Robb Read: Australian Designer Marc Newson

Newson reflects on the changing world, designing for the one per cent and what the future holds.

By Noelle Faulkner 03/09/2020

“Fundamentally, my job is problem-solving. Designing always boils back to the fact you’re solving problems,” says Marc Newson, explaining his role as a designer with fingers in many, many pies.

“You’re a gun for hire. A troubleshooter. Why are you doing it otherwise? The reason you do this is you’re either dissatisfied with the way things are or something needs to be improved. So clearly, my job relies on the reality that there is a degree of dissatisfaction and an unworthiness in products out there. If everything was perfect, I’d be out of a job.”

As one of the world’s most influential modern industrial designers, it’s much easier to list what the Sydney-born, UK-based designer’s Midas pen has not touched in his pursuit of perfection. His oeuvre spans furniture, jewellery, luggage, aviation, timepieces, interiors, homewares, marine, footwear, technology and aerospace. His client list includes Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Nike, Hennessy, Dom Pérignon, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Georg Jensen, R.M Williams and Riva; and his CV reads creative director of Qantas and special projects designer for Apple (where he helped design the Apple Watch).

Newson’s most famous pieces are arguably the Lockheed Lounge, Embryo Chair and Ikepod watch. The latter is a cult-status watch company he co-founded in 1994 and departed in 2012—a disappointing victim of a lack of resources more than anything, he says.

“The Ikepod was an unmitigated commercial failure, but the fact that the watchband lived on in the Apple Watch is an indication it wasn’t the product that was at fault,” he shrugs.

The company has been recently resurrected by its new owners, without Newson or his cofounder Oliver Ike. Blurring the line between art and design, Newson is the only designer to be represented by the contemporary art heavyweight Gagosian Gallery; and his work sits in the collections of National Gallery of Victoria, The Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, V&A Museum, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Vitra Design Museum, Israel Museum and Musée des Arts Décoratifs. If you don’t know him by name, you will surely know the 56-year-old visionary by design.

Marc Newson.
Marc Newson’s famous Lockheed lounge.

The day we speak, the United Kingdom, which has been Newson’s home since 1997, has been on COVID-19 lockdown for mere weeks. The designer is holed-up in the rural splendour of the Cotswolds district, attempting to work from home across his own design studio and LoveFrom, a new and super-hyped design firm co-founded with friend and former Apple design chief Jony Ive.

“It’s been fantastic because it’s given us a moment to breathe,” he says of launching the latter amid global chaos. “There was a point where opportunities were piling up, and I don’t mean to sound ungrateful but [recent events] have provided a really interesting opportunity to reflect on what’s important.”

Newson labels himself a pro-multitasker, but also admits he’s never known any other way. “Thankfully, nothing has been cancelled, but some things have been slowed. Honestly, for me in my current situation, that’s welcome respite from the usual frenetic, nonstop pressure.”

We’re speaking while he’s on an ‘essential’ run, stretching the legs of his vintage Aston Martin DB4. The Aston, as it turns out, had a flat battery that resulted in him needing to be rescued by a family member, and a return phone call. An inconvenience to Newson, but a forgivable one because the DB4 is, after all, one of the most beautiful Aston Martins ever created—and one of many classics that make up his car collection.

“I have a bunch of old sports cars—Bugattis, Astons, Ferraris and Alfas,” he says. “The DB4 is one of the more drivable cars I have… well, usually,” he says, laughing. “I’ve had it for a long time—I bought it with my very first pay cheque.”

Such chatter brings us to the subject of modern car culture. As a vintage car lover, bona fide problem solver and one-time car designer (a concept for Ford in 1999), how does he feel about the EV-olution?

“I’m not much of a modern car person,” he offers. “Obviously it’s good that emissions are being reduced, but I’ve been quite vocal about electric vehicles—I’m just not convinced they fundamentally address the problem. I would much rather have seen the fuel cell championed—that’s far more sustainable.”

