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Chadi Nouri On Bringing More Romance Into Audemars Piguet’s New Collection

Chadi Nouri, Product Director, Audemars Piguet, speaks to MW about the brand’s significant new launches, its competitors and her own role at the manufacture.

Tell us about the new watches that Audemars Piguet has launched this year?

We have five main heroes. The first one is the Royal Oak RD#2, which is a prototype. This is the thinnest self-winding perpetual calendar there is, with a movement thickness of 2.89mm, a case thickness of 6.3mm inside the Royal Oak collection. This is a movement that we have re-engineered. We have integrated functions and this is how we reached this world record thickness. In 1978, we already had come out with the thinnest self-winding perpetual calendar, so we wanted to have it again. We have four other very important launches. One is the 25th anniversary of the Royal Oak Offshore collection. So for that, we have three hero pieces among the collection. The first one is a re-edition of the first ever Royal Oak Offshore, which was done in 1993. To follow up, we came up with two limited editions of 50 pieces, which are totally design driven and forward-thinking. We have included a myriad of details. We have an openworked bezel. The idea was to let the light pass through the piece, before it hits the sapphire case back. Every bridge that comes out of the movement is openworked. It’s in sandblasted titanium. We’ve also put bigger chamfered edges on the case, again which is forward thinking. We changed the pushpieces to include a mix of materials. In addition, we have also included a full array of novelties within the Offshore collection. Then we have a second very important launch, which is our Millenary collection – three new pieces featuring new details, materials and finishing techniques, each with a distinct expression of the watch’s personality. White opal appears for the first time in this collection, framed by the Frosted Gold finish. Beautifully crafted gold bracelets woven in the Polish style lend a vintage touch to this unique women’s collection, which marries technical handcraft with seductive aesthetics. Every opal is unique, it has its own fire. It’s very challenging to work with, so we had to take the ones with the most iridescence. They are also known to be lucky charms. We are bringing back skeletonized pieces for women in the Royal Oak collection. So finally for the first time, we have new concepts for women. The concept line was born in 2002 and 16 years later, we have come out with a version for women where we have put the first flying tourbillon ever at Audemars Piguet. We also came out with a new generation of the Royal Oak GMT concept for men with a flying tourbillon. When we were working for a concept on the lady, and we did the flying tourbillon, we thought we also have to do it for men. The idea around it was to change the previous hourglass shape bridge and to make it look more technical. This has a very powerful calibre, with 273 power reserve and 3 Hz frequency, so this is a very important piece for men.

Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph

Royal Oak Offshore is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, How significant is this milestone?

 It’s very significant. We have these three hero pieces, we have this amazing ‘The Future of First’ video with LeBron James to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore. He’s a rulebreaker. And for us, it’s the future of first.

Last year saw the introduction of AP’s very funky looking Diamond Outrage to complete the Diamond trilogy. What have the customers been saying about this watch?

The Outrage is totally outrageous. We showed our boldness with that piece. The whole piece is done in a way that has not been done before by any high jewellery brand.

Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph

You are excited about bringing a new and more feminine vision to the world of watchmaking. Can you please elaborate on this?

 I am a woman, so definitely I have a feminine vision. At the same time, I totally believe that women can do the exact same job as men. Women can bring insights into emotions that the watch can trigger. In addition to the technical approach we have at Audemars Piguet, maybe I can bring a little more romance into what we do to try and touch the client’s heart.

Where does India fit in Audemars Piguet’s scheme of things, going forward?

Just like any other continent, we try to cover the whole world. And India is definitely a very important market for us. We did a special edition for a specific client, with an Indian dial and Indian numerals.

Who do you think your competitors are, with the kind of watches that you’ve launched this year?

Each brand has its own character. At SIHH, I didn’t really see anything where I felt ‘Oh no! They did it, and we did it as well.’ They remain faithful to their code, just like we do.