Audemar Piguet Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon gems rainbow

In 2018, Audemars Piguet introduced its first women’s Royal Oak Concept watch in the form of a 38.5mm model powered by a manually wound flying tourbillon movement. Showing through sharply angled cut-outs on the dial, Calibre 2951 featured the first flying tourbillon developed in-house. Although the Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon was billed as a ladies’ watch, we see no reason why this timepiece would not be appreciated by men as well.

Just as well then, that AP has chosen not to explicitly gender the next series of the timepiece, which has been glitzed up with coloured gemstones and diamonds. Arriving next year — and hence, giving the many bling-loving women and men we know enough time to pester work on their ADs — the six new models are distinguished by a mix of coloured stones, blue sapphires and diamonds. Four of these models feature gradated blue sapphires, while two feature multi-coloured stones in a rainbow-like palette.

Set with as many as 468 brilliant-cut or 208 baguette-cut gems, which have been arranged in gradually intensifying tones for an ombre effect, these pieces presented a challenge in terms of sourcing the right, high-quality stones in the required colours and shades. And that’s not all: Available in white or pink gold, two of the new models feature 208 baguette-cut blue sapphires. The sapphires have to be cut in 144 different sizes to fit into the curves of the case and the graphic lines of its dial and movement. Additionally, the stones are all invisibly set, which means that tiny grooves have to be cut into them, before they are fitted onto a tiny rail mounted on each gold base. It’s a process that takes 150 hours to complete for each timepiece.

Then, of course, there are the two rainbow models in white gold, which judging by the immense popularity of such timepieces, might be tricky to obtain even with a pot of gold or two. These double rainbows feature a dozen different gemstones in different hues, including rubies, tsavorites, emeralds, topaz, tanzanites, amethysts and sapphires in different colours.

For those who prefer to hold back a little in terms of how much glitzy colour they are sporting on their wrists, there’s the model that mixes a baguette-cut rainbow bezel with a diamond-set case and dial. For those who don’t believe in half measures, there’s the version that is fully paved with brilliant-cut multicoloured gemstones: 397 coloured stones on the case, bezel, inner bezel and buckle), 62 coloured stones on the dial and nine blue sapphires on the tourbillon itself. It’s time to shine.