Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Haute Joaillerie

Borro Benchmarks: The Collectability of the Audemars Piguet Haute Joaillerie Collection

The Backstory

Normally, when it comes to women’s watches studded with diamonds, you will find me disinterestedly sulking in a corner, but perhaps not for the reason you might immediately assume. I have spent my entire career as an analyst lambasting the industry for the shallow, often insulting way in which it treats its female customers.

Too often women’s watches are the scaled down version of the men’s version, dripping with ice and powered by an inferior movement. To me this is somewhat sexist. The ladies’ watch is a trinket while the men’s is a treasure.

As society continues to readdress the gross imbalance in equality, ensuring that more avenues than ever before are open to women, our industry must assume that the future will see a far evener gender split amongst consumers.

It’s true that gender equality was a little late to make it to Switzerland (embarrassingly, women were not able to vote until 1971), so it’s pleasing to see one of the most esteemed makers in the world, Audemars Piguet, taking watchmaking for women seriously, while maintaining a fervently feminine bent to the magnificent artifacts produced in the Audemars Piguet Haute Joaillerie department.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Haute Joaillerie

Which Models to Watch

While it’s true that the Audemars Piguet Haute Joaillerie Collection does not directly address my gripe with simpler movements being used for women’s watches, the level of artistry present in the case and the magnificent array of settings used to create these masterpieces more than makes up for it.

What I’m looking for when it comes to investment potential, is something designed for the intended wearer, rather than something designed to fishhook their partner into buying it as a consolation.

Watches made specifically for women by women are the best. They will stand the test of time because they stand alone. They are not entangled with their male counterparts, and for that reason they are triumphs of independence.

The piece in this collection is, for my money, the Haute Joaillerie Diamond Outrage – a spiky, uncompromising bangle, decorated with jutting cones adorned with 11,043 diamonds for a total carat weight exceeding 65. The Outrage comes in a diamond and a sapphire version, each limited to a single piece. The diamond model – my personal favorite for its exquisite purity _ retails for just shy of $30,000,000 (yes, I typed the right amount of zeroes…).

Inherent carat value aside, the execution of this otherworldly concept is jaw-dropping. It delivers on every aesthetic level and is a testament to the artisanal ability of Audemars Piguet’s staff.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Haute Joaillerie

Under the Hammer

In the past the more affordable Haute Joaillerie collection from AP has sold well at auction, with the demurer watches from the 80s regularly garnering more than $7,500. These pieces are decent pick-ups for collectors who appreciate such finery, but don’t want to sell their souls to get it on their wrists.

 

 

About the Author:

Fell Jensen is a Swiss-trained watchmaker working as an industry analyst.