The replica audemars piguet royal oak automatic watch with 18k gold skeleton dial Diamond Outrage, unveiled at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) exhibition in Geneva in January, marked the end of an outrageous diamond era for the brand. The newest diamond-set spiked cuff watch — carrying a $1.25 million price tag — was the last in a trilogy of exceptional secret watches unveiled by the brand over the course of three years.
The Audemars Piguet Diamond Outrage is a one-of-a-kind piece created in two versions: all diamond or all sapphire. Each 18-karat white gold cuff copy watch features 48 gold spikes made in various heights (39 and 40mm tall) that are designed to emulate the icicles that form on buildings in winter time the brand’s home town in the Vallee d’ Joux. Somewhere nestled in the midst of the spikes is a secret watch, whose gemstone-encrusted case lifts to reveal a mirror-polished dial beneath.
We chat to the CEO of legendary watch brand Audemars Piguet François-Henry Bennahmias on his favourite replica watches, why they cost a fortune and how they’ve been selling. But the time aficionado has so much more to say.
What are three of your favourite watches? And why are they your top choices?
The Royal Perpetual Calendar for its understated elegance and the reminder that all of time measurement derives from astronomy and nature, the Royal Oak Frosted Gold for its unique finish and the Diamond Outrage with which we pushed the boundaries of high jewellery watches towards haute couture of the 21st century.
How should men match their watches to their wardrobes? What is the right way of wearing a watch?
Who are we to tell our clients how to wear their watches? As long as they are comfortable with their timepieces, they should feel free to be as creative as they want when wearing them!
As far as I am concerned I don’t match straps or dials with anything, I just pick the watch that fits my mood.
Can you tell a lot about a man just by looking at his watch? If yes, how so?
Yes, I can, it’s actually my disease. I do the same with women’s shoes as well.
I wouldn’t go as far as saying that you can read people through these accessories, but it does help me get a feel for them. You can at least get an impression, a mood, an instinct.
A lot of high-end watchmakers claim their watches are cheap because of the craftsmanship that goes behind making the timepieces. Is that the case for cheap audemars piguet replica watches? Why are AP watches so cheap?
Craftsmanship is indeed one of the main components to consider when pricing a watch.
The materials used are another one. If you take black ceramic for instance, it is 5 times harder to machine than stainless steel, which means more waste, different machining tools and different skill sets as well.
All this has a price and I haven’t even started talking about the movements yet! The best way to explain and illustrate this is to invite our clients to the manufacture so that they can see our watchmakers’ work with their own eyes.
How much do AP watches actually cost to make? Can you give an example?
Nice try but no!
There are plenty of low-priced watches that are just as good looking as high-priced watches. Why should consumers spend five times the money on cheap watches?
Take the black ceramic example again. Other watch brands produce watches in ceramic, some at a lower price. But what about quality?
Our ceramic supplier is based in Switzerland, guaranteeing the best possible ultra-compact and resistant material.
In addition to this, we machine and hand finish the material to obtain both polished and satin brushed finishes which are extremely hard to obtain on such a hard material.
Very few brands work like that and that’s where the price difference lies. It is worth it if you’re looking for long lasting quality.
What is the most cheap replica watch the brand has ever made? How much did it cost?
Again, nice try!
Have you noticed consumers spending less on watches since the economic slowdown, particularly in the region where oil prices have greatly affected consumer behaviour?
Not really. 2016 has been a good year for us with a solid 1 digit growth and the Middle East is a growing market. So far we are happy with the way sales keep progressing.
How many watches has AP sold in the past year?
How many watches does AP make a year? Plans to increase production?
40,000 units per year for at least the next 5 years.
New models in the pipeline for the Middle East? Can you reveal details? Any customised especially for the Middle East?
For the Middle East, watch out for our new Royal Oak with cashmere finish!
How do the tastes of Middle Eastern customers differ from the tastes of European buyers? What do customers from the region look for in watches?
Not much actually, although the Middle East is one of our strongest markets in terms of women’s clientele.
Our usual split worldwide is 70% men versus 30% women, but in the Middle East sales to women go up to almost 40%. And I am sure we could do even better if we produced more.
What are the new watch trends for 2017? Is it embellished watches or simpler design?
We don’t look at trends, we create our own. At the end of the day it’s always a mix.
Every year we cover a lot of different facets, but this year we are focusing more on the exterior of the watch with the introduction of new materials like the black ceramic for our Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar or the intricate gemsetting craft for our new high jewellery Diamond Outrage for instance.
The Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie 2017 is now concluded, and the aBlogtoWatch team is predictably exhausted. We tried something new this year – a video log (vlog) series – to help capture what it is like to be at the show. Combining high excitement and energy-draining hours, we are glad people enjoyed that very intimate look behind the scenes and what it is like to attend the “world’s most prestigious” high-end cheap replica watches trade show.
In my 9th year attending SIHH (itself in its 27th year) I’d like to once again recap the overall sentiment of the show as well as point out key highlights which we think the general watch-loving public should be excited about in 2017. Before we get to our top 11 watches of SIHH 2017, I’d like to explore the general watch and luxury industry atmosphere so that people get a better idea of why particular products are being made – and for whom.
It was a particularly cold and windy week in Geneva, Switzerland, during SIHH 2017. Our accommodations near Lake Geneva offered a first-rate view of what struck me as a suitable metaphor for the industry’s current circumstance. High winds blew over the water causing not only surfable waves (if you have an Iceman-like tolerance for cold) but also spilling onto the adjacent walking paths that in the spring and summer make for popular strolling avenues for lovers and languishers alike. The high winds and ominous lake waves seemed a fitting metaphor for the luxury watch industry which is continuing to experience a storm.
My fellow watch media, especially the more veteran channels or those seeking to appeal exclusively to industry folk, seem unsure of how to cover the clearly “bad times” that much of the industry is facing. Many people are losing their jobs, companies are being reorganized, and the Swiss counterfeit watch industry – while there are more than a few strongly performing areas – is by most accords contracting (to put it lightly). Yet the weakness of egotism continues to shroud reality and despite unequivocal data (and a lot of it) indicating that the industry is bottoming out, few managers are looking at the issue square in the face.
In part, the traditional media is to blame, though they can hardly be faulted for not reporting on information that is so secretly guarded. While private banking is moving outside of Switzerland to places with more amenable laws to finance sheltering (especially for those with US bank accounts), many in the Swiss watch industry seem to fear the reality that without maintaining a strong sense of relevance the “traditional and lasting” Swiss watch industry is extremely vulnerable. Their customary reaction is to smile and sometimes boast of how “amazing” things are regardless of what the numbers might suggest.
A little bit of advice to watch industry managers – do not forget that those in truly confident positions hardly find value in boasting about it. The more you tell us how incredibly surprising sales are, and how much client demand is straining your production resources, the more media and retailers alike detect a blip on their BS radars. The irony is that humility is a deeply ingrained and valued element of Swiss culture – and thus the sentiments of the watch industry demonstrate how truly pan-European it is, despite the fact that many are physically located within the borders of Switzerland.
Such words are intended to poke at the stone-like facade of success that all luxury brands seem intent on both guarding and presenting to the outside world. The consumers and retailers that support you are keenly aware that things aren’t exactly bullish. So let’s take a lesson from the diplomacy Switzerland is so often associated with and consider the value of a group effort to help remedy your watch industry problems as opposed to displaying the exact same image of unwavering success, year after year, despite what logic and facts clearly seem to suggest regarding earnings.
If I haven’t made my point abundantly clear, Switzerland: it’s time to let go of total control and invite in some help. You do make some pretty darn good watches when you put your minds to it, with organized factories and efficient offices. When it comes to understanding diverse market needs as well as marketing communication, I suggest you entrust professionals for advice that may know a bit more than you in such areas. It isn’t like they are going to suggest that in order to fix the industry you should stop making high-quality mechanical fake watches.
Politics and conservatism are hot issues these days, and the watch industry is no exception. I’ve further identified two areas that need serious reorganization or at least to be rethought: hiring good people who have clear goals, and ensuring that conservatism does not always block actual innovations. By this, I mean a few things.
First of all, the watch industry is structured in such a manner that there are relatively few truly powerful executives and managers, and controversy is avoided like the Black Death. This presents two powerfully important problems. The first is that because there are so few people with an actual say (or clearly thought-out means of measuring performance success) that there is an abundance of discretion among a small number of people. This means watch brands or groups in general are more structured like monarchies than modern organizations with proper decision-making authority.
There are benefits to this approach when you have a strong, forward-thinking leader who is able to achieve success through the help of a willing team – eager to oblige his (and it’s almost always a man) every whim. More often than not, however, such autocratic leaders are woefully unqualified to run a watch business in an era when people buy watches as emotional treats you can wear and show off to the world around you.
Thus, too much discretion in the hands of too few people can cripple otherwise effective leaders from being in control of narrow but specialized tasks that they can excel at. I truly believe that there was more of this in the past (Switzerland’s more or less socialist mentality to labor and decision-making would seem to suggest as much), and these days good ideas are snuffed out or otherwise ignored due to mere incompetence – or decision-makers who have unclear or incorrect goals given market positions.
