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The 2024 Rolls-Royce La Rose Noire Features A Removable Audemars Piguet Watch

Rolls-Royce La Rose Noire
Rolls-Royce La Rose Noire | Photo Credit: Courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Many ultra-luxury car makers, as well as hypercar manufacturers, will personalize your new ride. Though they may use different names for the group in charge of such modifications, they typically allow the buyer of a new car to choose paint color, interior color and materials (leather, wood, etc.), seat and dash stitching, wheels, options packages (for things like employment and, in some cases, enough options so that the purchase price of the car is some 100% more than the base car. But then there is the concept of “coachbuilt,” which actually was how many luxury cars – in America and elsewhere – were created in the period starting at the end of the horse-drawn coach period and declined not long after the late 1920s, with one writing pointing out that displays of wealth were frowned upon during the Depression. During those years, a buyer would purchase a “rolling chassis from the builder and then commission a manufacturer to design the perfect body and interior for the car, a time-consuming and expensive process. When it was completed, however, the owner would have “one of one,” and be quite certain that he or she would not see another one anywhere.

Some coachbuilt cars from the past have received extremely high bids at the auction, which is interesting in that it’s almost impossible to determine the value of something so unique. Nevertheless, I doubt that people who decide to design and purchase coachbuilt cars today are as concerned about the “market” anywhere near as much as their interest in having a car that is a true reflection of their interests and design sense.

The 2024 Rolls-Royce La Rose Noire Features A Removable Audemars Piguet WatchPhoto Credit: Courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Starting in 2017, Rolls-Royce returned to its roots insofar as initiating roadgoing art with the “Sweptail,” a two-door coachbuild that reflected on the company’s mandate to create stunning cars which looked like nothing theretofore. The design was intended to create an intimate and cosseting interior, wrapping the occupants in comfort and luxury while also providing a smooth and powerful ride. Sweptail also thrills with its full-length glass roof.

The 2021 Boat Tail continued that design language as the car of an extrovert, one who enjoys driving with what Rolls calls a “highly-social open top.”

With that background in mind, let me introduce you to La Rose Noire, the first of four coachbuilt “droptails” to be built that was unveiled on the eve of the 2023 Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach, California. The open two-seater (it does have a roof that can be put in place by the owner or left on a trapeze in the garage) is the first roadster body style in Rolls-Royce’s modern history. This amazing car was inspired by the allure of the Black Baccara rose, a flower grown in France which has petal possessing a velvet-like quality and which is beloved by the mother of the commissioning family.

At an elegant reception high in the hills overlooking Pebble Beach Golf Links and the beautiful blue Monterrey Bay and the Pacific Ocean, La Rose Noire glided up the driveway and took its rightful place in the center of a wall of gorgeous dark red roses, with a gold “RR” emblem in the middle, while Rolls CEO, Torsten Müller-Ötvös, introduced Rolls’ latest creation to a small selection of global journalists. The contrast between the blood-red roses with the gleaming Rolls was stunning in its splendor. Photos do not do the color of this car justice. The incredibly luminescent and jewel-like red paint required some 150 iterations to perfect, a finish so dynamic that, while on display on a perfectly clear and sunny day, it shone with many shades of red just depending upon from which angle one viewed it. The sumptuous red body was in lovely counterpoint to the black-mist chrome accouterments which adorn the body, and that same metal hue was used in the bumpers and grille work as well as in creating the Spirit of Ecstasy adorning the top of the Pantheon grille.

The watch in the dashboard
The 2024 Rolls-Royce La Rose Noire Features A Removable Audemars Piguet Watch
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Additionally, the woodwork on the interior of the car, especially along the rear section of the passenger compartment, was spectacularly created by combining hundreds and hundreds of wooden shapes. The parquetry is comprised of extraordinary 1,602 pieces of wood, specially sourced from France, which was the most complex such project which Rolls ever has undertaken, and it provided the perfect canvas on which to illustrate the flow of red rose pedals floating from fore to aft, even while the car is not in motion.

Rolls-Royce Design Director, Anders Warming, and Head of Coachbuild Design, Alex Innes, were both in attendance and pointed out the innumerable design touches which combined to make La Rose Noire a one-of-a-kind work of rolling art that is at once clearly identifiable as a Rolls-Royce. Being in the presence of such talent and having them personally show me, with a special one-on-one visit, the unusual features and designs of the car was an extremely unique experience in and of itself.

In yet one of many magnificent touches, the designers collaborated with Audemars Piguet to create a special one-off timepiece that the owners may wear as a watch or which can be placed into its dash receptacle to provide an in-car clock. The 43mm Royal Oak Concept Split-Seconds Chronograph GMT Large Date runs on a unique self-winding Calibre 4407 movement, with a flyback chronograph and a split-seconds mechanism. This beautiful timepiece has red counters and a red inner bezel in great contrast to the black “open-worked” dial highlighted with rhodium-toned bevels.

Who would create such an amazing car? Naturally, Rolls-Royce does not disclose its clients’ names, but they did mention that this couple started the design process four years ago, traveling to the Rolls-Royce design studio in Goodwood, England, for numerous design meetings, even including participating in the sculpting process of the clay model of the car which was constructed to show a close approximation of the lines and sizes of the car which was being created. The rose motif was appropriate for the commissioning owners as the car was designed to commemorate their upcoming thirtieth wedding anniversary. Never has a car been more symbolic of a life through rose-colored glasses, or la vie en rose, as La Rose Noire!

The 2024 Rolls-Royce La Rose Noire
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars
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