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Audemars Piguet's current management should have specialized in poker: it was certainly more than just a lucky guess in 2002 when Georges-Henri Meylan, the independent company's farsighted CEO, signed up as one of the main sponsors for the ...
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Audemars Piguet's current management should have specialized in poker: it was certainly more than just a lucky guess in 2002 when Georges-Henri Meylan, the independent company's farsighted CEO, signed up as one of the main sponsors for the Alinghi, which was at the time the Swiss challenger for the America's Cup.
It was literally unimaginable that the team from the landlocked country could ever hope to take sailing's most important trophy. If Meylan didn't have some sort of inside information, he must have been able to foresee the future. For, lo and behold, Ernesto Bertarelli's team did win the legendary competition on March 2, 2003, against all odds.
Bringing the coveted cup to Europe for the first time in 152 years was good for Switzerland and good for Audemars Piguet, and sailing fans spanning the globe eagerly awaited the thirty-second America's Cup, which took place in Valencia, Spain. The defender was now a safe bet as the next winner, so apparently there were no tarot cards involved a second time when Meylan re-signed with the top-ranked Helvetian team.
Audemars Piguet's partnership with the Alinghi has done a lot more than become the focal point of a marketing strategy. It has also inspired the manufacture to dedicate a complete set of Royal Oak models in support of the sailing team, the luxury industry's premier sports watch being the perfect choice as a high-profile timekeeping instrument.
While this line has been interesting and attractive thus far, technically it has not been overly innovative - an element that this manufacture is well-known for.
In 2007, Audemars Piguet introduced the limited edition Royal Oak Offshore Alinghi Team Chronograph, a timepiece featuring a bezel and case crafted in forged carbon fiber that could be described as more than interesting. While the term carbon fiber might sound like the industry's catchphrase this season, Audemars Piguet is doing a lot more than just putting a supplied carbon fiber dial on an existing model. The word forged was chosen carefully to explain the process involving pieces of carbon wire that are pressed and molded together to make the whole. The arrangement of the wire pieces is what determines the quality of the material, and makes each one inherently unique. Not only is this material resistant and strong, a case made of it weighs a mere 100 grams.
The Royal Oak Offshore Alinghi Team Chronograph's 44-millimeter case is available in 18-karat rose gold, platinum, or even entirely in forged carbon fiber, while the typical octagonal bezel of the Royal Oak series on all three models is crafted in the forged carbon fiber material. The case back comprises black PVD-coated titanium engraved with a rendering of the Alinghi team at work. The case's crown and chronograph buttons are crafted in durable ceramic, while the eight screws holding the bezel to the case are made of black PVD-coated stainless steel.
This flyback chronograph including a regatta start function using a sweep seconds hand and a regatta countdown function is topped off by a black dial of such interesting proportions and colors - as well as the brand's signature mega tapisserie pattern - that the three limited editions are sure to sail out of jeweler's shops as quickly as the Alinghi did from Valencia's racing port when it swept its challenger in just four races.