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Showing posts from December, 2023

Fining the Crown

News recently broke that watch brand Rolex was on the receiving end of a €91 million fine levied by French authorities. A view of Rolex's offices in France. Source: Google Maps. Generally, the headlines ascribed this fine to Rolex's alleged practice of prohibiting online sales of its watches. However, I've looked closely at the situation and I don't think those headlines are completely accurate (although they're probably what French authorities would want you to believe). I came to this conclusion after reading a Google translation of a 134 page report issued by the French Competition Authority on December 19, 2023. Generally speaking, such documents do not make for engaging reading. However, for those who know how successful Rolex has been at maintaining a comparatively high level of corporate secrecy, the French report provides a compelling and rare insight into some specific aspects of the brand's business. It is these insights which lead me to conclu

Breaking: Audemars Piguet Announces New US Service Center

Raleigh Iron Works rendering. Photo credit Jamestown LP. Luxury watch maker Audemars Piguet has announced a new North American service center in Raleigh, North Carolina. The brand plans to spend $22 million on the new facility and it will create 105 new jobs in the state's capital. The service center will be located in Raleigh Iron Works, a new mixed-use development in downtown Raleigh. Watchmakers will be able to enjoy a variety of neighboring businesses, including a brewery, restaurants and a gym. There is also a slide from the top of a staircase. Further afield, Raleigh is part of the "research triangle" region consisting of three world-renowed universities: North Carolina State University, Duke University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Wake County Economic Development offered a quote from outgoing Audemars Piguet CEO Fran├žois-Henry Bennahmias regarding the new service center: "'When our employees visited Raleigh and the Triang

Collabs as Moonshots: Bridging a Century-Long Divide

This week, Audemars Piguet released the Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Openworked limited edition (reference 26585CM.OO.D301VE.01) in collaboration with Cactus Jack, a music label founded by artist Travis Scott. The Cactus Jack "takeover" of Audemars Piguet's NYC Boutique. It was in this space that the most recent collaboration was released. The timepiece is priced at $201,000 with a 41mm case in brown ceramic. There are various bold design elements at play in this timepiece. For example, the "stitchmarks" on the moonphase complication are an embellishment that evokes the Cactus Jack "Smiley Face" emblem (they're also reminiscent of the animated character Jack Skellington in Tim Burton's movie A Nightmare Before Christmas ). The dial of the AP X Cactus Jack collaboration, note the "smiley face" moonphase and the handwritten style of dial typography. An additional distinguishing design element is the dial's typography. It h