In late 2010, F1 legend and Audemars Piguet ambassador Michael Schumacher posed an apparently simple question to the engineers at Audemars Piguet: would it be possible to create a mechanical wristwatch designed specifically for use in motorsport which would make it possible to measure and record an extended series of consecutive lap times?
From the outset, Michael explained that he did not want to develop a watch to use while in the cockpit of a race car, but one which would enable him to time laps accurately from track side when, for example, he was mentoring young drivers or advising on how a car’s performance might be improved.
It was a horological challenge that had never before been met in a mechanical watch, and one that was inspired by motor racing’s very specific requirement to be able to time and compare multiple, consecutive laps – a task which has traditionally been carried out using a bank of two or more stop watches arranged in series.
Now, after almost five years of development, Audemars Piguet can claim to have conquered that challenge and is honoured to be able to pay tribute to the greatest F1 driver of all time by unveiling the Royal Oak Concept Laptimer Michael Schumacher – the world’s first luxury watch to feature two angular indexing systems on a single chronograph, each with an independent ‘memory’.
It is the first motorsport-specific watch to feature a complication imagined by the celebrated driver, and it is the first time that a movement has been developed from scratch by Audemars Piguet at the behest of an ambassador – an indication of the strength of the long-standing relationship which Audemars Piguet has enjoyed with Michael Schumacher since forming an on-going partnership with him in 2010.
The Royal Oak Concept Laptimer Michael Schumacher will be the second Audemars Piguet chronograph to carry the name of the celebrated driver, the first being the Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph Michael Schumacher of 2012 which he helped to design and which was produced in an edition of 1,000 units in titanium, 500 in pink gold and 100 in platinum.