Notable Wrist-takers

With timepieces that run the style gamut of aristocratic sporty numbers to elegant blue-blooded designs, Audemars Piguet’s fleet of watches is made to suit every facet of your personality.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel
With timepieces that run the style gamut of aristocratic sporty numbers to elegant blue-blooded designs, Audemars Piguet’s fleet of watches is made to suit every facet of your personality.
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Audemars Piguet has never been one to shy away from iconoclastic designs. Having introduced its emblematic Royal Oak in 1972 (a watch whose looks were so groundbreaking, it is said to have dichotomised the watch world then), the Le Brassus Manufacture gained a reputation for delivering the unexpected and never quaking before the breaking of conventions. Yet, for all that, the watchmaker was still the talk of the town when it unveiled the Diamond Punk timepiece in 2015.

Looking like nothing the 142-year-old brand had released before, the extraordinary cuff watch presented avant-garde boldness where past haute joaillerie pieces exuded elegant femininity. It was a break from tradition—a move that Audemars Piguet is clearly well acquainted with—that threw the spotlight on its gem-setting expertise. Having garnered a formidable reputation for watch-making, Audemars Piguet was set on reminding the world of its other strengths as well.

The Diamond Punk, the first of a trilogy, was the perfect canvas to showcase this.

Enveloped entirely in diamonds, the white gold timepiece breaks out into an explosion of lights at every turn, thanks to 56 geometric facets that bear a total of 7,848 diamonds (33.35 carats) on its surface. Even more astounding is the fact that the diamonds have been set by the revered art of snow-setting: An extremely difficult technique that sees different-sized diamonds being set in a highly calibrated yet random pattern, with very little gold being seen between the stones. Completing the perfection is a clever secret cover that slides seamlessly to the side to reveal a dial that bears an additional 300 diamonds (0.92 carats). A whopping 1,440 hours was required to bring the watch into fruition, resulting in an audacious high jewellery secret timepiece that only reveals the time when you want it to.

Continuing the momentum was Diamond Fury launched a year later. Armed with a name that matches its aggressive looks, the watch is cloaked in three-dimensional arrowhead shapes that seem to mimic a viper’s scales as it coils around the wrist.

Over 1,500 hours and 4,841 brilliant-cut diamonds (26.14 carats) were needed to bring this mysterious and intriguingly dangerous-looking vision to life. And like its precursor, this shimmering white gold timepiece features a well-hidden secret panel that flips up to expose a diamond dial with blackened gold hands.

Culminating the trilogy of one-of-a-kind timepieces on a victorious note is the Diamond Outrage, which was unveiled at this year’s Salon International De La Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) to much furore—and with good reason. Inspired by the wintery landscape of the Vallée de Joux (a place that Audemars Piguet calls home), the youngest of the diamond sisters is the most dazzling of the lot.

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It features a myriad of spikes, measuring 29.30mm to 40mm, which recall stalactites that seem to have been gathered for this specific purpose. The spikes are sheathed in a blanket of diamonds that have been masterfully set with the snow-setting technique. A second glance at the watch’s pointed forest, however, shows three spikes that bear the distinction of being invisibly-set with baguette-cut diamonds—showcasing yet another revered gem-setting technique that allows the precious stones to look like they’re held in place by nothing else but magic. It’s a highly complex and demanding technique that requires the cutting of grooves on the underside of the gem so that they can be slid onto a grid of rails that are hidden beneath. Theoretically, it sounds simple, yet it takes a gem-setter years of practice and experience to garner the skills required for this highly exacting craft.

Glittering gleefully with an impressive 9,923 brilliant-cut diamonds (50.06 carats) and 354 baguette-cut diamonds (15.85 carats), the Diamond Outrage is also available in a fully set blue sapphire number that’s dressed with 11,043 brilliant-cut sapphires (65.47 carats). The Diamond Punk and Fury are also available in alternative versions graced with diamonds and onyx.

Remarkable as individuals, breathtaking as a whole, the Diamond Trilogy is an extraordinary study that shows the magic that ensues when the best of haute horlogerie meets haute joaillerie.

Nothing less than the masterful orchestration of designers, gemsetters, engravers and watchmakers could have resulted in this symphony of lights. And with it, Audemars Piguet has added yet another glorious chapter to its 134- year heritage of exceptional timepieces for women.