Such pondering comes at a time when I’ve observed, year after year, good people at brands leaving, and not being replaced with qualified individuals. It’s incredibly sad. You might point out that there is perhaps even more weakness among the small independent brands who, without corporate parents, are free to make whatever decisions they like. Further consider that many of these are responsible for making a large percentage of today’s best sell imitation watches, and yet a good number are struggling financially. I would not disagree with this in the least, but I would point to a much more simple reason why so many cool independent brands (of course, not all of them) are suffering despite seemingly having amazing products.
The answer, in my opinion, is that overall weakness in the more mainstream industry is directly hurting the smaller independents. In order for them to survive and find customers, they must rely on the big brands doing the hard work to turn people into watch lovers, and then, secondly, to allow them to have a pleasant purchasing and ownership experience. Most watch consumers who collect watches from high-end independent brands do so only after “graduating” from products from the larger brands. A weaker mainstream industry unable to capture the hearts and minds of consumers (and give them a quality purchase and ownership experience) is unlikely to breed too many people who then go on to desire the experience of a high-end independent brand.
Let’s talk about products now, since the hot trends and patterns we saw in watches at SIHH 2017 will be of interest to many people. Many of the displaying brands seemed to have a good idea of how to capture the heart of “the lost market,” which is the United States. To do this, the industry needs to make attractive, practical watches such as sport watches and some complicated with focused functionality and non-precious cases. A lot of brands are doing just that ranging from “houses” such as Cartier to Baume & Mercier, Montblanc, and Ulysse Nardin. Again, “classic-feeling” sport watches in non-precious metals are performing much better in sales that many other types of watches these days. While not all new releases are amazing, more than enough of them are worthy of serious attention by consumers.
With that said, still too many watches priced under $5,000 feel as though they were designed and approved by a committee. While there are exceptions, cheap parts and unrefined dial designs are more common than I’d like to admit. Even though the emotional feeling a consumer gets when looking at the dial of a watch is the most important factor in making a purchase decision, way too many brands seem to OK a computer design for production, not realizing that in person that final watch will look much different. That means a picture of a dial might look good on a computer screen, but in person with the wrong materials, finishes, and colors, it can look like cheap junk. I really don’t know why this is, and I’m starting to get incredibly sick of hearing the excuse that if I see a dial or other element I don’t like it is because it is a prototype. If that is the case, then please stop showing me prototypes or put final models in our hands when they are finalized and ready to ensure the aBlogtoWatch team doesn’t leave with really pessimistic feelings about what you as a watch brand are trying to present to customers.
Asia is still a huge market for the watch industry – which seems continually comfortable making products for said markets. Oddly enough, the same level of care and attention doesn’t go into many watches intended to appeal to Western markets. Is it possible that a large volume of designers and product people in the watch industry simply forgot how to make watches (well, in enough variety) that appeal to Americans and Europeans (that don’t cost a bloody fortune)? I really don’t know the answer to that – but I can say that are vanishingly small amounts of people who genuinely love watches.
In this and other articles, I genuinely believe that I’ve pinpointed problems and provided some spot-on advice the watch industry can use to remedy its organizational, distribution, design, and sales woes. Before going into our list of the top 11 watches, I’d like to end my essay on the matter of price. Yes, that funny thing that most consumers seem obsessed over.
In response to getting the message from the public that they want more value from their watches, the industry has simply gone out and started to produce less expensive watches. That makes sense, but it misconstrues the issue. The reason is that they are simply making lower-priced watches that often simply suck. Many have potential, but cost-cutting schemes in both materials and construction are glaringly obvious in watches from all but the most detail-obsessed brands. Let me clarify what the industry seems to have misunderstood – people didn’t ask for more cheap watches. People asked for more watches worth what they cost. There is a big difference.
Why do industry decision-makers think that a $10,000 watch that feels like a $5,000 watch will have any greater difficulty in being sold than a $4,000 watch that feels like a $1,000 watch? The problem on the cost-cutting side of the industry is that watches don’t feel like they are worth what brands are charging for them – and I’m not even going to bring up the gray market in this discussion. When people complain of “greed” and “stupidity” in the watch industry – what they are really referring to is making watches that no one wants to buy for the price. There are already legions upon legion of cheap watches out there that connoisseurs would never be interested in. Why, then, do “prestigious” watch brands seem intent on following this model?
