Le Brassus, October 2021 – Swiss Haute Horlogerie manufacturer Audemars Piguet presents a small series of six new Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon models in white or pink gold glittering with an array of graded coloured gemstones and diamonds, each offering unexpected and variegated plays of light. Haute Horlogerie meets Haute Joaillerie in these complex timepieces blending traditional techniques with avant-garde design. With their unique characters and surprising contrasts, these multifaceted pieces will be true statements when worn on the wrist.
Finding the right stones
The new timepieces are decorated with a variety of brilliant- or baguette-cut gemstones. While four models are paved with graded blue sapphires, two feature multicoloured gemstones creating a rainbow effect. Finding the right stones, colours and contrasts was a crucial step in the design of each piece and no easy task for timepieces set with as many as 468 brilliant- or 208 baguette-cut graded gems.
For the two rainbow models, 12 different types of multicoloured gemstones, including rubies, tsavorites, emeralds, topaz, tanzanites, amethysts and various coloured sapphires, have been meticulously chosen to offer vivid hues and a smooth gradation when combined. The progressing shades of red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple also bring out the geometry of the case and bezel, reflecting light to create a unique optical experience akin to that of a rainbow. While the first model combines a diamond-set case and dial with a baguette-cut rainbow bezel, the other has been fully paved with brilliant-cut multicoloured gemstones.
The art of gem-setting
The diamonds and coloured gemstones adorning the new models have been individually cut and polished to reach the desired shape and size before being set in gold by the hand of expert jewellers. The gemsetting of the dial represented an added challenge due to the diminutive size of the design and movement components.
Two pieces of the new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon series, available in 18-carat white or pink gold, are covered with 208 baguette-cut graded blue sapphires. The sapphires have been cut in 144 different sizes to match the curves of the Royal Oak Concept case and the architecture of the dial and movement components. Tiny grooves are delicately incised in the stones, which are then meticulously snapped one by one into a hidden rail mounted in the gold component, giving the impression that they are holding on their own. The invisible gemsetting for each timepiece amounts to 150 hours of work.
The complexity also lies in reaching flawless alignment – a painstaking task requiring extreme precision. The quality of the gemstones’ cut is as important as their inherent quality and clarity. Each baguette not only needs to be eye clean (i.e. no visible inclusion by the naked eye), its lines and stepped facets have to be perfectly symmetrical and aligned. To this is added the challenge of reaching a smooth gradation between the blue hues. Once combined, the baguette-cut sapphires give a certain edge to the piece, while further enhancing the architectural movement’s 3D effect and play of light.
These two models set with baguette-cut sapphires will be available in select Audemars Piguet points of sale in 2022.
A blend of high jewellery and cutting-edge micro-mechanics
The new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon timepieces bring a colourful vibe to the collection. The dial of the new offering shimmers with faceted pyramids paved with blue sapphires, diamonds or rainbow-coloured gemstones, revealing part of the movement ticking within. The openworked barrel of hand-wound Calibre 2951, visible at 11 o’clock, gives a rare glimpse at the coiled mainspring – the watch’s power source. The satin-finished bridges with polished angles and white lacquered decorations, visible in the background of the openworked dial, can also be admired through the sapphire caseback.
The flying tourbillon, which compensates for the effect of gravity and enhances the watch’s accuracy, makes its rotation at 6 o’clock. The tourbillon is set with brilliant-cut gemstones – an art in itself for such a small feather-light component. The original Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon was the first Audemars Piguet watch to be equipped with a flying tourbillon, along with the Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon GMT, paving the way for a new generation of complex timepieces blending ancestral expertise with bold aesthetics.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon Technical Specifications
- Flying tourbillon, hours and minutes.
- Hand-wound Calibre 2951
- Total diameter: 29.5 mm (13 lignes)
- Total thickness:4.75 mm
- Number of jewels: 17
- Number of parts: 225
- Minimum guaranteed power reserve: 77 h
- Frequency of balance wheel: 3 Hz (21,600 vibrations/hour)
- 18-carat pink/white gold case set with brilliant-cut graded blue sapphires, glare-proofed sapphire crystal and caseback, crown set with a translucent sapphire cabochon, water-resistant to 20 m.
- Case thickness: 11.4 mm
- 18-carat pink/white gold openworked dial and inner bezel set with gem-setting, openworked white gold hands.
- Hand-stitched “large square-scale” blue alligator strap with 18-carat white gold AP folding clasp set with brilliant-cut blue sapphires.
- Additional blue rubber strap with “constellation” decoration.
About Audemars Piguet
Audemars Piguet is the oldest fine watchmaking manufacturer still in the hands of its founding families (Audemars and Piguet). Based in Le Brassus since 1875, the company has nurtured generations of talented craftspeople who have continuously developed new skills and techniques, broadening their savoir-faire to set rule-breaking trends. In the Vallée de Joux, at the heart of the Swiss Jura, Audemars Piguet has created numerous masterpieces, testament to the Manufacture’s ancestral savoir-faire and forward-thinking spirit. Sharing its passion and savoir-faire with watch enthusiasts worldwide through the language of emotions, Audemars Piguet has established enriching exchanges among fields of creative practices and fostered an inspired community. Born in Le Brassus, raised around the world. — www.audemarspiguet.com