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.