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.
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.
Isn’t it said that if you live long enough, “everything eventually comes back into fashion again”? I think that was originally said of bell-bottom pants in the 1970′s. Well, it’s happening again with luxury watches. But, this time, you won’t have to wait another 20 years or so to relive the past. Bulgari has brought back the snake-like Tubogas bracelet in their 125th Anniversary Serpenti Snake Watch Collection, which will be formally introduced at the 2010 Basel Fair on March 18.
The original Serpenti snake design debuted in 1949. The stylized serpent bracelet had coils either joined by the tubogas technique or in gold mesh wrapped around the wrist. In 1962, Elizabeth Taylor immortalized the sexy snake-like Bulgari bracelet-watch while working on the movie “Cleopatra” in Rome. In Taylor’s case, the coiled bracelet was constructed out of 14kt yellow gold and the stylized serpent head in white gold set with round and marquis-shaped diamonds. Two emeralds were set into the eyes, and the serpent head opens to reveal the hidden timepiece.
Eventually, the snake-like Tubogas watches became synonymous with Bulgari, and Bulgari continued to produce the style until the last 1990′s. Nearly 10 years later, Bulgari has decided to bring back the “bell-bottoms” of the watch industry.
The present line of Bulgari Serpenti Snake watches are available in either 18kt white or rose gold with the familiar Tubogas coiled bracelet. However, the serpent’s head that traditionally functioned as the watch case has a more contemporary look this time around with an angular shape that more closely resembles the real animal. Models are available with a variety of different “scales” (gemstones such as onyx, pink coral, mother of pearl, lavender jade) on the bracelet, and diamonds set into the case and bracelet.