One-On-One With Audemars Piguet CEO François-Henry Bennahmias

2014-03-24
Today we’re bringing you a sneak peek at the next issue of Haute Time magazine. In our ongoing one-on-one series with our industry’s leading figures, we sat down with François-Henry Bennahmias, CEO of Audemars Piguet.

We’re going to be bringing you that full interview in the fourth issue of Haute Time magazine, but until that hits the newsstand, here’s your preview!

On the growth of Audemars Piguet in the last two decades:
When a company does $80-$90 million in revenue and it goes to $700 million in revenue, it changes a lot because you get more people. The basis remained the same, it’s still the same people. A little bit more, obviously, but still the same people manufacturing watches with the same passion, the way they were doing it when they were only two people – Jules Audemars and Edward Piguet. We haven’t changed that much. That’s why we still make exquisite watches, extremely complicated watches – we have increased the quantity of watches made, but the job is the same.

On the Swiss watch industry and its future:
The watch industry as a whole has changed a lot, for one reason: it has been brought to many more people, to many more eyes and wrists. But still today it’s a very, very small industry, when you think that last year the watch exportations from Switzerland to the world were US$22 billion. GM alone, last year, revenue was $154 billion. So when you put things in perspective, $22 billion is still very small.

The good news about it is that there are more and more wealthy people on the planet that can afford high-end timepieces. It makes it obvious that we have great years ahead. I always quote Muhammad Ali: the best is yet to come. But that’s what I really do believe. We are far from where we could be. We didn’t think we – the entire watch industry – would go this far already. And from where we are today, we still have a long way to go.

On his first Audemars Piguet watch:
[It was a] Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Skeleton. My first one. I still have it! It’s a number one. I wear it on a regular basis and this is one of my three or four favorites in my collection.

Stay tuned for the full interview in the next issue of Haute Time magazine!

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