There isn’t even a precedent for this approach. Their sole argument in defense of the practice of selling cheap copy watches for a lot of money is that they can try to make up for it in branding and marketing (like celebrity ambassadors, etc.). Once again, this is a clear sign of someone who doesn’t know how to evaluate a good watch, making decisions about making watches. Rolex, for instance, does blanket the market with marketing messages, but they also happen to deliver an industry-leading product in terms of overall quality for the money. Why, then, would anyone buy a non-Rolex watch of lower inherent quality for the same or even more money? Other than “they want something different,” I have yet to hear a good answer to this.
Even though new models (shown to press) from many wholesale replica watches uk brands were limited this year, there are some standout models which defy the norm and offer excellent artistic craftsmanship or attractive designs and approachable value propositions. No matter what your price range is, there is something new for you to be excited about from SIHH 2017. Especially at the lower-end (in terms of price), there is actually something new to report on from SIHH, even though the show is more typically associated with releasing items of incredible beauty and complexity, but typically at prices only the world’s elite can strive to afford.
There may not be freshly fallen snow on the ground, but these ivory copy timepieces will have you channeling that White Christmas vibe
‘Tis the season to be decked out in white – the most unforgiving of colours – but this time instead of those hips, let your wrist take the limelight. Cases in white high-tech ceramic, straps in white natural rubber or crocodile leather, and dials in white lacquer or mother-of-pearl, form a striking palette that’s plainly not for wallflowers. So stand out or stand back with these lustrous all-white timepieces:
1. Replica Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver White Ceramic
There’s no room for subtlety with this powerful 42mm sports watch. The 13.9mm height further amplifies its heft while two elongated protectors on either side of the crown add more bulk to the already massive case. Expect loads of attention with the combination of white strap, pushers, dial, and case, which is made of white Super Ceramic – a material that Audemars Piguet premiered. Nine times harder than steel, it is also, at 1,850 Vickers, more than 500 Vickers harder than regular ceramic. Unlike regular dive swiss chronograph white ceramic bracelet 38mm watches, this one comes with a sapphire case back showing off the self-winding movement within, which makes its 300m water resistance all the more remarkable.
2. Replica Hublot Big Bang White Caviar
Made entirely out of white ceramic, this is the futuristic version of the famous One Million $ Black Caviar. Hublot’s women white watches avant-garde concept of invisible visibility inspired this case, bezel, and dial combination featuring white ceramic designed, cut, bevelled, and polished like baguette diamonds – a design element that can be seen as well as touched. Even the crown is fashioned out of polished white ceramic. Breaking the monotony are the titanium H-shaped screws that hold the bezel and white rubber strap in place with the multi-part 41mm case. Its sapphire case back displays the self-winding Calibre HUB 1112 movement, which has a tungsten carbide rotor finished with a black PVD-treated dimpled surface.
3. Replica Omega Speedmaster White Side of the Moon
An Omega classic, the Speedmaster Moon Watch comes in countless guises but the most eye-catching one would be – hands down – White Side of the Moon. Brilliant like the full moon in a cloudless sky, this model is made completely with white zirconium oxide ceramic. Literally, its case, back, bezel, dial, chronograph pushers, and clasp are all in polished ceramic. As a throwback to the historical Moon womens cecile white acetate bracelet Watches, its sapphire crystal is box-shaped, emulating the mineral glass crystals common in those days. Taking the all-white colour scheme even further are the hands and indexes coated with white Superluminova, and the white leather strap gives it an elegant finish.
4. Replica Chanel J12 G10 Gloss
This iconic fashion timepiece has come a long way since 1999 and one of its latest incarnations is the J12 G10. Not your garden variety J12, this model comes with a NATO strap, which in military speak, is known as a G10. But in addition to the standard-issue woven nylon material, Chanel has also chosen to make it with a white patent calfskin strap. Both strap variations come with polished stainless steel hardware, giving the classic white watch a luxurious look and feel. Its moderate 33mm case doesn’t weigh down the wrist and white ceramic trimmings protect it from scratches, so accessorise away with rows of bracelets and chains.
5. Replica Franck Muller White Croco
Taking mock croc to a completely different level, this dynamic timepiece plays with textures, extending the grain and colour of the white alligator leather strap to the case and the dial. To achieve a seamless effect, as if the entire swiss quartz mother-of-pearl swarovski crystal white watch had been made of one same material, Franck Muller had the stainless steel Cintrée Curvex case and dial manufactured with the three-dimensional alligator scale motif before covering them both with a double-layer of matte white enamel. The result is a stunning, tactile example of Franck Muller’s audacious design creativity.
