Audemars Piguet’s New C.E.O. Wasn’t an Obvious Choice

Audemars Piguet’s New C.E.O. Wasn’t an Obvious Choice
Audemars Piguet’s New C.E.O. Wasn’t an Obvious Choice
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Innovation — especially in the form of ambitious building projects — has been a running theme at the brand for the past few years. In 2020 in Le Brassus, it opened a museum, the Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet, designed by the Danish architect Bjarke Ingels. A year later, it completed a manufacturing site in Le Locle, another village about a 90-minute drive northeast of Le Brassus. A former Renaud & Papi workshop, the Manufacture des Saignoles now specializes in the brand’s most complicated timepieces.

In 2022, the brand opened a luxury hotel, Hôtel des Horlogers, also designed by Mr. Ingels, in a space adjacent to the museum and factory in Le Brassus. And in late 2023, it began construction of a new industrial building in Meyrin, on the outskirts of Geneva, that is to house the company’s case and bracelet production starting in 2025, when the project is expected to be completed.

Next year the brand also is scheduled to complete the first stage of what arguably is its most ambitious architectural project to date. Known as the Arc, the U-shape building will be connected to the factory in Le Brassus and total nearly 183,000 square feet across three floors and a basement. A news release said that, in addition to offices and work spaces, it is to have “a variety of small convivial spaces favoring relaxation and informal communication.”

The second phase of construction, targeted for completion by 2027, is to replace the factory with a new building “to ensure greater architectural coherence,” according to a statement from the brand.

Ms. Resta has entered the luxury watch business at a precarious moment. Sales soared during the pandemic, with demand in the primary market outstripping supply. That led a lot of prospective buyers to the resale market, pushing prices for sought-after steel sport watches — including Audemars Piguet’s defining model, the Royal Oak — to go for as much as five times their retail value.

Since the market began to cool in 2022, watchmakers — Ms. Resta included — have struck a circumspect tone about plans for growth.

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