April 21, 2024

I am very delighted to share a conversation I had with AP North America CEO Xavier Nolot regarding the new Royal Oak Concept Laptimer Michael Schumacher watch.  Xavier expressed a true passion for this new timepiece and the importance of the release for Audemars Piguet.
Xavier Nolot

MC:  AP seemed to really embrace the challenge presented by Michael Schumacher and felt the project was worth bringing forth to the world of watchmaking.
XN:  Yes.  It was very, very gratifying to understand how the collaboration works because apparently, Michael does that when he was a racer.  He was doing that in the workshop with the laps for the cars.  People around Michael are saying he did actually improve the cars he was racing.  
He was very interested in what was going on, and that type of collaboration is a blessing for Audemars Piguet.  What better way to get an idea or inspiration or challenge than from the best – literally the best – in his field?  That’s a dream I believe, and it comes from Michael’s personality to involve himself in everything he does.  The result is a very meaningful watch, a very functional watch in the field for which it has been designed for.

MC:  Was the new movement developed with Giulio Papi and APRP?
XN:  Yes it was.  They sat together quite a few times to define what the brief had to be, and yes, this is a movement Giulio Papi worked on.  We are very proud of this; we took great care to verify that this was not done before.  This is something really new.  Mind you, 413 components.  When a Grande Complication has something like 648, it is not far from that.  It is truly a very high complication.

Giulio Papi

Hand-wound Manufacture Caliber 2923

MC:  It was erroneously speculated a few years back that AP would discontinue use of forged carbon.  To see AP use forged carbon on such an important piece says a lot.
XN: (first laughing at the notion that forged carbon would be discontinued).  The choice of the material is dependent upon the use and the function.  I think it is about putting design in the process.

MC:  What happens if (AP Ambassador)  Ian Poulter comes to you and says “I really need you to develop me a mechanical watch that will measure the distance to the pin so I can better choose my clubs?”
XN: (laughing) I would love it.  That is a great one!
MC:  Having met Ian a few times, I would not be surprised if he said “You did something for Mr. Schumacher, now it is time for Mr. Poulter”.
XN:  Well, I would say, let me ask Giulio Papi what he thinks about that…

Xavier and I discussed a few other topics which I will revisit soon.
On behalf of PuristSPro, I would like to thank the Audemars Piguet North America Team and APNA CEO Xavier Nolot for his time.  Xavier is really a class act, and our region is fortunate to have him at the helm.
Good one on the Ian Poulter request.  I’m guessing you caught Mr Nolot flat-footed on that one.