these movements feature commemorative 22kt yellow gold winding rotors that boast an engraving of the 1017 ALYX 9SM logo as well as the indication of Newton's millimeter and the rotor’s weight in grams, a deliberate nod to the technical references indicated by Matthew Williams on the buckles he uses for his belts and other accessories.
The Royal Oak Offshores
Moving onto the two Offshore variants, both are offered as 42mm variants, except this time in both 18kt yellow gold and 18kt white gold. Powered by the automatic cal. 4404, they come with an integrated chronograph and a flyback function alongside a date function, which was removed from the 41mm Royal Oak Chronograph to maintain its dial’s simplicity, and a 70 hour power reserve.
Featuring the same lonesome subdial hands as the 41mm Royal Oak Chronograph, the two Offshores feel remarkably similar to their Royal Oak Chronograph sibling except with a bulkier construction. Featuring the same commemorative 22kt gold winding rotors as the two Royal Oaks, in either yellow or white gold depending on the watch, and the same branding on the gold or silver dials, these two Royal Oak Offshores offer a similar aesthetic on the wrist, but with more presence and heft.
The Unique Piece
Rounding off the list of five models, the last variant is a 41mm two-tone Royal Oak Chronograph with a black PVD-coated dial that features the same vertical satin brushed finish as the other four models, but with gold branding that stands out against its dark backdrop, which contrasts the monochromatic aesthetic of the other four references. Being sold for auction at the launch party for the collaboration, this one of one example sold for over $1,000,000.
Brand: Audemars Piguet
Model: Royal Oak self-winding, Royal Oak self-winding Chronograph, Royal Oak Offshore self-winding chronograph, Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronograph.
Reference Number: 15550BA.OO.1356BA.02; 26240BA.OO.1320BA.01; 26238BC.OO.2000BC.01; 26238BA.OO.2000BA.01; 26240SA.OO.1320SA.01
Diameter: 37mm, 41mm, 42mm, 42mm, 41mm
Thickness: 9.1 mm, 12.4 mm, 15.2 mm, 15.2 mm, 12.4 mm
Case Material: 18k yellow gold, 18k yellow gold, 18k white gold, 18k yellow gold, 18k yellow gold and 18k white gold two-tone
Dial Color: gold, gold, white gold, gold, black PVD
Water Resistance: 50m
Strap/Bracelet: bracelet + AP folding clasp and interchangeable system. Additional black rubber interchangeable strap for Offshore
Caliber: 5909; 4409; 4404; 4404
Functions: Hours, minutes and central seconds; Flyback chronograph, hours, minutes and small seconds; Flyback chronograph, hours, minutes, small seconds and date; Flyback chronograph, hours, minutes, small seconds and date; Flyback chronograph, hours, minutes and small seconds.
Diameter: 26.2 mm; 32 mm; 32 mm; 32 mm
Thickness: 4 mm; 6.9 mm; 8 mm; 8 mm
Power Reserve: 60 hours, 70 hours, 70 hours, 70 hours
Frequency: 4 Hz (28,800 vibrations/hour)
Jewels: 29; 40; 40; 40
The NumbersPrice: $73,500; $90,400; $111,500; $111,500; depends on auction
Limited Edition: Yes
Number of pieces: TBA, 200, 200, 75, 1