FRIDAY WIND DOWN: AP has a MARVELous week with a new watch, new CEO and US$6.2M auction resultZach Blass
Often watch brands release their new products at the same time so they’re all fighting for the spotlight. But Audemars Piguet is very good at picking their moments to dominate the conversation the week something drops (like introducing a slew of new novelties during their AP Social Club at the beginning of each year). Well, this week AP not only revealed who would be taking over as the next CEO of Audemars Piguet, but also their latest Marvel collaboration: the Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon “Spider-Man” 42mm.
On Monday, AP announced that Ilaria Resta will succeed François-Henry Bennahmias as the Audemars Piguet CEO. Bennahmias’ eventual departure was announced back in June, leaving people wondering for nearly a year who would undertake the top job. Resta, unlike Bennahmias, does not come from a horological background. But AP are very excited about what she will bring to the table as she transitions into the role, finally taking over in January 1, 2024.
Alessandro Bogliolo, Chairman of Audemars Piguet, explains: “We are delighted to welcome Ms Resta as our new Chief Executive Officer. A visionary leader with a passion for craftsmanship, Ilaria will take Audemars Piguet into the future as we continue to develop our brand, blend tradition with innovation, and strengthen our direct connection to clients. Her proven record of delivering results through a clear strategic thinking based on deep consumer insights will keep AP’s legacy relevant for generations to come and ensure long lasting growth. Ilaria’s belief in the empowerment of teams and her accomplishments as an inspirational leader in corporate sustainability fully align with Audemars Piguet’s long-standing values as an independent family-owned company. On behalf of the Board of Directors, we would like to thank François for his three decades of service. His transformational leadership has been essential in building the success story AP is today. We are grateful for his indelible contribution and his commitment to stay until the end of the year to ensure a smooth transition.”
Audemars Piguet further explains: “Ms Resta is a joint Swiss-Italian national and resides near Geneva, Switzerland. She brings over 26 years of international experience in leading major divisions of highly respected companies, most recently serving as President, Global Perfumery & Ingredients at Firmenich. Prior to joining Firmenich, Ms Resta worked for Procter & Gamble for over two decades with senior roles in its European and US headquarters, where she built iconic global brands.”
The impact of François-Henry Bennahmias leadership is certainly not disappearing by any stretch, especially with the unveiling of the second entry into AP’s collaboration with Marvel – a collaboration the manufacture currently has plans to continue to follow up on in the coming years. The new Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon “Spider-Man” 42mm pairs a tri-finished titanium case with a black ceramic bezel, openworked handwound manufacture tourbillon calibre, and, of course, a hand-engraved and painted solid gold figure of the iconic superhero which, alone, requires no less than 50 hours of work by their artisans. The watch will be limited to 250 pieces, and has a retail price of CHF 195,000.
Predictably, critics instantly came to the comment sections on Instagram with their pitchforks upon the unveiling – as they did upon the release of the previous “Black Panther”. But like the 250 “Black Panther” watches, AP will have no problem selling out the limited-edition run of “Spider-Man” watches. And the icing on the cake is the fact that, at an auction earlier today in Dubai, the white-gold piece unique “Black-Suit Spider-Man” overtook the piece unique “Black Panther” as the most expensive Audemars Piguet ever sold with a final hammer price of US$6.2M – with all of the proceeds going to the charitable First Book and Ashoka organisations in support of educational equity. A mic-drop moment for the manufacture.
Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!
Watch meme of the week: If 1958:58, and 1954:54, XXXX?:41
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With reference numbers, the maths isn’t always mathing. Do not try and introduce logic and reason into reference numbers. Sometimes they are an organised tell of what the watch is made of or powered by (i.e “/1A” signalling steel for Patek Phillipe and the “A” in Grand Seiko reference numbers signalling the usage of a Spring Drive calibre). Other times it is simply a randomised array of numbers that is no more sensible than pig-latin. Yet, regardless of whether or not the reference number has a deeper meaning, we watch geeks still memorise these numbers and letters like a wi-fi password.
Wrist shot of the week: Caught on the webcam
Kristian Haagen has been getting a lot of features in the wrist shot of the week, but, in fairness, he’s captured another banger. The renders were cool to see earlier today, but I am super jealous of Kristian and others who were able travel to Dubai to not only witness the US$6.2M result for the piece unique at auction, but also get a chance to check out the new Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon “Spider-Man” 42mm and try it on. From my personal hands-on experience with the previous “Black Panther”, the craftmanship of these Marvel collaboration watches can only really be appreciated in the metal.
Time+Tide Shop select of the week: Studio Underd0g Desert Sky (Gen 2)
Even if it isn’t one in the traditional sense, the Desert Sky is in fact a homage watch. The colour scheme largely borrows from a pair of iconic Air Max 97. For this Generation 2 model, Studio Underd0g has introduced a few updates. In order to contribute to the expansion of the British Watchmaking industry, Studio Underd0g have teamed with a number of partners for the second generation of this model. This watch is assembled in Great Britain, undergoes full independent QC inspection by Horologium and comes with a custom Epsom calfskin strap made by The Strap Tailor.
Order now in the Time+Tide Shop (AU deliveries only). Price: A$975
Our favourite Time+Tide coverage of the week:
VIDEO: Andrew and Fabrizio break down the new Bulgari Octo Roma and the first-ever Octo Roma chronographs
Intrigued by the new proposition, Andrew visited Bulgari’s Product Creation Executive Director Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani to get a hands-on look at the new Octo Roma collection and find out everything that was truly new with the releases. You can watch the video above or check out the full post right here.
5 reasons you need to be familiar with the Omega Speedmaster Reduced
The Omega Speedmaster Reduced came about in 1988, and quickly gained a cult following as a smaller and more affordable alternative. With the discontinuation of the collection in 2009 and modern Speedmaster prices on the rise, Fergus decided it was time to take a look at 5 reasons why you need to be familiar with the Speedmaster Reduced.
5 sleeper picks from the upcoming Sotheby’s Fine Watches auction starting next week
Zach visited Sotheby’s Upper East Side HQ to get a hands-on look at a wide variety of lots from their upcoming sales. There were plenty of lots primed to go for six, seven, dare we say eight figures. But rather than highlight these “heroes”, Zach personally curated 5 sleeper picks he feels have bargain potential that you may not want to miss – like the above white gold Cartier Tortue Collection Privée Cartier Perpetual Calendar ref. 2540 with an estimate of US$6K – $8K. You can check out his full list here.