“Women will go insane,” prophesied Audemars Piguet CEO Francois-Henry Bennahmias, when he told us about an upcoming collection during an interview in April this year. This month, we finally get to see the first images of this new series, and our sentiments are: Subtract a little of that hyperbole, and he is probably right.
Recently launched in Florence to mark the 40th anniversary of the women’s Royal Oak, the Royal Oak Frosted Gold watches feature subtly sparkling, textured cases and bracelets created using a process rooted in an ancient gold-hammering technique. This traditional process is known as the Florentine technique, and has been adapted by jewellery designer Carolina Bucci to create subtly dazzling accessories for years.
Bucci’s collaboration with Audemars Piguet in creating the Royal Oak Frosted Gold range, however, marks the first time this technique has been used on watches. It took months of experimentation between Bucci’s Florentine artisans and Audemars Piguet experts to figure out how to apply this surface finishing to the Royal Oak case and bracelet in a sufficiently refined manner that would maintain the watch’s clean lines and the supple feel of the bracelet.
The Royal Oak Gold Frosted watches are available in 37mm (automatic movement) or 33mm (quartz) sizes, and in white or pink gold. According to Bennahmias, these new timepieces will be produced in relatively small quantities, and will be available soon after the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), which takes place next January. Added the CEO, with his charming flair for drama: “I’m confident that they will all be sold by the end of March. I can sign this in my blood.”