Audemars Piguet releases a trilogy of Royal Oak chronographs dedicated to (arguable) the best football player in the world, Leo Messi. As in any fine piece of mechanical and artistic brilliance there was a collaboration of many talents. The first step in the process of making this kind of watch is for an artist to give an accurate pretrial of the end result. The Chief Artistic Officer assigned to this collection was Octavio Garcia. Octavio worked alongside Leo to come up with the design of the line. What they came up with is what I believe to be a striking tribute to one of the world’s best strikers. “I’m proud to have played a part in the creation of the Royal Oak Leo Messi, and proud that it bears my name.”- Leo Messi
Although the Leo Messi collection gives the impression of being a typical Royal Oak, it is not. This compilation has three defining factors that make it unique. First there is no Tapisserie motif on the dial which lends itself to a more elegant look. Second the octagonal shaped bezel is made of Tantalum, a rare metal with an esthetically pleasing color. Finally to continue the trend of bigger, but not ridiculously big watches the Leo Messi collection is 41mm in diameter instead of the classic 39mm diameter.
“In football as in watchmaking, talent and elegance mean nothing without rigor and precision.” –Leo Messi
He is right; one can all look at this watch and marvel at its beauty. One can do that for many watches, but no one can look past the precision that is Audemars Piguet. The Leo Messi collection has the 2385 caliber which is a self-winding movement with 304 parts. Each of these parts are meticulously set into place by master watchmakers and all of the functions are tested for accuracy. I know that may not mean a lot to you, but what I can tell you is I have sold many Audemars Piguet watches and have never had someone return the watch saying it was not working or not keeping time. That is a testament to their rigorous precision that is Audemars Piguet.
Take a look at these masterpieces.
The first time I saw these watches they took my breath away and I have seen a lot of high end watches (Breguet, Patek Philippe, Varcheron Constantin, etc.). Then I started to read about the movement and the history behind the watch and it motivated me to write this entry.
Ludwig Oechslin, the creator of these watches, has been in the watch industry all of his adult life.
In the year 1972 at the age of 20 Ludwig began his studies in history, philosophy, archaeology, ancient history, Greek and Latin. By 1976 he had graduated from the University of Basel and was urged to seek a profession that he could use his hands both practically and creatively. Later that year Ludwig found his calling with a well-know watchmaker named Jorg Sporing. He became more and more interested in the inner workings of clocks and wristwatches. Soon, he was working on astronomical clocks more than 250 years old with unequalled complexity.
In 1983 he received his doctorate from the University of Bern in theoretical physics and was discovered by Rolf Schnyder, Owner of Ulysse Nardin. Rolf saw limitless potential in Ludwig and asked him if it was possible to build an astrolabe as small as a wristwatch. Ludwig replied “Who would be interested in buying that?”
Over the next twelve years of his life Oechslin became internationally recognized as an expert on astronomical timepieces from the 16th to 18th century and traveled throughout Europe. Also during this time he created the now famous “Trilogy of Time” series which were featured in the Guinness Book of Records under mechanical marvels.
In 1984 he received his watchmakers diploma and became a master watchmaker in 1993 (although he was recognized as a master far earlier in his life). In 2001 Ludwig was named the curator-director of the International Watch Museum, the most complete and renown horological collection in the world. Even after receiving such a prestigious position Ludwig ideas helped produce the Ulysse Nardin Freak 7-day carrousel tourbillon and the Sonata alarm GMT watch.
Finally in 2009 Ludwig led us to the stars again with the Moonstruck which shows the relationship the earth has between the moon and the sun. Instead of the earth rotating, the sun and moon move around the earth to simulate the rotation of the globe. Probably the most substantial part of this movement is the accuracy that was attained by splitting the rotation on the moonphase plate between two discs. That allows the moon phase indicator to be accurate for more than 100,000 years. Couple that with a GMT indicator and years of experience that Ludwig and Ulysse Nardin have you can’t go wrong.
Everyone knows by now that Arnold Schwarzenegger is a huge fan of Audemars Piguet watches. And, with the Governator firmly ensconsed in his second term of office, we thought we would revisit some of his favorite AP watches and even his role in creating some of them.
