Royal Oak Automatic 41mm in a new cutting-edge configuration

Following the Royal Oak Automatic Rainbow Set launched in 2022, Swiss haute horlogerie manufacturer Audemars Piguet continues to explore highly creative settings

This year, the watchmaker unveils two fully pavé-set 41mm Royal Oak Automatic watches with a camouflage pattern that extends from the dial to the case and bracelet. The camouflage pattern is composed of 861 baguette-cut gemstones in gradients of blue or green, brown and black, a first for the industry. Each gemstone is carefully selected and custom-cut to achieve seamless harmony between the components and form an original color combination. These watches bring Haute Horlogerie and High Jewelry into a creative dialogue, opening up new aesthetic possibilities for the brand.

Unprecedented camouflage design

Since its inception, the Audemars Piguet Manufacture has continuously pushed the boundaries of craftsmanship, creating avant-garde aesthetics with a variety of shapes, colors, finishing techniques and gem-setting techniques. This year, Audemars Piguet explored the creative possibilities of the camouflage pattern that debuted on the rubber strap of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore in 2018. The Audemars Piguet R&D department introduced a new colored material with a similar pattern earlier this year, and the Audemars Piguet Manufacture has once again reinterpreted this iconic design through gem-setting.

The camouflage pattern of the two new 41 mm Royal Oak Automatic watches is composed of 861 baguette-cut colored gemstones that completely cover the case, bracelet and dial. The first watch features graded blue sapphires and Swiss blue topaz (approx. 44.32 carats), while the second watch combines black sapphires, light and dark tsavorites and smoky quartz (approx. 39.91 carats) to create a harmonious palette of green, brown and black tones.

Finding the right gemstones, colors and contrasts while meeting Audemars Piguet’s strict standards for color, clarity and quality were key steps in the design of these two watches. Each gemstone undergoes a rigorous quality control process. After a rigorous selection by suppliers, Audemars Piguet cheap also carried out additional checks to ensure overall harmony. Finally, the purity and gemological properties of the gemstones were verified by an external laboratory.

“To create a harmonious camouflage effect and to have it repeated throughout the watch, we carefully selected a variety of gemstones, including some rarely used in watchmaking. The use of tsavorites, smoky quartz and black sapphires for the green watch and Swiss blue topaz combined with blue sapphires for the blue watch allowed us to enrich the colors and achieve more subtle gradients. Finally, invisible setting enhances the tone of each stone, giving both watches more volume and depth.” Samira Ribeaucourt, Audemars Piguet gemologist

The Art of Invisible Setting

To complement the construction of the Royal Oak case, bracelet and dial, the colored gemstones were individually cut into 179 different sizes of baguettes and then hand-polished to present sharp and clear angles. The quality of the cut is just as important as the intrinsic quality and clarity of the gemstones. Not only do they have to be clean under a loupe (i.e. no inclusions can be seen when examining the gemstone with a 10x loupe). Their lines and stepped facets must also be perfectly symmetrical and aligned to allow light to pass through.

The Manufacture has chosen a complex invisible setting technique for the dial, bracelet links and some of the case parts. Tiny grooves are meticulously carved into the baguette stones, which are then carefully snapped into place one by one into hidden tracks set into the gold components, using as little material as possible and giving the impression that the stones have secured themselves. The complexity also lies in achieving seamless alignment – ​​a painstaking task that requires extreme precision.

The dial alone is set with 152 gemstones, cut to 28 different sizes – a technical feat given how thin the gold plate in which they are set is. To highlight the position of these stones, the hour markers are omitted, while the “Audemars Piguet” signature and “Swiss Made” logo are discreetly printed in white on the underside of the sapphire crystal.

Invisible setting affects the entire production process of the dial and bracelet links, from construction to precision manufacturing to finishing. The technical and gem-setting teams worked together at all stages of production to drive creativity while preserving the collection’s aesthetic codes and ensuring water resistance, reliability, robustness and repairability.

Latest-generation automatic movement

Both watches are equipped with the 4309 calibre, the latest automatic hours, minutes and seconds movement of this diameter developed by the Manufacture. The date display has been omitted to highlight the gem-setting on the dial.

The movement is equipped with a patented mechanism that ensures stability and precision in the adjustment of the watch. In addition, the 32 mm diameter ensures optimal timekeeping accuracy, while the minimum 70-hour power reserve is perfectly suited to contemporary lifestyles.

Through the watch’s sapphire caseback, one can admire the movement’s rhodium-coloured 22-carat rose gold oscillating weight and its signature Haute Horlogerie finishes such as Côtes de Genève, satin-brushed, circular-grained and polished chamfers.

Heritage of High Jewelry cheap luxury Watches

Since its founding, Audemars Piguet has worked with many renowned jewelry brands, including Tiffany, Cartier, Oscar Heyman and Bulgari, to incorporate movements into unique high jewelry pieces. From the late 19th century to the 1970s, Audemars Piguet often sold movements and dials to jewelers, who designed the exterior of the watches and signed them before selling them through their network. Diamonds and colored gemstones, such as rubies, emeralds and sapphires, were often used to adorn women’s pieces. Over time, gemstones were incorporated into a wide variety of designs.

In the 1960s and 1970s, creative watches featured dials inlaid with a variety of natural gemstones, including tiger’s eye, lapis lazuli, aventurine, grossular garnet, opal, onyx, ruby, amethyst and jasper. These colorful dials were sometimes paired with other gemstones on the case and bracelet.

In the 1980s, when soldered bracelet watches were all the rage, Audemars Piguet opened its own jewellery workshop, run by a small group of specialists. Although the brand continues to work closely with external jewellers, more and more gemstone watches are crafted in-house. In the decades that followed, Audemars Piguet created expressive, one-of-a-kind jewellery watches, often paired with matching jewellery sets. These unique creations led to the creation of Audemars Piguet’s 2013 High Jewellery Collection. With unique pieces such as the Diamond Trilogy (2015-2017) and the Sapphire Disc (2019), the collection defies conventional notions of gemstone watches.

No longer confined to these one-of-a-kind High Jewellery pieces, gem-setting techniques now permeate Audemars Piguet’s collections. Some watches feature bezels paved with diamonds, emeralds, rubies, sapphires, amethysts or rainbow-coloured gemstones, to name a few, while others are entirely paved with diamonds or coloured gemstones, culminating in the Royal Oak Automatic Rainbow Set, launched in 2022. Available in 37mm and 41mm sizes, the two sets consist of ten white gold watches, each set with a different baguette-cut coloured gemstone that creates a rainbow when placed side by side. Each watch contains around 800 gemstones of exactly the same hue, carefully selected and custom-cut to produce an intense and pure colour.

Continuing the Manufacture’s long tradition in high jewellery best watches, the two new Royal Oak Camouflage Automatic watches continue to combine age-old techniques with more contemporary designs, pushing the art of gem-setting and watchmaking to new heights.