An homage to the legendary Swiss watch brand, Audemars Piguet and its unity with women

Often in fashion’s most elite milieu you’ll find women wearing watches that don’t work. Some-times a bevy of them are stacked up on their lithe wrists. I have found myself accosting this breed of woman, ruffled by what I feel is a gratuitous labour of style, even if their non-working watches are complemented with thoughtfully colour-coded bangles and faded festival wrist bands: “Why are you wearing so many watches?” I’ve questioned. “Because watches have become jewellery.”


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Up until our phones officially became our timekeepers, watches had a purpose other than decoration. Now the eye to wrist action has slowly become obsolete. I do however know a select few folk who are the last human beings I’m aware of who actually use a watch to tell the time. And then there are watch enthusiasts, who, no matter where the trends turn, are enamoured by horology in its purest, most technical form.

At Audemars Piguet’s manufacture facility and museum in the quintessentially Swiss  village of Le Brassus, I felt a distinct sense of family warmth and brand prestige. Between the switched-on and sweet Jasmine Audemars, the chairwoman and board of directors for Audemars Piguet and the brand’s showman CEO, François-Henry Bennahmias, you feel both taken under their wing and in awe of their expertise, attention-to-detail and legacy.

Audemars Piguet is one of the trinity of watchmaking, that is to say it is one of the three most highly regarded luxury watchmakers in the world – the others being Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin. Its stature derives from how well they saddle technical prowess and quality. After touring the grounds and engaging in a watch-making workshop as well as being mesmerised by seeing how pieces like the Royal Oak were being assembled, regulated and quality controlled, we sat for a presentation that chronicled Audemars Piguet’s women’s watches: notable features were the oval-shaped and Tutti Frutti watches, important pieces in their patrimony. Audemars Piguet were pioneers in personalising their watches (“time is a very personal notion” – François) with advertisements featuring women. Over the years (and their vintage ads from the 1950s demonstrate this) Audemars Pigeut is in touch with the essence and evolution of women’s standing in history. What’s interesting about the way the brand communicates to women is the way it reflects not just how Audemars Piguet has evolved, but how the world has revolved around women. I noticed this in the ad campaigns between the 1950s and 1960s. Women were portrayed as less empowered in the former and strong and fierce in the latter. Audemars Piguet have served a social commentary against their timepieces and truly believe that women are the driving force for change. No matter where women stood throughout the course of history, Audemars Piguet never lacked “savoir faire”.

Women are getting much exposure at Audemars Piguet. One of the youngest members of the manufacturing team is a young woman whose responsibility is to restore heritage pieces with a deft and delicate hand. When speaking about her role and the brand, it’s clear she is part of the family, even if not by blood, but by mind and heart. Women play an integral part of the brand’s image in a world largely populated by men.

One of their latest launches has women at the forefront of their value system: The Royal Oak Frosted Gold Carolina Bucci Edition. The creative partnership of Audemars Piguet and Italian jewellery designer Carolina Bucci delivers another surprise (after their inaugural piece in 2016) with the eponymous 37mm limited edition Royal Oak in yellow gold. The shiny, silver-toned mirror, framed with the shimmering sparkle of a Frosted Gold case and bracelet, replaces the trademark ‘Tapisserie’ Royal Oak dial. Described by its designer as “rebellious” in character, this is an attention-grabbing piece, made in the image of a contemporary woman: spontaneous, true-to-life and totally unapologetic. After the presentation we were given the opportunity to see the novelties and among them was the Royal Oak Frosted Gold Carolina Bucci Edition. Let’s just say it is the embodiment of cool and incredibly wearable for day and night occasions. And with its gilded features, is a natural staple for the Middle East market (according to François Swiss watch brands typically sell 6 per ent of their annual production in the Middle East, however for Audemars Piguet that figure is 11 per cent). And as fashioned by Carolina, she stacks her Royal Oak with bracelets, too. I rest my case.

Carolina Bucci

The Italian jewellery designer’s creations are synonymous with a modern and effortless sense of luxury. Having grown up with a rich heritage of jewellery and jewellers, Carolina has the technical know-how and vision to push boundaries on traditional practices like the Florence technique, which was used for her first collaboration with Audemars Piguet on the Royal Oak Frosted Gold in 2016.


The Florence technique

The Florence technique involves beating the gold with a diamond tipped tool which creates tiny indentations on the surface that give it a sparkle effect similar to that of precious stones.


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