What Bone Structure Has To Do With Attraction: The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept GMT Tourbillon
The human body is a sexy, well-designed machine, the structure of which is built for variability and ultimate maneuverability. It is a finely evolved apparatus that has helped us rise to the top of the food chain and in many cases removed us from it all together.
Our torsos hold most of our vital organs in a tight roll cage, with tools, such as head, arms, and legs extending from all sides. The joints between our torso and appendages vary depending on the use of each tool, and those joints add to the visual impact of our overall shape.
As we evolved and changed, our minds changed as well, urging us to seek out those with attractive features. Features that rely heavily on bone structure, joints, and how visibly well assembled we were.
There is a reason that wide shoulders are attractive to women, or why an exposed clavicle on a female is a very sensual sight. Whether high cheekbones or a strong jawline, the angular lines created by our underlying structure are evolutionarily programmed into our psyche to attract us to quality mates.
What bone structure has to do with product design
When product design underwent its own evolution in the middle part of the last century, the understanding of what attracts us sparked some significant changes to the way products we used look. Every industry took notice and the surrounding world generally became more attractive.
Today’s piece is one of the most recent examples of this understanding, and yet even the people who make it are missing a chance to sell it based on these merits. I am of course referring to the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept GMT Tourbillon.
With the advent of the Royal Oak Concept line in 2002, AP departed from Gérald Genta’s classic styling by adding a much more aggressive visual package. However, the original Concept and its follow-up, the Carbon Chronograph, lack the visual weight of the SIHH 2014 release in my opinion. The direct predecessor to this model was very similar in black ceramic and titanium, with a slightly different movement, though the same functions and case design.
Where this watch differs is in how you respond to it, which is entirely due to the color and materials. This version has a bright white ceramic bezel and white ceramic middle bridge spanning the length of the dial. In the previous version, the same geometry looked nice but had nowhere near the same visual impact. What’s the reason? The bone lines.
The bone line
The term “bone line” is generally used in the automotive industry and refers to visual car design. In fact, almost every design, concept, and feature that is aesthetically designed now revolves around bone lines (sometimes in very unappealing ways, sadly).
Bone lines are, for example, the shoulder or fender line of the body that runs effectively uninterrupted the full length of the side of the car. This feature has been so successful in creating aggressive, clean, and distinctive designs that the world has become full of bone lines in other products.
Today in terms of design and bio-inspired designs, bone line refers to the major line running the length of a product, where vertical surfaces meet horizontals, providing the illusion of an underlying structure adding visual interest to whatever you are working on.
If you haven’t realized why I bring this up in regard to the Royal Oak Concept GMT Tourbillon, take a close look at the case and you will probably see it. Creases or kinks in the surface of the case originate from the bezel at the corners of the octagonal sections and continue the line created by the ceramic middle bridge.
These are not present in any other Royal Oak aside from the Concept line, and they are the bone lines. They give you a sense of a frame that the case is almost wrapped around and create a strong visual motion around the piece.
Concept bone line
The bone lines have been included since the Concept’s inception in 2002, but with this latest edition, they make absolutely perfect sense and create something that makes me, for the first time, drool over an AP Royal Oak.
The white ceramic middle bridge, which AP actually describes as hourglass-shaped, is in fact the undeniable manifestation of an underlying bone structure because it is, in itself, a bone! Look at it and try to tell me that it is not, in fact, a large, white bone: the skeleton that gives structure to the entire piece.
Maybe the people at AP didn’t want to advertise it this way, but to me, I get the same feeling looking at this watch as I do when I see a beautifully designed car such as a Mercedes or more accurately the BMW GINA concept. Look that up some day for a great lesson in how car design uses bone lines to create structure.
The white of the ceramic sets off the bone lines in the case better than ever, and makes the tie to the designs of the dial bridges more apparent. The frame around which this piece sits is extremely visible and almost visceral when you look at it. I see the corners, I feel the construction, and I understand its design.
It is meant to be an extension to your body, in its current version, and it feels like it could be a part of your own skeleton that just happens to tell the time.
So the design caught my eye, and made me fall in love, but what kept my fire going? Well, that would be everything else. I don’t personally know any people who dislike Audemars Piguet as this brand designs and builds amazing timepieces.
The movement on this piece is a construction that tantalizes my interests in mechanisms and excites my eyes with the clean layout of its bridges and gear train. It focuses on mechanics and components instead of finishing and beautifying everything. That isn’t to say that the finishing isn’t top-notch, because it is. It’s an AP of course.
I really enjoy the suspended feeling of the components, especially when viewed from the case back. They lend a good amount of depth to the movement. When you consider that this latest iteration is more design than technically based, my appreciation for it seems monumental.
This timepiece still includes a ten-day power reserve, a tourbillon that only weighs 0.45 grams, and is constructed mostly out of ceramic and titanium, two difficult materials to work with that end in an extremely tough, durable case. Even the crown and pusher are ceramic, and they feel like natural extensions to the implied skeleton of the piece.
Law of attraction
Even though I love a lot of what AP does, this watch still surprised me in how much I was attracted to it. Once I started to analyze it, I understood the root cause was tied to my biological programming, which manifests in the angles appropriately implying everything that you might look for in a strong watch.
The second aspect is how clean it feels. I have always loved white, but I work in dirty environments so white is sadly not something I tend to have among my possessions. However, I know that white ceramic could take whatever I threw at it and still shine.
In the past, I have wished that the Chanel J12 came in a sporty man’s version simply because the white ceramic was such a perfect and pristine material. Now in the Royal Oak Concept GMT Tourbillon, I have found what I was hoping for.
I could discuss why the ceramic is an amazing material. I could discuss the manufacturing techniques behind this timepiece. I could tout the technical capabilities of this watch very easily. But none of that comes close to how much I am simply attracted to this piece.
It hits a part of my psyche I cannot control, as it is older than me. Perhaps the combination that has occurred with this piece is simply a happy accident in how it makes me feel, but I definitely will return to this as a great example of cohesive design utilizing an implied underlying structure to create more visual interest with less.
Breaks, they tend to go down. Why buck tradition?
• Wowza Factor * 9.2 That white just hits me, and seeing an underlying frame I didn’t notice before definitely made me audibly gasp!
• Late Night Lust Appeal * 95.5 gn » 936.535m/s2 Getting close to the 100G mark, this piece really has the power to keep me lusting all night long.
• M.G.R. * 57.4 Strong movement, great construction, right in the wheelhouse for AP.
• Added-Functionitis * Moderate With a handy GMT feature, the Royal Oak Concept GMT Tourbillon definitely requires standard strength tube of Gotta-HAVE-That cream for its worldly swelling.
• Ouch Outline * 10.87 Biting Down on a Small Pebble in Your Soup I have only ever experienced this once and it was definitely a painful and frightening experience. Surprise was genuine, but I would take that surprise a hundred times if it meant the Royal Oak Concept GMT Tourbillon was sitting on my wrist.
• Mermaid Moment * When You Finally See It The moment you notice the underlying structure that isn’t there, you’ll never be able to un-see it, and it will be more interesting from that moment on! Better book the chapel…
• Awesome Total * 451 Multiply the days of power reserve by the weight of the tourbillon in centigrams, then add one for good luck! I’d say that is a good showing, AP.
For more information, please visit http://www.audemarspiguet.com/en/watch-collection.
Case: 44 mm, titanium with white ceramic bezel
Movement: hand-wound Caliber 2930
Functions: hours, minutes; function selector, 24-hour GMT display, day/night indicator