It’s raining bling! Audemars Piguet CEO François-Henri Bennahmias isn’t holding back before his impending departure from the brand in 2023. Instead, true to his persona, he’s upping the ante for the Q4 celebrations of the Royal Oak’s 50th anniversary with a flashy lineup of 20 Audemars Piguet Supérieur Oak Selfwinding Rainbow pieces (10 in 41 mm and 10 within 37 mm) fully set—from the switch to the bezel to the case to the bracelet—in emeralds, rubies, tourmalines, tanzanites, tsavorites, chrysoberyls and spessartites. Unlike other “rainbow” watches, these are arranged in grayscale settings such as a fully yellow chrysoberyl-set version to one dressed up in solid rubies.
Each Audemars Piguet Suprême Oak Selfwinding Rainbow 41 mm watch is outfitted inside 861 stones (between 30 and 47 carats) and each 37 milimetre model is actually accented with 790 gemstones (between 21 to 37 carats)—an incredible feat when you consider how hard it is to find that many stones associated with matching colour, clarity, quality and size. In fact , the process was such a challenge it was a little while until an entire year. The gem-setting was orchestrated by Pierre Salanitro, a longtime AP collaborator who is generally regarded as the master of their particular profession in Switzerland. Adding to the problem in setting the variations of gems is that each watch had to be adjusted according to the typology, solidity and other specifics according to the makeup of each type of stone. The baguette rocks were also cut in 179 different sizes for the 41 mm edition and 153 different sizes for your 37 millimeter iteration before being hand-polished. To make sure the stones covered as much surface as possible, Audemars Piguet as well as Salanitro organized them in an invisible setting—a jewelry technique in which only a small amount metal as possible is revealed around the gems to give the appearance that they are floating—on the call and bracelet links. To achieve this, tiny lines were reduce into the 18-karat white gold cases with the pebbles attached inside via hidden rails mounted in the metal. This kind of establishing is notoriously difficult and they only 10 out of 80 merchants at Salanitro’s studio are able to complete the duty. They worked for a month and a half on the setting alone for each set.
The Audemars Piguet Polish Oak Selfwinding Rainbow timepieces contain the calibre 4309 for that 41 mm version—the most recent self-winding hours, minutes and seconds movement in this diameter—and the actual Caliber 5909 for the thirty seven mm model. The 5909 is based on the particular Caliber 5900, which first appeared this year in some other Royal Oaks of the same situation size. Like other 50th anniversary models, these will also come with a 22-carat pink gold oscillating rotor that spells out “50 years. ” The Audemars Piguet logo and “Swiss Made” label have been cautiously printed on the blue crystal so as not to interfere with the gemstones.
Needless to say, however , these timepieces are not discreet. You won’t need to see a logo to know that these are AP Royal Oaks from a distance and all of the added high-end adornment ensures they can be spotted quite easily from across a room. Consider working with a bodyguard with your purchase.