AP’s hexagonal screws ‘screw’ with the imagination

AP Royal Oak Screws

AP Royal Oak’s ‘screws’ are a part of a visual trick to fool the eye into believing that Audemars Piguet has some secret to place a hexagonal peg into a round hole

Owning a Swiss watch is extremely rewarding, not only because it instantly catapults you into a family of fellow collectors, but because you get to study each and every millimeter of your new possession. One of the most interesting things about watches is the skill it takes to create something so amazing out of tiny, intricate parts.

If you are reading this and you were lucky enough to get a high end Swiss watch for Christmas or Hannukah – take a look at it – just look at how many nuts bolts and screws you can find. Even if you weren’t one of the lucky ones, take a look at your current watch – especially if you have a Display Back. The amount of specially-created tiny nuts, bolts, and screws is astounding. Just imagine the skill it took to create those tiny parts and put them together.

One particular watch – the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak is of particular interest when you think of nuts, bolts and screws. On its face, it has exposed screws that are hexagonal in shape. This design feature is one of the AP Royal Oak’s most distinctive design features. Whereas the Hublot Big Bang, which has traditional round-headed screws, the AP Royal Oak has mesmerized many watch collectors with its seemingly illogical screw head design.

That’s the trick – the Hublot actually has screws in its face whereas the AP has bolts on its face. Audemars Piguet only places the straight line in the middle of the head of the bolt to trick the owner of the watch into thinking that it is a hexagonal screw when it isn’t a screw at all.

We spoke with a Chicagoland components company about this very subject. In fact, they’re in love with the AP. From its octagonal face to the exposed bolts, its industrial design is right up Components For Industry’s alley.

“There are components of all sizes in all types of watches – in fact, they’re in pretty much everything you own,” CEO Kevin Christie said. “In the average large Breitling, there’s a 1.4-milimeter screw; on a Patek Philippe, it’s 1.3 mm or even smaller. For our industry, this isn’t all that small. We see components of one millimeter or less and on the flip side, we create railroad grade nuts and bolts that are 30-plus pounds apiece.”

When we asked him about AP’s visual trickery, he said that it isn’t often that they see a company deliberately use a component made to resemble another type i.e. Audemars Piguet’s screw-like bolts.

But as he said, “Anything can be created with enough imagination.”If there’s anything the high-end timepiece industry has, it’s an excess of imagination. From chronographs to perpetual calendars to tourbillons, if you can dream it, you can probably own it. Heck, we carry a watch that might even save your life – the Breitling Emergency. These complications are just the tip of the iceberg in fine watches and we’ve seen it all at Burdeen’s Jewelry.

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