Most time-only watches aren’t that difficult to make. But most time-only watches aren’t Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon.
On Monday, the Swiss watchmaker unveiled six new editions of its Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon watches (five in 18k white gold cases and a sixth in 18k pink gold), each set with an array of gemstones. Each of the 38.5 mm watches runs on a hand-wound movement, AP’s calibre 2951, which offers a minimum power reserve of 77 hours. The new watches are water-resistant up to 20 meters—not that you’d go swimming in anything this intricate—and feature glare-proof sapphire crystals and case backs. All of the models have crowns set with translucent sapphire cabochon gemstones. They’re available with two strap options: a “large square-scale” blue alligator strap, while the other is a blue rubber strap with a “constellation” decoration that looks like tone-on-tone pixels.
That’s where the similiarities end. The cases, bezels, dials and buckles are variously set with hundreds of painstakingly selected diamonds, sapphires and other colored gems. Even the tourbillons are decorated with 9 brilliant-cut sapphires or diamonds—not something easy to achieve with a lightweight and important timekeeping component. Every jewel adorning the new watches was individually cut and polished to form a specific shape; then later set in gold by the hand of an expert jeweler to enhance the watch’s unique pyramidal dial accents and to catch the light.
Models from the new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon series.
The new series includes two rainbow watches that showcase up to 12 types of colored gemstones: They’re decorated with rubies, tsavorites, emeralds, topaz, tanzanites, amethysts and an array of colored sapphires. One model combines a diamond-set case and dial with a bezel set with baguette-cut gems in rainbow colors, the other colorful piece has been entirely set with brilliant-cut multicolored gemstones.
Two other watches—in white and pink gold—come covered in a whopping 208 baguette-cut blue sapphires selected and set to form a gradient effect. The sapphires were cut in 144 sizes to match the curves of the Royal Oak Concept case and the architecture of the dial. Tiny grooves were then delicately incised into the stones and meticulously snapped one by one onto a hidden rail mounted in each piece’s gold component. Audemars Piguet says the invisible gem setting can take up to 150 hours of work to complete.
Both of those blue-hued Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon will be available in select Audemars Piguet retailers next year. The other four watches with brilliant-cut gemstones will be available in select locations for this October. Visit the Audemars Piguet website for more information.
Audemars Piguet is known for developing fashionable luxury timepieces. Raising the bar for gem setting, the Swiss Haute Horlogerie manufacturer has just unveiled a small series of six new Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon models in 18-karat white and pink gold on 38.5-mm cases with an array of graded colored gemstones and diamonds.
Brilliant- or baguette-cut gemstones are to be expected, with four models making the most of graded blue sapphires, while two of them check the rainbow box that most luxury (and fashion) watch manufacturers have made a covetable piece, with gems that include rubies, tsavorites, emeralds, topaz, tanzanites and amethysts.
The open-worked timepieces are powered by a 225-part hand-wound manufacture caliber 2951, which has a 77-hour power reserve, flying tourbillon and power reserve indicator.
The four pieces set with brilliant-cut gemstones will be available in select Audemars Piguet points of sale beginning this month with the two baguette-cut versions arriving in 2022. Pricing is available upon request.
Previous drops of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon unveiled earlier this year included a Black Panther-themed watch with a black and purple color scheme, the brand’s first piece to result from its new partnership with Marvel.