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Snow-Set Diamond Royal Oak Watches by Audemars Piguet

Audemars Piguet’s first Royal Oak watch, featuring high jewellery (Haute Joaillerie in French), was released in 1982. Since then, the brand has continued to unveil a variety of gem-set Royal Oak watches in precious metals and various sizes, using gemstones such as diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires. Audemars Piguet has introduced the new Snow-Set Royal Oak 34mm and 37mm watches, showcasing the brand’s expertise in high-jewellery techniques. This marks the brand’s first use of this relatively new and highly challenging gem setting in the Royal Oak collection.
Snow setting is a method of arranging diamonds of different sizes to create an irregular yet cohesive pattern. It’s like having different-shaped snowflakes coming together to cover the ground in bright white. Theoretically, it may sound simple, but covering a surface with a mosaic of varying-sized diamonds takes work. However, when done correctly, it results in a dramatic display that can be visually more appealing than uniformly diamond-paved surfaces. It’s worth noting that Audemars Piguet has used snow-set diamonds before in their 2015 Diamond Punk and 2017 Diamond Outrage high jewellery pieces. However, these are the first Royal Oaks to receive this dazzling treatment.
Audemars Piguet has introduced four new snow-set diamond watches under the Royal Oak Selfwinding 34 and Royal Oak Selfwinding 37 collections. These watches are available in 18k white gold or 18k pink gold and are entirely studded with brilliant-cut diamonds ranging from 0.5mm to 2.2mm in diameter. The 34mm versions feature 2,255 brilliant-cut diamonds (approximately 6.6 carats), while the 37mm models include 2,123 brilliant-cut diamonds (about 7.2 carats) spread across the case, crown, bezel, dial, and bracelet. Additionally, all four pieces come with 13 baguette-cut diamond hour markers placed on the dials.
These diamond snow-set high-jewellery pieces of the Royal Oak Selfwinding watches do not include date windows on their dials, unlike the regular-production 34mm and 37mm models. This was a wise decision, as a date window would have interfered with the parade of gleaming gems. The 34mm version is powered by Caliber 5809 with a power reserve of 50 hours, while the 37mm variant runs on Caliber 5909 with a power reserve of 60 hours – the same movement used in the 37mm variants of the recently released Royal Oak 1017 ALYX 9SM watches. The movements can be seen through sapphire case backs, displaying a 22k gold rotor and traditional decorative embellishments such as Côtes de Genève, circular satin, and snailing.
It’s worth noting that these snow-set versions have a lower water resistance of 20m compared to their non-full-gemset counterparts, which have a water resistance of 50m. However, it’s unlikely for someone to wear high-jewellery watches like these anywhere near water.
These high-jewellery Royal Oaks are not just watched; they are rare and exclusive art pieces. As Royal Oaks with factory diamonds, they represent the pinnacle of luxury and craftsmanship. Audemars Piguet has done an outstanding job in creating these masterpieces, and they are expected to be in high demand despite their substantial price tags. The pink gold snow-set diamond Royal Oak Selfwinding 34mm in pink gold (ref. [number_1] OR.ZZ.1365OR.01) is priced at USD 198,500. The brand has not disclosed the retail prices for the other yet-to-beailable models, but the 37mm versions will certainly command even higher prices. For those interested in owning a piece of horological history, we recommend visiting the brand’s website for additional information regarding the Royal Oak snow-set diamond watches.

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