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.
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.
Amidst IWC Schaffhausen‘s fully invigorated Portuguese watch collection, which numbers nine official introductions for 2010 is a new pinnacle of horological complexity for this historic wristwatch. The IWC Portuguese Grande Complication timepiece houses the impressive self-winding 79091 caliber–a masterpiece that IWC debuted two decades ago, in 1990. It brings together 657 parts which offer a chronograph, a minute repeater, and a perpetual calendar with a 4-digit century indication as well as a moon phase indication that shows just a single day’s deviation from the actual lunar cycle every 122 years. According to IWC, the Portuguese Grande Complication will be produced alongside the established version of this complicated classic, and offer collectors a new aesthetic identity for one of the world’s most prestigious mechanical watches.
The IWC Portuguese Grande Complication watch is offered initially in a case of 18-karat red gold, which features the stately diameter of 45mm, and a height from caseback to crystal of some 16.5 millimeters. Beneath the shaped sapphire crystal with its cambered edge is a distinctive silvered dial with applied red gold Arabic hour figures at the edge, and a central engraved section which duplicates the globe and lines of latitude and longitude. The themes of exploration and discovery are repeated on the engraved caseback of the Portuguese Grande Complication, where a navigator’s all-important sextant tool takes center stage. Of note, IWC has designed a case which is water resistant to 30 meters–a most impressive feat for a minute repeating watch with a vulnerable slide piece. Indeed, many watches with minute repeater are protected solely against humidity, and will tolerate no water immersion. With a 10 meter water resistance rating, the older IWC Grande Complication watch was ahead of much of the competition in this regard, an advantage its just-announced Portuguese sibling takes one step further.
The IWC 79091 movement inside both the Grande Complication and the new Portuguese Grande Complication is respected not only for its many functions, but the intelligence of its design and functional ingenuity. The chronograph features three counters, and can tally elapsed minutes as well as hours (up to 12). The perpetual calendar–which is programmed according to the Gregorian system–will progress without any need of manual correction until the year 2100, assuming it were to run continuously. Should the watch stop, however, corrections to the seemingly complex calendar are very simply and quickly performed–the displays all advance together via the crown. Operating the slide piece on the side of the case activates the minute repeater, which chimes out the hours on single bass notes, the quarter hours on a bass-treble combination, and finally, the individual minutes on single treble notes; the caseback and crystal have been carefully engineered to optimize the quality and volume of sound that the gongs produce. Fully wound, the 79091 movement has a power reserve of 44 hours. The balance wheel oscillates at a rapid 28,800 vibrations per hour. A welcome small detail of this virtuoso movement is a hacking function that stops the small seconds hand when the crown is withdrawn; this useful feature enables the Grande Complication watch to be precisely set right to the second.
Because of the in-depth skill and time involved in a timepiece of such complexity, IWC will produce just 50 pieces of the Portuguese Grande Complication watch each year. The reference is fitted with a hand-sewn brown alligator leather strap and a massive folding clasp in 18-karat red gold which bears the famous “Probus Scafusia” motto of the IWC Schaffhausen manufacture.
Hublot has the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for your loved one. The Hublot Valentine’s Big Bang Red Gold Diamond Ladies Watch (also known as the Red Carat Tutti Frutti Watch), has a durable 18kt red gold case with unique red rubber accents. The case spans 41mm in diameter, and is set with 198 sparkling round brilliant diamonds for a touch of elegance and class. The matching red rubber strap also sets the tone for a watch that evokes passion and fire amongst lovers.
However, for those who cannot afford the $26,900 price tag of the red gold version or who prefer a smaller case size, Hublot has just released another version of the Valentine’s watch in steel with a 38mm case diameter, priced at $8900. While this version has a solid red dial and no chronograph functions, it is equally as elegant and beautiful as its larger cousin.