It’s been a big week – hell, it’s been a big year – for watches. Just yesterday, Patek Philippe unveiled its highly coveted Nautilus release for a new generation of watch fanatics. Today, it’s Audemars Piguet making moves with its release of two unprecedented, limited-edition Royal Oak Rainbow Sets – an exceptional “reinterpretation of the rainbow” coinciding with the brand’s 50th anniversary of the iconic Royal Oak.
AP has dropped the proverbial mic with these two new sets comprising of ten Royal Oak Selfwinding white gold watches in both 37 mm and 41 mm. Most impressively, each timepiece is illuminated with 800 iridescent baguette-cut coloured gemstones, all meticulously selected and custom-cut to offer intense and vivid colours in red, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink and orange, so when put side by side, they form the colour of the rainbow. That’s 861 total stones in 179 sizes for the 41mm, and 790 total stones in 153 sizes for the 37mm.
Marking a first in the watchmaking industry, the Royal Oak Rainbow sets build on Audemars Piguet’s legacy of avant-garde high-jewellery timepieces, while pushing the art of gem-setting to new heights thanks to its partnership with Geneva-based company Salanitro, a leader in the gem-setting world.
“With these sets available in two sizes, we went off the beaten track to create an unprecedented rainbow with ten bold timepieces, each decorated with a different gemstone. We selected some of the world’s purest and most vivid stones, including emeralds, rubies, tourmalines, tanzanites, tsavorites, chrysoberyls and spessartites,” said Nathalie Barzilay, Audemars Piguet’s Head Gemmologist.
“A challenge as we had to find some 800 gemstones per watch, all with the exact same colour and the highest level of quality.”
Indeed, finding the right stones, colours and contrasts, while meeting the best standards in colour, clarity and quality, was always going to be an important step indicative of this collection’s uniqueness.
But what is also ultra impressive with the arrival of the Royal Oak Rainbow sets is the technique in which the gemstones were set. The Manufacture chose the intricate technique of invisible gem setting for the dial, case and bracelet links. This is achieved by tiny grooves being delicately incised in the baguette-cut stones, which are then carefully placed into a hidden rail mounted in the gold component.
As for movement, the 37 mm reference comes equipped with the in-house Calibre 5909, the latest self-winding movement from Audemars Piguet that offers 60 hours of power reserve. For the 41 mm reference, you’ll find the in-house Calibre 4309 – a larger movement that enables optimal timekeeping precision, whilst boasting up to 70 hours of power reserve. Fittingly, the two calibres are fitted with dedicated “50 years” inscriptions on the oscillating weight crafted in rhodium-toned 22-carat pink gold to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Royal Oak.
Of course, don’t expect to get your hands on one of these timepieces any time soon – if ever. The collection is a tiny run of only one watch per colour and size with price $$$$ available on request. For more information, visit Audemars Piguet.
Brand: Audemars Piguet
Model: Royal Oak
Diameter: 41mm and 37mm
Thickness: 11.6mm and 10mm
Case Material: White gold
Dial Colour: Amethyst, emerald, ruby, yellow chrysoberyl, orange spessartite, blue sapphire, tanzanite, pink tourmaline, blue topaz, tsavorite
Water Resistance: 20m
Strap/Bracelet: 18-carat white gold bracelet set with baguette-cut gemstones, AP folding clasp.
Movement: Caliber: 4309 (41mm), 5909 (37mm)
Functions: Hours, minutes, and centre seconds
Power Reserve: 70 hours and 60 hours
Frequency: 4 hz 28,800 vph
Jewels: 32 + 39