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Audemars Piguet  - Royal Oak Concept

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept

Flying Tourbillon Fireworks!

“The challenge was to find the right shades to ensure a harmonious gradient and smooth color transitions. This was all the more difficult in that we were looking for bright hues. The eye has to lose itself in the rainbow and not get stuck on one particular color.”

Audemars Piguet belongs to the select circle of brands having earned the highest distinction at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, the “Aiguille d’Or” best-in-show award (in 2019). Regularly honored since the creation of the GPHG in 2001, it also won the Jewellery Watch Prize in 2015 for its extremely daring Diamond Punk model. This winter, the festivities began for the brand from Le Brassus with a firework display: a six-piece series of Royal Oak Concept flying Tourbillon watches set with hundreds of colored stones. Avant-garde aesthetics meets cutting-edge technology in an openworked dial revealing a 225-component Haute Horlogerie caliber and are vividly reflected in a joyful yet structured rainbow array of carats. The precious harmony of this stunning display stems from the meticulous choice of each stone. Commenting on the model gracing our cover, Audemars Piguet gemologist Nathalie Barzilay said: “We had to find stones with the same level of saturation in order to obtain uniform intensity and brilliance. On the rainbow iteration, this translates into vibrant pop colors, whereas for the variation featuring baguette-cut blue sapphires, we had to work on the size and depth of the stones, two factors that influence the intensity of the shade.”

Royal Oak Concept

Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon © Audemars Piguet

The baguette setting alone requires 150 hours of work, particularly because of the 144 different sizes of stones following the shape of the octagonal case, dial and movement structure. It includes microscopic grooves enabling each stone to be manually snapped into the gold on an invisible rail, guaranteeing the desired architectural and light effects. Upstream, “the first challenge was to find the ideal tone of blue in the wide variety of shades. To achieve this, we explored different stones of various origins and the possible combinations between them, in particular aquamarines, topaz and sapphires. In the end, sapphires offered the most harmonious gradation.”

In all, 12 varieties are divided into 468 brilliant-cut stones or 208 baguette-cut stones arranged in progressively nuanced shades, depending on the version. Individually cut and polished, as well as perfectly aligned, they are a fascinating sight to behold. This breathtaking mastery culminates in the setting adorning the flying tourbillon, a brilliant reminder that fine watchmaking holds no secrets for the Audemars Piguet artisans.

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Audemars Piguet is one of the few independent family-owned watch businesses and has been based in Le Brassus, in Switzerland's Vallée de Joux region, at the heart of the fine watchmaking industry, ever since the company was first established in 1875.

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