Audermars Piguet offers another wave of Royal Oak watches, but we certainly ain’t complaining.
IT’S NOT EVERY DAY that you get a CEO personally telling you how his or her company is doing. Sure, he or she might do that for shareholders or maybe even one or two key customers with whom he or she has a personal relationship, but to tell a room full of journalists how Audemars Piguet is doing, now that’s a special treat. But that is exactly what happened at SIHH 2017; after a scintillating presentation on AP’s latest novelties, in walked François-Henry Bennahmias, CEO of Audemars Piguet, to give us an update on the brand’s performance this year.
He was visibly elated, and for good reason. Amidst a downcast watchmaking industry, Audemars Piguet is one of the few brands that actually recorded growth. In 2015, their revenue was around the CHF800 million mark and, in 2016, it was just shy of CHF900 million. Bennahmias also said that in 2015, Audemars Piguet made 40,000 watches; in 2016, they made 40,000 too and they’ll probably make the same number in 2017 as well. This is their strategy, not to chase volumes, but to maintain production and focus on doing everything better.
They have a saying at AP: “To break the rules, you must first master them.” And it seems like they must have, as this year, AP offered a couple of really interesting watches (and an ostentatious jewellery piece that we’re not going to talk about) that break the mould. No new movements, just a wonderful play of materials and unique finishes for their 2017 novelties.