Audemars Piguet Ceo Reveals His Favourite Replica Watches, And Why They’re So Cheap

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.

Replica Royal Oak Frosted Gold
Replica Royal Oak Frosted Gold

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!

Copy Royal Perpetual Calendar
Copy Royal Perpetual Calendar

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.

fake royal oak perpetual calendar in black ceramic
fake royal oak perpetual calendar in black ceramic

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.

Luxury Fake Watches Show Gives Younger Brands A Seat At The Table

For 25 years, the international luxury fake watches show Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva was the province of a tight group of old-time luxury brands such as Cartier, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Van Cleef & Arpels (all part of Cie. Financière Richemont SA), along with Audemars Piguet, Richard Mille and Greubel Forsey, among others.

So some in the watch world were surprised last January when the annual exhibition decided to give upstart luxury watchmakers a seat at the table.

The show, known as SIHH, unveiled the Carre des Horlogers (the watchmakers’ square), a space dedicated to independent luxury brands-also called cult brands, niche brands or artisan brands, depending on your preferred nomenclature.

This week, the Carre is back, and SIHH has made another change that is raising eyebrows even further: For the first time the general public will be admitted to the show.

UR-T8 counterfeit watches
UR-T8 counterfeit watches

With the importance of SIHH to the high-end imitation watch world clear, some observers also are coming to believe that Carre may represent its future. They believe that the unusual designs and selling methods embraced by the newer luxury-watch brands could soon gain wider acceptance, especially as newer buyers enter the market.

Several things distinguish the occupants of the Carre from their more traditional counterparts.

Most of the traditional brands at SIHH were founded in the 18th or 19th century. For the Carre brands, 20 years is old. Long-established brands boast about their heritage. Newer brands brag about not having a heritage and being free to explore nontraditional designs, and even new forms of the nearly three-centuries-old basic mechanical watch movement.

Take the Horological Machine No. 7-or HM7-“Aquapod” from MB&F, a brand founded in 2005. The HM7, priced at $98,000 in titanium and $118,000 in red gold, upends traditional watch design in that it resembles both a jellyfish and a “Star Trek” docking bay. MB&F founder Max Busser, whose watches can reach giddy price heights of $230,000, says he considers his business to be a “creative lab” rather than a brand.

top grade swiss made copy watches
top grade swiss made copy watches

“We don’t create our pieces with any customer in mind,” he says. “We’re interested in exploring, in pushing boundaries and expressing ourselves. We want to do things no one has ever done before.”

Another tradition-defying watch comes from Urwerk, founded in 1997 by watchmaker Felix Baumgartner and designer Martin Frei. Its new UR-T8, like many of the company’s previous models, takes design cues from scarabs (or, more recognizably, the Millennium Falcon from the “Star Wars” series) and employs a unique rotating display called a satellite system rather than traditional hands. It sells for about $100,000.

What MB&F and Urwerk prove is that in the world of mechanical counterfeit watches, traditional design and luxury are no longer exclusive bedfellows.

There’s more to learn about luxury from the Carre. While most established brands produce thousands of watches a year and offer limited editions to ensure exclusivity, the Carre brands achieve the same ends by restricting output to 30 to about 300 watches annually.

Even French watchmaker Christophe Claret, who under confidential contracts creates originals for many watch brands, restricts timepieces bearing his own name to 120 a year. Mr. Claret established his workshop in 1989, though his eponymous brand didn’t emerge until 2010.

Grönefeld, founded in 2008 by the Dutch brothers Bart and Tim Grönefeld, produces only 30 to 40 watches a year. A Grönefeld watch may appear tame compared with others in the Carre, but the brothers always devise innovative movements that appeal to watch aficionados.

The corollary to low production numbers is the ability to be close to customers. The Carre brands often shun traditional retail outlets, which means the owner of one of these watches can say: “This top swiss replica watches was made for me by someone I know.”

Fabienne Lupo, managing director of the foundation that organizes the SIHH, says it is important for the brands to actually meet their end customers and introduce them to their products. It is one of the reasons the show decided to open its doors to the public.

The question is, will traditional aaa replica watches brands need to steal some of the clothes of the new children on the block-low production numbers (which means more limited editions), closeness to customers, stunning designs and mechanical innovation-to attract new luxury buyers?