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Watches

Audemars Piguet’s Pre-SIHH Watch Releases Have Gone Missing

Words by Tom Billinghurst

You can't see Audemars Piguet's pre-SIHH 2019 watches. Especially in the jungle or the desert. Well, in a metaphorical sense; they are all camouflaged.

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Audemars Piguet's "dream team" of sponsored golfers

As watch launches go, overlooking the 15th tee of Jumeriah Golf Estates on the penultimate day of the season-ending DP World Tour is one of the more refined and ambient.

As Danny Willet, Lee Westwood and seven other Audemars-sponsored golfers (they seem to hold an ever expanding monopoly on swingers toting the AP brand on their polo sleeves) pitched and putted their way into the final two days of the Race to Dubai event, the company’s ceo Francois Bennahmias held a media round table to unveil the pre-SIHH 2019 heroes. A pleasant setting, indeed.

Bennahmias, in jocular raconteur-esque manner lifted the veil (literally – there was an AP-branded black cloth covering the pieces) on the 2019 Royal Oak Offshore Chronographs, in three new camouflage colourways with some new materials and component combinations to boot.

Specifications

Movement

Manufacture calibre 3126

Total diameter

29.92 mm

Dial

Méga Tapisserie

Water Resistant

100m

Functionality

Chronograph

Power Reserve

50 hours

Number of parts

365

Case

Stainless steel /pink gold

Camouflage is something of a Millennial-zeitgeist choice. The temptation to ask where the new pieces had all disappeared to once the veil had been lifted, in the spirit of the endless memes and camo-spoof vids posted on social media, was too much for some. “Where did they go?!” someone joked. To silence, a moving-swiftly-on face and an awkward shuffling and shifting.

“These are beautiful watches that build on the foundations of the Royal Oak line, and are a response to the popularity of the first camouflage watch we released last year. As far as this year’s SIHH goes, we have something big planned. Very big,” Bennahmias told reporters on Sunday morning in a golf-side villa AP had rented out for the day to follow its sponsored golfers as they headed into the final day.

The three new camouflage colourways — green, brown and blue — follow in the footsteps of AP’s 2018 SIHH piece, the Khaki green camouflage self-winding chronograph. It’s a piece that raised a few horological eyebrows at the show last year for its almost anti-hero disposition, standing out in great contrast to the norm.

But it’s become all the more desirable because of that. In an era where anti-establish figures, social media-democracy and instagrammability hold great sway, the camo colours fit the zeitgeist neatly.

All the classic Royal Oak bells and whistles are featured on these pieces, as to be expected. Plus there’s a couple of firsts on these piece – to be officially launched at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) in January 2019.

There’s the 44mm case and Maison-defining octagonal ceramic bezel. But now we see for the first time the Méga-Tapisserie dial and screw-locked crown, which throw off quite the breath-taking aesthetic — only what we’ve come to expect from the storied Swiss Manufacture. And in another first for AP, the brown ceramic model makes use of a pink gold case.

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