MBA Luxury Brand Management

MBA Luxury Brand Management
Class of 2016-2017

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Visit to Audemars Piguet

By Pawel Zawisza, MBA in International Luxury Brand Management student 2013-2014, Poland

Towards the end of our MBA program we got a chance to visit the manufacture of Audemars Piguet in Le Brassus, in Switzerland. This was a great opportunity to learn more about the luxury watch industry.

Since its creation in 1875, the Audemars Piguet production site has been located in a picturesque part of Switzerland in the Jura Mountains, where many Swiss luxury watch brands are located. On the way to our hotel the night before, we passed the facilities of Jaeger-LeCoultre, Breguet, and ETA, a well-known movement manufacturer belonging to the Swatch Group.

In the morning we were welcomed by the CEO himself, Mr. Bennahmias. The meeting was short but very enlightening, Mr. Bennahmias is a very talented public speaker and everyone was very happy to meet with him.

Afterwards some people made their way to the Audemars Piguet Museum, where we learned about the history of the region, the heritage of the company, as well as what it takes for a watch to be considered ‘Grand Complication’. The museum houses dozens of watches, including the original Royal Oak, considered the first luxury sport watch. For me the most impressive find was the Caliber 2870 watch from 1986 – the first self-winding tourbillon wristwatch. Even more remarkably; the watch was ultra-thin due to the movement being seamlessly integrated with the case, a feature once again making rounds in the watch industry due to the new Piaget Altiplano 900p!

Another group had the chance to visit the manufacturing facility. We were all impressed by how clean & sterile it was, almost pharmaceutical-like. We learned about different phases needed to produce a Royal Oak; how the company tests for watches being water resistant; how is the case assembled, etc. At the end of the tour everybody understood how much time and effort is spent on producing an Audemars Piguet watch, which justifies their very high price!

Audemars Piguet also proudly remains the oldest Haute Horologie brand still in the hands of its founding families.

Although it was just a weekend, the trip to Audemars Piguet in Switzerland was very memorable and I’m sure it will stay with everyone for a long time!