Newson has been an outspoken critic of modern automotive design for some time (“It’s sort of gratuitous”) though he also owns a couple of contemporary cars, including a Range Rover that he accepts may be a cliché, but is innocuous design-wise.

“For me, there’s a world of difference between older cars and new cars. I mean, they kind of have nothing to do with each other, really, in my mind. The values that I respond to in older cars. It’s like anything, if something is well-made and not inherently disposable, it’s just far more sustainable by nature.”

Despite attending art school in the mid-’80s, Newson found himself gravitating towards design. He insists there was not one moment where he felt he was on the road to fame—rather, a trail of toil that saw him work in Japan, Italy and Paris, the latter where he eventually set up a studio.

Even so, Newson’s curved, futuristic designs came to define the aesthetic of the late-’90s and early-’00s. “It’s much easier to see in retrospect,” he says, retaining a nuanced Australian accent.“

At the time, you’re so immersed in it, you don’t see the forest for the trees… But yes, now and again I have the opportunity to sit back and look at [earlier] stuff.”

Marc Newson
Marc Newson’s Ford 012C

He points to his work with Ford on its strikingly fun 1999 concept car. “I’m constantly reminded by people both in the automotive industry and outside of it, about how contemporary it is, which is a great compliment.”

Indeed, the now 21-year-old Ford 021C would easily rival the hype-filled new Honda E on several fronts, not least its unique sense of charm.

Line up the big hitters of the last century—from Le Corbusier to Dieter Rams, Florence Knoll Bassett to Zaha Hadid—and often a designer’s success isn’t defined by their time, but their outlook on it. Newson doesn’t design for the now, he designs for the future.

“I’ve been working on an office chair now for like, seven years,” he sighs. “It’s completely and utterly insane. It shouldn’t take that long! But it’s not unheard of for some projects to take five years. So you need to be able to look to the future—if you can’t, then everything you do will be obsolete by the time it reaches the public.”

The world being in a state of current uncertainty begs the question: how does he troubleshoot for global flux?

“You just ignore the pace at which things are changing,” he says. “I don’t think about it. You can’t. If you do, you’ll be dumbstruck.”

Newson, who talks in what seems like a long series of ellipses, takes a lengthy pause. “Anyway, even though things are moving so quickly—and I’m not talking about tech, I’m talking about aesthetics—fundamental values always hold true.”

His formula, he eventually offers, is simple: do things at his own pace, on his terms, sticking to his guns. “You have to be mindful of the world we live in but not get bogged down by it,” he says.

The tales of Apple’s inner-utopia have become the stuff of legend, especially among the design and tech communities, and Newson does nothing to shatter the myth. From the beginnings of their partnership at Apple, Newson says he and Ive had a synchronistic way of working—a philosophy that they will carry into LoveFrom (the company’s name itself is a nod to Steve Jobs’ from-the-heart creative ethos).

Indeed, a lot of it comes from a common problem-solving attitude, but also, Apple gave its team the freedom to work as such.

“With Apple, more than an aesthetic, it was a philosophy,” Newson says of working with the tech giant. “Things are done in a very singular way. Problems and goals are identified early on and constraints don’t become the parameter that dictate the way something is brought to market. If a piece of kit doesn’t exist, they will simply invent it, the production line that goes with it and the economy that surrounds it.”

This is not how most companies work.

“Industry generally works in a far more reactive way… It’s a bit like trying to figure out a better way to mend a flat tyre when you’d be better off just rethinking the wheel, so you never had flat tyres.”

Right now it’s hard to talk about manufacturing without exploring the notion of sustainability—a term that Newson finds as irritating as “wearable” and, well, “luxury”.

“It’s just become this blanket term that has found its way into our language,” he says. “There are a million aspects to sustainability. Material sustainability, philosophical sustainability and the whole question of obsolescence… I’d like to think that I’m designing things that are not designed for landfill. That’s the worst demonstration of everything bad about our society, in terms of consumption.”

