In 2021, Audemars Piguet launched a Black Panther Royal Oak that many people (the team at TPOE included) found it disappointing, ugly even. That didn’t stop it from selling very well almost immediately though and with that success, more would surely be on the way. Except that AP stated when the “Black Panther” was released that there would be more Marvel collaborations coming and this new piece featuring Spider-Man is the next in line. Thankfully, it seems AP has learnt from the mistakes they made on the previous iteration and rectified them here.
This is a step up from the “Black Panther” release aesthetically speaking. It looks much cleaner and the statuette of Spider-Man looks better placed and more fluid. Similarly to the Black Panther, the statuette is cut from 18k white gold and is meticulously hand engraved. There’s incredible amounts of detail on the hand-painted Spidey, they even get the different textures of the suit right. It’s this attention to detail that will please both horological enthusiasts and Marvel fans. Creating Spidey took no less than 50 hours to complete.
The rest of the dial remains quite similar to the “Black Panther” with PVD black-gold hour markers with numerals for the even numbers and indices for the odd numbers. A sloped inner bezel focuses the eye towards the very impressive Spider-Man figure.
Perhaps the coolest thing AP has done with this watch is what they’ve done with the lume. Naturally, the hands and hour markers are coated in SuperLuminova® but so are Spider-Man’s eyes which is just frankly cool.
The 42mm case is 50m water-resistant and 15mm thick made of lightweight titanium with an octagonal screw-down crown and a black ceramic bezel. There are three kinds of finishing here: satin brushing, mirror-polishing, and sand-blasting. Mirror-polishing is reserved for the edges on the lugs, case, crown guards, and bezel. The sand-blasted surfaces on the front of the case really allow for the polished edges to really pop and provide depth to the piece. Satin-brushing is noticeable on the top of the bezel, case sides, crown guards, and crown.
The watch comes bundled with two rubber straps in either black and grey or black and red fitted with an AP folding clasp and an easy to use interchangeable system.
There’s a different movement here compared to the “Black Panther.” The “Black Panther” used a hand-wound AP manufacture calibre 2965, though the “Spider-Man” uses the calibre 2974. While both have a 72-hour power reserve the main difference is that the 2974 is not a flying tourbillon like the 2965. The skeletonisation works well here as the gears and bridges look reminiscent of Spider-Man’s webbing.
These are limited to 250 pieces but there is also a one-of-a-kind Black Spider-Man piece that has already sold at auction for $6.2 million, with all the proceeds going to charities First Book and Ashoka.
As AP explains: “Limited to 250 pieces, this model is accompanied by a unique piece called the Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon ‘Black Suit Spider-Man’. This one-of-a-kind timepiece comes in a white gold case that is finely engraved to give it the effect of a luminescent spider’s web. It is combined with a black ceramic bezel with ceramic also adorning the case back that bears the words ‘Royal Oak Concept Unique Piece’ in white. Spider-Man appears on the dial in a black suit, a reference to the one worn by the superhero in several 1980s comics, notably The Amazing Spider-Man #252 in 1984. This lesser-known representation of the character makes the piece unique and more mysterious, as do its luminescent hands and hour markers which turn green at night.”