If the idea of a comic book-inspired watch only conjures up visions of plastic pieces sold in airport shops, the cast your mind back to Gerald Genta and the luxury Mickey Mouse watch, a 2008 model of which sold for HK$138,600 (US$18,000) not too long ago.
Welcome to the era of the luxury superhero watch, taken to a new, stratospheric level by Audemars Piguet. The maison kicked off its partnership with Marvel Entertainment with the Royal Oak Concept “Black Panther” Flying Tourbillon in a limited edition of 250 pieces.
The 42mm watch has a white gold 3D image of the titular hero on its dial, and its purple inner bezel and rubber strap reference the metal vibranium – another invention from the film. The flying tourbillon can be seen at 6 o’clock while the bridges, seen through the sapphire caseback, feature the same Black Panther motif as the dial. It is priced at around US$161,000, with a Unique Piece raising US$5.2 million for charity.
The Rolex GMT-Master II 116710 BLNR has always been known by its many fans as the Rolex Batman for its black-and-blue colour tones. Launched in 2013, it was officially discontinued in 2019 and is currently fetching around US$20,000 in the secondary market.
The watch features a classic 40mm Oyster case and bracelet in stainless steel, plus a black dial with white indices and a blue GMT hand. Rolex was the pioneer in showing two time zones at once and the Batman emphasises this with a ceramic bezel, half black and half blue. Reviewers and buyers have always been intrigued by the way the blue colour seems to react with light.
Similarly, the Rolex Submariner 116610LV with green dial and bezel was known as the Hulk. It was discontinued last year and prices have skyrocketed from the original US$17,000.
Hong Kong’s Memorigin, while not in the same league as AP and Rolex, has a quality collection of Avengers tourbillon watches. Iron Man, Spider-Man, Captain America and Thor are all impressively depicted, with Iron Man’s diamond-studded fist seeming to burst out of the dial.
At around US$7,500, with a gold case, diamond-studded dial and beautifully executed design, this could be a good buy and, as Memorigin moves onwards and upwards, perhaps a good investment too.
And if a supervillain excites you more than a superhero, check out Andersen Geneve’s Joker automaton watch. The eyes roll for hours and minutes and the tongue is the moon phase. Under the Joker face is an automaton of three classic Batman villains – Joker, Penguin and Poison Ivy – cheating at poker. Last year 20 pieces were issued in white gold. We’d say buy it, if you had 88,000 Swiss francs (US$97,000) lying around, but sadly it’s already sold out.
Note: This story was originally published on SCMP and has been republished on this website.