When this was released, Audemars Piguet fans were divided and the team here found ourselves hating it too. It seems that the Weeknd doesn’t agree and loves this $162,000 USD toy watch.
When we first talked about the AP Royal Oak Concept Black Panther Flying Tourbillon we called it a flop and we stand by that. It looks like a child’s toy watch that they could find at the bottom of a cereal box. It’s an expensive and very impressive toy with a white gold and hand painted Black Panther figure on the dial, but while the materials are certainly expensive, it doesn’t make the watch look any less cheap.
Whether or not the Weeknd received it as a gift for his work on the Black Panther film’s soundtrack or if he bought it outright is unclear, but we do know that he has one as he recently showed it off on his Instagram.
We do have to admit that it looks less cheap on someone’s wrist than it does in the renderings online and the packaging it comes in looks pretty damn cool. Might be even cooler than the watch itself.
The Black Panther sculpture itself also looks better in reality and we’re glad that they didn’t just put a print of him on the dial. AP CEO, François-Henry Bennahmias, told Prestige that the sculpture was their main focus,
“There was no way we’d have just printed the character on the dial. We wanted to show the craftsmanship, the finishes, everything that Audemars Piguet does, while respecting the integrity of the character … You’re talking about a monster brand called Marvel and a very high-end exclusive brand called Audemars Piguet … We signed our lives in blood because they were going to share their launches for the next five years.”
It’s not like the watch hasn’t been a success either. When AP created the first one-off version of the watch, it sold for $5.2 million USD, more than 30 times its retail price. And according to Bennahmias, the criticism the watch has received online is “cute”. He told Prestige, “I find these very cute, because you have that tiny portion of people coming after us no matter what. But we sold 150 watches in five days. That’s never happened before.”
So, what do we know, really? The watch has sold like hot cakes despite it looking like a toy but maybe it’s just that the Marvel brand is so strong with many diehard fans willing spend anything on a piece of haute horology with their favourite character on it? All we’re doing here is hoping that the next few Marvel themed watches will be an improvement on the Black Panther variant but we will just have to wait and see.