Audemars Piguet has also been shaking up the category of high jewelry watches.
At the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, known as SIHH, in Geneva in January, the watchmaker will unveil the hotly anticipated final piece in its Haute Joaillerie Diamond trilogy, the Diamond Outrage.
The Swiss watchmaker hopes it will make an even bigger impact than its predecessors, Diamond Punk (2015) and Diamond Fury (2016), which are covered in diamonds but a world away from the delicate jeweled watches that dominate the market.
The trilogy was the brainchild of François-Henry Bennahmias, Audemars Piguet’s chief executive. And the result has been a collection of bold creations for a modern woman who happens to have more than half a million dollars to spare.
“We are living in a time when women are the freest they have ever been,” Chadi Nouri, a project management leader, said in a telephone interview. “We wanted to create high jewelry pieces full of stones, our craftsmanship and know-how, but which reflect the times and the woman of today.”
The Diamond Punk, inspired by the edgy attitude of the Seventies, was a maze of diamond-encrusted white gold pyramids, a striking contrast to the pastel colors and floral motifs of the classic jewelry watch. The Diamond Fury was an even wilder concoction — gem-studded reptilian scales darting in all directions.
Claude Emmenegger, the company’s creative director, said the trilogy owed its success to close collaboration by Audemars Piguet’s designers, craftspeople and product team. “When it comes to high jewelry pieces, we know what we have in our toolbox, and we combine it together to make a new watch,” he explained through an interpreter. “The designer does not know if an idea is possible but the team finds a way to make it reality.”
One challenge was to how make the outsize, intricately set timepieces fit all kinds of wrists. “We wanted every woman to be able to wear these watches and to wear them at the right size,” Ms. Nouri said. “Each one is adjustable, from 140 millimeters to 175 millimeters, which really adds complexity to their creation.”
It took 1,440 hours in the workshop to complete the Punk and 1,500 for the Fury. Ms. Nouri said the Outrage has been even more time consuming, requiring 2,500 hours and involving more than twice as many diamond carats as its predecessors.
“To make all the elements play together and wearable on the wrist, those solutions aren’t lying on the street,” Mr. Emmenegger said. “They are new technical solutions.’’