Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Flying Tourbillon 26730TI

AP RO Flying Tourbillon 26730TI.OO.1320TI.04

This is a real stop what you’re doing and check this out piece. 

The utterly spectacular AP Royal Oak Flying Tourbillon 26730TI is the kind of watch that you need to take a minute to appreciate, particularly this dial which in my humble opinion is that nicest of its type that I have ever set eyes on, and given that I cant take my eyes off it, we’ll do this bit first! 

This is a radiating smoked tapisserie dial which is the showstopper element of this piece. 

At its centre, a vivid peacock blue which gradually darkens to an inky night-sky to black outer ring. 

The graduation of the colour here is a masterpiece and a real hallmark of AP. 

If you’ve seen the platinum green Jumbo the execution of the light to dark smoke effect is also visible but minus the additional tapisserie. So while this isn’t a new thing for the brand, its execution is always absolutely spot on and the kind of thing you can stare at for hours without having the faintest idea of the time. 

That, in my book, is the sign of a dial that goes above and beyond, and given that it’s reserved for a flagship flying tourbillon model, so it should. 

This is a limited edition of only 50 pieces, and uses a Grade 5 titanium case which is titanium alloyed with 6% aluminium and 4% vanadium which increases strength and durability above that of steel. 

It’s is a great choice to work with the dial here, as the slightly darker and more subdued characteristic of the metal really allows the dial to take the limelight. I suspect the effect would be a little too busy if it was competing with polished steel for light play. The bezel bolts are white gold however, which provide some very nice contrast, as does the double diamond baguette marker at 12 which is wonderfully subtle but also hints at how special this watch is. 

Titanium is known to be a little on the “self healing” side as micro-swirls and hairlines are covered by an oxidising layer over time, which blends them in to the rest of the case and makes mishaps much less obvious and upsetting. Think of it as camouflage for mishaps. 

This is 41mm diameter case, 11.5mm thick and runs the AP automatic flying tourbillon calibre 2950 with a 65 hour power reserve. 

The hallmark of a flying tourbillon is that it doesn't have an upper bridge holding the cage so you get a completely unobstructed view of the complication at work. 

Tourbillons, both flying and standard, work to balance and stabilise timekeeping as the constant rotation of the escapement mechanism within its cage ensures that it is experiences a range of positions, so a well regulated tourbillon should reduce positional variations of the escapement which can affect accuracy. 

But, to those of us who don’t always worship at the altar of accuracy, it’s a hypnotic gyroscope thats fun to stare at. 

All of this pulled together, the dial, the complication and the supremely well engineered titanium case and bracelet makes an absolutely brilliant Royal Oak which is high on the favourites list for AP collectors and general lovers of horology. For once, I have not a single little moan, and I can usually find something!

I love it, and I hope you do too.