President of Audemars Piguet, Jasmine Audemars, on the brand’s newest star and what it takes to maintain its cool renegade status

Portrait of Tammy Strobel
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Thirteen new references with six movements, of which three are completely new. Tell us about the brand new CODE 11.59 collection.

Well, you know, we’ve been living with the Royal Oak for years and years but we have also been living without the Royal Oak for 92 years. We always knew at the back of our minds that one day we would need a new collection with round watches. We had, previously, the Jules Audemars but we phased it out quietly. We needed something new, something really contemporary. But we took our time because we wanted to have new movements [in the collection] and to build new movements takes time. So we finally arrived with CODE 11.59. And you know what’s amazing? It’s 41mm but it’s very comfortable on the wrist: The ergonomy is very good and it’s much lighter than it looks. I think you’re going to see women wear it.

What have the reactions of women been so far?

I met several women who said they are going to wear it because they already wear large watches. For them, it’s not too big and they love it. What is interesting about this watch is that you need time to discover [and get to know] it; to discover all the nice details about the watch across all the different models we have. I think it’s going to generate more and more interest.

What are your favourite features of this watch?

The case, which is a tribute to the Royal Oak watch. Really, [the Manufacture] did an incredible job and they had to invent new tools and new ways to make such a case. That’s why it took time to develop some of the processes: Between the movement and the watch, I would say at least six, if not seven years. But we have time; it’s a collection for the years to come, so no hurry.

Why do you think AP fans are so loyal to the brand, especially in today’s highly competitive market?

One of the main distinctions is that it’s a family-owned brand that’s still in the hands of the founding families. This is really something that is very special and unique because there are very few independent brands left today. A family-run company also means that we always think long-term: We have time, we take our time; and always have many projects in the pipeline. We are building a museum, a hotel, a new Manufacture in Le Locle, and all this is for the next 20 to 30 years. We want to go our own way, we want to be responsible for all the decisions we make and we know what our responsibility is—to all the people who work for AP and our clients. AP lovers want AP to remain true to the DNA of the brand, true to its roots and its history. And we must always be very careful that innovation has its roots in our tradition.

In AP’s 2019 lineup, which watch is your personal favourite?

Oh, I really love the Frosted Gold with the openwork dial. That’s the one I like. It was love at first sight.
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Clockwise from left: White gold Code 11.59 Selfwinding watch, $37,600, Audemars Piguet. A close up view of the Royal Oak Double Balance Wheel Openworked watch. President of Audemars Piguet, Jasmine Audemars. White gold Royal Oak Double Balance Wheel Openworked watch, $106,600, Audemars Piguet. Pink gold Code 11.59 Tourbillon Openworked watch, Audemars Piguet