As we already begin awaiting 2018’s SIHH novelties, we thought it’s high time to have a closer look at some of this season’s favorites, which include the gloriously over-the-top 15202, rendered for the very first time as a modern, non-limited reference completely from 18-carat yellow gold. It is not just the all-gold case that lends the 15202 significance though — there are a few other (albeit more subtle) visual cues that set this specific reference aside, and may make it more desirable for collectors in the long run. Perhaps most obvious, is that the simple time plus date-only dial setup, done from the ‘AP’ emblem at 6:00, which pays direct homage to the initial steel 5402 published in 1972. This aesthetic also tips its hat towards the yellow gold 5402BA Jumbo introduced five decades later — the first time Audemars Piguet rendered the Jumbo inside this precious metal.However, more noteworthy is that the depth — the brand new 15202 steps a hair over 8mm, 0.2mm thicker than the original 5402, and the closest we’ve seen to those pioneering ultra-thin measurements since the 40th Anniversary variations from 2012 — thus the ‘Extra Thin’ naming convention. This new-but-really-old profile, coupled with all the eminently wearable 39mm case size really feels just like the sweet place for the Royal Oak, and has much to do with why this iconic layout was able to become this kind of future-proof classic in the first place.The Jumbo Royal Oak in its classic arrangement is a wristwatch that historically, with measurements, should wear exceptionally thin. People who are searching for a marginally more toned-down aesthetic still rendered in this metal will love the next of those 15202’s two brand new dial variants: a stunning blue, and this, given the spate of blue-on-bronze sports watches we’ve seen this season, is as much on-trend, as it’s slightly less ostentatious.
Two year ago Audemars Piguet announced plans for a new museum, shaped like a glass spiral rising out of the pastoral fields of Le Brassus and designed by the same Danish architect responsible for Google’s new headquarters. The watchmaker broke ground on the the new building at the start of October 2016, capping two years of planning and design.
Designed by Danish architects BIG, short for Bjarke Ingels Group, the museum will be some 2800 square meters, or well over 30,000 square feet. Named Maison des Fondateurs, or “Home of the Founders”, the museum will have panoramic walls of curved glass along its entire length, topped by a roof garden.
The Audemars Piguet museum is just one of the high profile projects BIG is working on. Others include Two World Trade Center in New York City, Google’s sci-fi campus in Mountain View, and Lego House in Denmark.
But the museum will not be the only addition to the Audemars Piguet compound. Closed since early 2016, the quaint Hotel des Horlogers will be razed and replaced with a similarly stylish glass building designed by BIG with sloping buildings and long glass facades.
Owned by Audemars Piguet and separated from its factory by a carpark, the four star Hotel des Horlogers – or “watchmaker’s hotel” – will grow from 27 rooms to 65 and become a luxury hotel worthy of the visitors who make the pilgrimage to see expensive watches being produced.
Both the museum and hotel are slated to open in 2019.