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Robb Report (Malaysia) - - Con­tents -

Horo­log­i­cal ex­pert, ap­praiser, cu­ra­tor, auc­tion­eer, lec­turer and presently Aude­mars Piguet’s his­to­rian – Michael Fried­man’s ex­ten­sive ca­reer in the world of watches has con­ferred him with amaz­ing in­sights into the vin­tage mar­ket for time­pieces.

Watches are pri­mar­ily val­ued on the vin­tage mar­ket if they have in­her­ent qual­ity and rar­ity.

If we put the lens on com­pli­cated wrist­watches, Aude­mars Piguet has only pro­duced 550 pieces with com­pli­ca­tions from the first minute re­peater in 1892 all the way to 1978 with the re­birth of com­pli­ca­tions.

The con­di­tion of these time­pieces must be im­pec­ca­ble;

any vin­tage watch from any brand should re­tain its orig­i­nal dial, print­ing, enam­elling and have a case in ex­cel­lent con­di­tion with no prin­ci­pal com­po­nent of its move­ment changed or swapped. Aes­thet­ics plays a big part in de­mand. For a dis­con­tin­ued or vin­tage watch to per­form well in the mar­ket­place, it has to align with col­lect­ing trends. This is the rea­son why larger vin­tage watches are out­per­form­ing smaller vin­tage watches. Our 39mm Royal Oak per­pet­ual cal­en­dars from the ’80s and ’90s have been go­ing up in value be­cause of this; we made them in dif­fer­ent case ma­te­ri­als such as full plat­inum, plat­inum rose and tan­ta­lum, and had some un­usual dial com­bi­na­tions.

Gen­er­ally speak­ing, ul­tra- com­pli­cated watches rep­re­sent­ing ad­vance­ment in horol­ogy are the ones which cut through the ‘time­line of ac­cept­abil­ity’.

Those of us who grew up in the ’60s to ’80s saw the iconog­ra­phy of our youth in the Porsches, Fer­raris and also the early Royal Oaks – all of which are do­ing phe­nom­e­nally well to­day. If you go back 20 years ago, it was the watches from the ’50s which out­per­formed watches from the ’70s. What be­comes in­ter­est­ing is when we hit the age of CNC (com­puter nu­mer­i­cal con­trol) ma­chines, con­tem­po­rary watch tech­niques and be­cause pro­duc­tion num­bers changed for most watch brands. So what hap­pens 10 years from now? We are see­ing that with mil­len­ni­als, the no­tion of time­line is shift­ing – they have ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion so read­ily that they are not dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing from decade to decade in the same way my gen­er­a­tion had.

What we are see­ing now is a resur­gence of watches across the spec­trum;

more women are buy­ing con­tem­po­rary and vin­tage watches and it’s open­ing a new mar­ket for the 32mm to 34mm pieces that are not just his­tor­i­cally sig­nif­i­cant but also well-suited to their sense of fash­ion.

The beauty of Aude­mars Piguet be­ing a fam­ily-run busi­ness is that the beauty of rar­ity is main­tained even in re­cent times.

Ex­am­ples such as the 15202 time-only jumbo in stain­less steel or the bou­tique- only Royal Oak Selfwind­ing 15400 with the blue dial are both en­try-level pieces but ex­tremely dif­fi­cult to lo­cate, thereby pre­serv­ing the value of the brand and time­piece. A nat­u­ral lim­i­ta­tion is the hand-fin­ished na­ture of our time­pieces, some­thing re­quir­ing spe­cific train­ing and tech­niques of the men and women mak­ing these pieces. ≠

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