I happened to be in NYC on business when I received a couple of emails asking if I was in town, and whether I would like to attend the APRO40A launch cocktail party. This included an email from the Sydney Tarts confirming the very important note that Mr Gerald Genta's actual two tone Royal Oak would be on display - for me, this turned out to be one of those holy grail moments that actually choked me up when I laid eyes on the piece.
We all know the history and the genius of this designer - the AP Royal Oak is truly one of the all time horology classics and worthy of the word ‘iconic’, which is bandied around too easily these days.
To celebrate its 40th anniversary, Audemars Piguet has put together an exhibition combining design, photography, sound and film from artists Sebastien Leon Agneessens, Quayola and Dan Holdsworth, and featuring 100 timepieces covering the history of the Royal Oak. The New York event was also the worldwide launch.
Installation (see below for detail) and main display cases
The exhibition is a travelling one, making stops across the globe - if the event is half as good as the one last night you are in for a treat. AP is one of the last truly independent watch brands/ companies and have put a lot of thought and energy into the anniversary.
Venue is everything and the newly restored Armoury on the Upper East Side provides splendid housing for the avant-garde installations and display modules, truly well executed, as I believe my pictures show.
From the brand array spanning 40 years to the on-site watch maker, AP's attention to detail for this exhibition is, like their watches, very sleek.
On a hospitality note, the food and drink was of a standard I've not experienced at a function like this, and I strayed into the complimentary cocktail territory, which probably helped with the huge (easily at least 30ft) computer graphic visual installation (below). Basically, it is a three dimensional image that 'grows' from (rough) polygon into a smooth sculpture, representing the 'growth' of a watch from bits of metal!
Art installation with reflection pool
The resident DJ had the type of sound system seen at high end night clubs, and his choice of tunes had most of Manhattan's finest finding a groove.
Into the late evening air, passing the photographers, AP red carpet and wall, I carried my AP goody bag, which was the 'Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 40 year book '. I left this event not only thinking that it was a fine 'watch night' but actually 'a real experience' and a stellar night out in Manhattan.
Mr Genta's watch
Thank you AP.
After New York City, the year-long exhibition will make stops around the world including Milan (April), Paris (June), Beijing (August), Singapore (October), and Dubai (December). For more information on the exhibition, go to this link.
Dates: March 21 - March 23, 2012 10am – 4pm. March 24, 10am– 10pm
Location: Park Avenue Armory. 643 Park Avenue at 67th Street, NYC
And a final Royal Oak moment, presented to Howard, the TZ moderator :