March 5, 2009
by Ariel Adams
The below thoughts are by John Cunningham, a fellow watch lover. I asked him to comment on this TheTimeTV video from the perspective of a more mature watch lover -as was interested in his response to the marketing approach taken by Audemars Piguet in presenting the Royal Oak Offshore Survivor watches. Here are his words:
Just watched the marketing video from Audemars Piguet advertising the Royal Oak Survivor watch.
It shows a futuristic computerised machine tool manufacturing scene in a dark satanic world of flashing lights and staccato robotic arms in the process of producing their latest watch. The storyline appears to be that this fantastic manufacturing assembly system part way through develops a fatal flaw which threatens the production process. However, and we have to believe in a “life force”here, such is the power of this new watch, which seems to be coming alive as it is built, takes control of the machines, speeds them up and forces them to finish their collective task of assembling the whole, the creation, before meltdown as it were. The building system is increasingly and brutally frenetic as the countdown ticks down towards 0.00, at which time the whole screaming system suddenly explodes across the screen with bits flying in all directions. Out of that maelstrom of madness flies incredibly the complete watch creation which lands amazingly intact, whole and complete….and claims, “I am a survivor.”
An impressive video perhaps, but to my mind somewhat at odds with my own impressions of Audemars Piguet. A company founded in 1875 and which revels in its history and traditions. Indeed the Company has always taken pride in the fact that every timepiece manufactured in-house is still made using the old-fashioned hand-made techniques. Their home web page in fact has 3 videos depicting various facets of the Company and each has an “in-house” style which is more traditional shall I say, and certainly more in keeping with the Company I know. The new video to me is alluding more to an automated assembly line in the motor industry!
And what of this watch and is it really a survivor? In one respect having the choice with survivability in mind, I would pick a quartz watch every time over any mechanical one, especially an automatic rotor operated one such as this, however good it claims to be.
Survivability in today’s market? As I understand it this is a limited production, maybe a safeguard in itself. So what with it’s prestigious name, the technically superb self-winding Calibre 3126/3840 60hr reserve mechanical movement and sheer build quality, it will certainly still appeal to many.
The Royal Oak Offshore Survivor however may not suit quite everybody, being to my mind just a little over the top macho-wise. A rather butch sort of creation complete with its video hype style. It may only be 42mm wide, but add in the great button cage style protectors bolted on to the side of the very deep case which at over ½” will not suit the small wrested, it perhaps looks dare I say a touch cumbersome and certainly unlikely to be seen in the dress circle at the Opera. It also portrays itself as, and certainly in looks like a “divers” watch, yet at 100m water resistance this is the bare minimum for a true Divers watch and I’ve seen no mention of the divers standard ISO 6425 in any of the literature or of the “divers” logo stamped anywhere.
I personally think the jury is still out on this one.
And it all seems such a departure from the traditions and prestige of the Audemars Piguet I have come to recognise. It’s as if they want to burst into the 21st century with robots and automation and pop video style presentations and maybe trying to be something they are not….who knows?
I certainly don’t feel I need to know much more about it and doubt I’ll be rushing out to buy one I’m afraid ….. not on the video evidence anyway.
My final feelings — For me a noisy pop video with a flying black lump (albeit a light Ti one) of a watch at the end of it does little to impress I’m afraid.
But one thing I do know… When I look at their home web site videos, which are low key, understated even, but which take time to carefully highlight the craftsmanship, the magic of the assembly process, those marvellous complications and the elegance of so many beautiful watches within their collection…….that does impress me.
More opinion than fact based things I have to say, as I really don’t know too much about the watch apart from basic marketing info and the video. And I have not seen one in the flesh. To me the best comment is done with the item on the wrist.
Thanks John for the sentiments and thoughts – he blogs occasionally on watches here at Watch Space.