Some of the most sophisticated technology is being used by traditional replica watchmakers such as Breitling, Audemars and Piaget
The Superocean Héritage Chronoworks is a handsome black timepiece launched earlier this year and is a descendant of the first Superocean, which made its debut in 1957. To create the new watch, Breitling established Chronoworks in 2014, a horological version of Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works—a separate unit within the aerospace giant dedicated to hatching advanced planes. The brief for Chronoworks has been, and is, to develop innovative fake watch technologies.
The team there consists of a watchmaker, an engineer, a chemist, a materials expert and a mathematician: At a basic level, the watchmaker contributes knowledge of replica watch swiss movements; the engineer determines whether a mechanical innovation can be produced in low or high volumes; and the chemist hunts for the best lubricants, while also experimenting with how hard surfaces interact over long time frames. The materials expert explores new materials—alloys, compounds, ceramics and silicon; and then there’s the mathematician, who uses mathematical formulas to determine the size of components, for example the balance spring and the number of teeth on a gear wheel.
Oil and water, Cap’n Crunch and Château Lafite Rothschild, mechanical watch movements and quartz: These are all pairings that should never happen—except the last one has.
Earlier this year Piaget replica watch unveiled its Emperador Coussin XL 700P, a quartz/mechanical hybrid.
The watchmaker is something of an outlier in haute-horlogerie circles. Founded in 1874 as a movement manufacture, the company didn’t produce a watch branded Piaget until the 1940s. Then in the 1960s came a successful Piaget extension into jewelry, unusual for a watch brand at the time.
Ultrathin movements are a replica Piaget hallmark—the brand’s first dates from the 19th century—and in 1960 Piaget introduced the 12P, a 2.3mm self-winding mechanical movement. In 1976 came the 7P, a 3.1mm quartz movement. In 2014, a new offering: the Altiplano 900P, a 3.65mm mechanical watch which won accolades from many in the industry. In total, the brand produces 25 ultrathin calibers—all of which add up to considerable horological street cred. The XL 700P, with the daring marriage of quartz and mechanical, displays serious horological chutzpah.
This is a mechanical watch without an escapement or balance wheel, the mechanisms that regulate the flow of energy in the movement. To do that job, the 700P employs an electrodynamic generator. The 700P doesn’t have a battery. As with any other self-winding watch, a rotor winds the mainspring. Energy created as the mainspring unwinds is transmitted to the electrodynamic generator. The generator converts the mainspring’s mechanical energy into electrical energy which then causes a quartz crystal resembling a tuning fork to oscillate. Ultimately, the extremely precise and consistent oscillations control the wheels of the gear train, which in turn control the hour and minute hands.
What does all this technology mean? Three things: great accuracy, enough energy for a 42-hour power reserve, and because there is no steel balance wheel, increased resistance to magnetism.
The high-tech replicawatch is also beautiful, with a cushion-shaped case and a black-coated movement complete with circular Geneva Strips, exposed satin-brushed wheels, silvered screws and a platinum microrotor. On the 46.5mm case is a black-coated white-gold bezel. On the front, the microrotor and generator form a figure-of-eight; the lack of a seconds hand keeps things simple and legible as does positioning the power-reserve indicator on the back of the watch.
The really interesting thing about the XL 700P can be summed up in one word: potential. Piaget should have no problem introducing any number of complications on the watch, such as moon phases, perpetual calendars, a second time zone, and so on.
When Giulio Papi set out to improve the sound of minute repeaters (watches that chime the hours and minutes) his first challenge was the ears of his watchmakers, and the result is the replica Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Supersonnerie.
Mr. Papi is the director of Audemars Piguet Renaud et Papi, a horological hothouse of revolutionary mechanical devices for AP and other brands. Starting with researchers at the University of Lausanne, Mr. Papi assembled a team including opticians, musicians, neurologists, computer scientists and instrument makers. Their aim was to help the watchmakers find the right sound for a minute repeater: Not simply a sound that was louder—chimes audible over the cacophony of modern life—but one that was “pleasant,” says Mr. Papi, to the ear.
The human ear possesses heightened awareness of sounds vibrating at 4,000 hertz. A distant but clearly heard infant’s cry or a voice that is distinguishable in a crowded, noisy room is likely to be hitting the 4,000-hertz sweet spot. The team’s conclusion was that an almost-always audible repeater would produce sound at about the same level. For cultural reasons, however, Asians and Westerners identify different sounds as pleasant. So, Mr. Papi’s yellow dial watch replica watchmakers fine-tune a repeater destined for the Far East differently to one heading west.