Audemars Piguet Enlisted Matthew Williams to Make the Sleekest Royal Oaks Ever

Last time you worked with MAD, and now you mentioned getting access to the full AP machine. How different was the process this time around in terms of designing the watch and working on it?

There was just much more opportunity for customization and different finishes and parts of the watch that could be explored. We were working on a Royal Oak, but then also an Offshore. So that was fun to explore and learn about that watch.

You got to visit the factory, too. How did that change your perception of not just AP, but watches in general? Did you feel like you left with a greater respect?

Definitely. Meeting the master watchmakers, understanding how it takes a lifetime of studying to learn how to create watch parts and fix watches, the craftsmanship that’s involved, the time and effort it takes to maintain and create these timepieces—it’s just really, really inspiring.

Was there something that you came away maybe most surprised by or excited about?

When I was learning more about AP—just their material development of ceramic and gold, and how they can match parts for watches that are a hundred years old—it was really incredible to see the modern craftsmanship that exists in the company. [There’s this] hunger and appetite and energy that’s put into being innovative in the watch space, yet they still maintain the highest quality that exists in the world. That was really, really inspiring. I mean, the materials we used on these watches are common in the AP collection, but there are other watches that they do that use much more uncommon materials that they’ve developed, which is really cool.

These watches all share some striking design codes. What ideas were you trying to get at with this collection?

I really wanted to create something that was super timeless and elegant that I’d be happy to wear for the rest of my life. Obviously, wearing a gold watch can be loud depending on who you are, where you are wearing it, but I think the details are subtle and timeless.

The one-of-one Royal Oak benefitting charity. It’s also Williams’s favorite of the new collection.

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