Let’s start with his largest collaboration with Audemars Piguet watches in terms of size. One of the most iconic Audemars Piguet watches of all time is the famed T3 watch. Schwarznegger wore this watch in the 2003 movie “Terminator 3″. The Audemars Piguet T3 watch (ref. 25863TI.OO.A001CU.01) measures a massive 57.2mm wide, 61mm long, and 15.65mm thick. At the time, this size was considered beyond “large”. But true to form, Audemars Piguet stuck with it, and the T3 in particular was directly and significantly responsible for the subsequent trend towards larger watches.
The T3′s case is constructed of titanium, which resists magnetic fields, making it the ideal choice in the event of any attempted rise of the machines. In addition, the highly stylized crown and pusher guards do not provide additional water resistance. They are there mainly for appearance.
The T3 watch was produced in a limited edition of only 1000 pieces (750 with black dial, and 250 with silver dial), and owners of the watch also received a special treat in the huge silver presentation box that the watch came in. It included a collector’s set of the Terminator movie series (DVDs of Terminator 1 and 2, and a priority mail-in voucher to redeem the Terminator 3 when the movie was to be released on DVD). At the time, the T3 was considered a futuristic looking watch, and it’s extreme interpretation of the Audemars Piguet Offshore watch series, combined with the popularity of the movie, gained it plenty of fans. Once released, it was an instant hit and sold out with the dealerships in no time. Even to this day, the T3 sells far above the original $19,900 list price on the rare occasions that it actually does appear in the secondary market.
Next is the Audemars Piguet Arnold’s All Stars watch (ref. 26158OR.OO.A801CR.01). Similar to other Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore watches, the Arnold’s All Stars watch has an octagonal bezel secured by hexagonal screws, a visible water-resistance seal between the bezel and the case (providing a respectable water resistance of 50 meters), and perfectly integrated case and bracelet. Where the Arnold’s All Stars differs is it’s warm rose gold case, rich chocolate brown dial and matching crocodile strap, slightly larger 47mm case diameter, and exclusive limited production of only 350 pieces (long since sold out with the authorized dealers). Echoing the foundation logo, the caseback is engraved with the inscription “Royal Oak Offshore Arnold’s All-Stars – Limited Edition”.
Arnold’s All Stars is a collaboration between Audemars Piguet and Arnold Schwarzenegger for the benefit of the After-School All-Stars charity which provides comprehensive after school programs that are fun for kids and also keeps them safe and helps them achieve success in school and life by improving kids’ lives by nurturing their minds, bodies and spirits through programs that incorporate independent learning, academics and enrichment activities. After-School All-Stars serves 35,000 youth annually through after school and summer programs in 15 cities across the country. For further information, visit www.afterschoolallstars.org.
Another Audemars Piguet watch that has Schwarzenegger’s name on it, is the Audemars Piguet Arnold Schwarzenegger watch. Lesser known that the Arnold’s All Stars watch, it is quite possibly even more difficult to obtain. The Arnold Schwarzenegger was produced in a limited quantity of only 400 pieces (and also long since completely sold out long ago with the authorized dealers).
Although the Arnold Schwarzenegger watch shares it’s namesake with the Arnold’s All Stars, it is more similar to the Royal Oak Offshore line in respect to size (44mm diameter). While the Arnold Schwarzenegger watch may also still remind some of the All Star’s watch, it’s case is yellow gold, and the black dial with gold subdials is sharp looking and contrasts nicely.
Last, but not least, is the rarest and most highly sought after of the Arnold Schwarzenegger/Audemars Piguet collaboration watches, the End of Days. The Audemars Piguet End of Days was one of the earliest watches that Audemars Piguet produced specially for one of Schwarzenegger’s movies and made a very brief appearance in one of the film’s scenes. The End of Days was also one of the earliest watches to sport a black PVD coated stainless steel case. And, similar to the T3 spawning the trend for larger watches, the End of Days started the subsequent trend for black PVD coated watches. What makes this watch so rare is that only 500 pieces were produced in 1999, of which less than 100 made their way to the United States. In addition, finding one in the secondary market that still has the black PVD coating in good condition is next to impossible.
