Swiss Haute Horlogerie manufacturer Audemars Piguet unveils a new polychrome ceramic, marking a first in the watchmaking industry.

Audemars Piguet’s R&D teams developed the chroma ceramic features an unprecedented camouflage aesthetic using the latest Spark Plasma Sintering (SPS) technology, which allows the ceramic powder to be sintered rapidly. This innovative technique will also be applied to other materials, notably gold, the first prototype of which will be unveiled in the coming months, opening up new creative perspectives for the brand.

Audemars Piguet is committed to innovating constantly to offer its clients an ever-wider range of choices. To create this multi-coloured camouflage motif, powders of different coloured ceramics are carefully placed in a circular graphite mould. The mould is then sintered using a powerful electric current that is conducted through the graphite. This current generates a meteoric rise in temperature, which, combined with the mechanical pressure on either side of the mould, allows extremely rapid sintering, giving rise to a ceramic disc.

This process requires great skill on the part of the teams, who have gone through numerous tests before achieving the desired result. The compression of the ceramic powders during the sintering cycle makes each piece unique, as the pattern varies slightly each time. Despite these variations in pattern, this technique ensures visual consistency between the different ceramic components. In addition, each disc produced can be used to create a case or a bezel, reinforcing the unique aspect of the material. As each colour reacts differently, the risk of breakage or cracking during the rapid firing and cooling phases is multiplied, making the process very delicate. The resulting discs, which are extremely hard, are then machined until the desired shape is achieved. Each component is then pre-polished and pre-satin-brushed before being meticulously hand-finished to obtain the Manufacture’s trademark alternation of satin finishing and polished chamfers.

Throughout its history, Audemars Piguet has combined a variety of materials and developed avant-garde and sometimes disruptive aesthetics. This boundless creativity reflects the pioneering and free spirit that the Manufacture has preserved and nurtured for generations. It is thanks to the meticulous work of artisans that materials such as steel, titanium, carbon or ceramic have been ennobled and given a place in the world of watchmaking. With the chroma ceramic – a first for Audemars Piguet and the watchmaking industry as a whole – the Manufacture is expanding the range of possibilities in terms of material combinations, personalisation and design, heralding a colourful future.