Jackie Kennedy wore a Piaget watch set with emeralds and diamonds in the bezel and a jade dial. Here it is shown in yellow gold with matching gold hands.
Another former first lady, Jackie Kennedy, was also known to have worn a Cartier watch. In this 1969 photo, Jackie Kennedy is shown wearing a Tank Louis Cartier watch with a black leather strap. One can only assume that her watch would have been the white gold version of the Tank Louis Cartier as it was not produced in steel.
Michelle Obama wears a Cartier Tank Francaise watch in her official portrait shot in the White House. Her watch of choice is the simple steel version of the elegant Tank Francaise watch. The distinctive Tank Francaise bracelet and blue spinel cabochon crown are plainly visible in the inset picture. Named as a tribute to the tanks that made their introduction in World War I, the Tank Francaise watch from Cartier has become one of the world’s most recognizable watches.
Here is a closeup of the steel Cartier Tank Francaise in medium size.
A Florida thief with a peculiar penchant for Rolex watches faces up to 25 years in prison.
Leonardo Perez has pleaded guilty to charges he stole eight gold Rolex Presidential edition watches, each worth $50,000, over four months in 2007. The crime spree began just after Perez finished a 17-year sentence for stealing Rolexes in South Florida.
The 36-year-old Miami native is so loyal he even has the Rolex logo tattooed on a forearm. Investigators say he’s been able to glimpse and follow drivers wearing the watch from the other side of the road.
Perez was supposed to be sentenced Thursday in Orange County, but the hearing was delayed.
He primarily found victims out shopping, followed them home and robbed them at gunpoint.
Of all the items set to go on the auction block this week at a midtown Manhattan hotel, there’s one that would take some mettle to wear in public: A satin New York Mets baseball jacket emblazoned with the name “Madoff.”
The jacket – valued at between $500 and $700 – is among hundreds of pieces of jewelry, clothing and other personal effects once owned by disgraced financier and vanquished Mets fan Bernard Madoff and his wife, Ruth.
Madoff, 71, was sentenced in June 2009 to 150 years in prison for orchestrating a massive Ponzi scheme that spanned decades. The property will be sold to raise money for his victims. Gaston and Sheehan Auctioneers Inc. held the auction Nov 10, 2009 at the New York Sheraton.
Though thousands of investors with Madoff’s once-respected advisory firm believed their securities accounts were worth tens of billions of dollars, he never made investments and instead siphoned new investors’ money to pay returns to existing ones – and to fuel a life of luxury.
Madoff’s punishment included a forfeiture order that stripped the Madoffs of nearly all their wealth. The order gave the U.S. Marshals Service authority to seize and sell his homes, boats, cars and other personal property.
The smaller-ticket collectables on the list of sale items include stationery with Bernard and Ruth’s names printed on it; flatware engraved with the initials “RMB”; and a wallet embossed with “BLM.” There’s art, golf clubs and fishing rods. Also a cache of designer purses – Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Prada – valued at hundreds of dollars a piece and antiques that range into the thousands.
It’s clear Madoff had a taste for wildly expensive wristwatches, especially Rolex. A half dozen Rolexes are available, including one listed as a “vintage Rolex O.P. ‘Monoblocco’ chronograph,” also known as – yes – a “Prisoner Watch.” Estimated value is $75,000 to $87,500.
The Mets jacket carries its own special meaning: Team owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz were among the victims of Madoff’s fraud. Earlier this year, his season tickets behind home plate at the new Citi Field were auctioned for $38,100 on eBay.
Heiniger, 58, who took over from his father in 1992, is to leave to “pursue personal projects,” the group said.
Rolex, founded in 1905 and famous for its expensive watches, gave no details about a replacement but said Heiniger would remain as an advisor to the group.
Swiss newspaper Egefi linked Heiniger’s departure to the Bernard Madoff scandal in the United States, but the report published Wednesday was denied by Rolex.
Egefi claimed Rolex might be a victim in the alleged 50-billion-dollar fraud by Madoff and this had shown Heiniger’s willingness to take high risks.
The group is privately owned by the Geneva-based foundation Hans Wilsdorf and declined to comment further.