He adds: “I think for people like me, for designers to create great things, industry needs to get on board or to evolve in a way like Apple did. Where design and industry have completely, I believe, meshed.”

Granted, Newson’s biggest critics all seem to have the same issue with his work: it’s designed for the one per cent, the privileged. Jet pack prototypes, million-dollar chairs, special-edition fountain pens, speedboats—he’s even designed a $38,000 shotgun for Beretta, named the 486 by Marc Newson. But he argues that the elite have a conscious for craftmanship.

Beretta & Marc Newson’s collaboration.

“Take the role of the Louis Vuitton luggage that I’ve designed. One of the really interesting things, and one of the reasons I respond positively to working with companies like that, is that everything they make is repairable. The alternative would be to design for some company that mass produces things, makes them far more accessible to the general population, but far worse for the environment because they simply can’t be repaired and end up on a rubbish pile.”

Newson recalls a quote from former Hermés CEO Jean-Louis Dumas (‘It’s not expensive, it’s costly; there’s a big difference’) before revealing that two megayachts he recently designed are being built.

Newson believes they could end up being among the biggest in the world, at least in terms of tonnage.

“It’s easy to poo-poo an oligarch who spends half a billion on a boat,” he offers. “But the reality is, as absurd as that is, it provides livelihoods for many, many thousands of fine craftspeople and enables fine crafts and engineering expertise that would cease to exist otherwise.”

There are many arguments about the role of design, or rather, what defines ‘good design’. For some, it’s form met with equal function; for others, that balance is asymmetrical. In

Newson’s case, being art-trained has sometimes meant his works blur the lines. Like his beloved DB4, they’re not always highly functional, but their beauty endures.

Take his famous Lockheed Lounge, which holds the record for the most expensive design object sold at auction (securing $4.69 million in 2015). Newson will readily admit that it’s not the plushest of chairs—but if you’re looking at his work through the same lens as a La-Z-boy, then it’s not for you.

“I’m designing sculpture or furniture or whatever you want to call it,” he says of his niche. “You can sit on these things. I don’t discourage people to sit on these things,
but they’re not much more comfortable than a bus stop. They have a function, but their primary function is not that. They have a different function.”

Newson is from the school of thought that design, at the very least, should provide choice. “One of the things that I love about design, it’s not like architecture in the sense that it’s imposed upon you,” he says. “If

you have to go to a certain building to work every day, and you hate it, there’s not a hell of a lot that you can do about it. Design has a much greater ability—you can either take it or leave it.”

marc-newson.com

This piece is from our new Design Issue – on sale now. Get your copy or subscribe here, or stay up to speed with the Robb Report weekly newsletter.

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A Michael Jordan Logoman Patch Card Just Sold for a Record $2.9 Million at Auction

The one-of-one piece is now the most expensive Jordan card to ever cross the auction block.

By Tori Latham 06/06/2024

Michael Jordan was a record-breaking athlete—and the legendary hooper is continuing to set records more than two decades after his (final) retirement from the game.

A one-of-one signed and game-used Jordan Logoman patch card just sold for an eye-popping USD$2.9 million, making it the most expensive Jordan card ever sold at auction. The 2003 card was part of the Goldin 100 auction, where it received 38 bids before finally hammering down for that multimillion-dollar total.

Goldin

The rare card, which was included in an Upper Deck Ultimate Collection, is the very first signed Logoman patch card with Jordan in a Chicago Bulls jersey. The patch itself is from Jordan’s peak with the Bulls, a team he led to six NBA championships. The bold blue autograph on the bottom of the card, meanwhile, was graded PSA 10. It’s unclear where the card was before 2022, when it was submitted to PSA for grading, and this is the first time it’s been offered in a public auction. Altogether, it’s considered to be the most exclusive Jordan autographed Logoman card in the world.

While Jordan is perhaps most well known for what he’s done on the court, the baller is no stranger to making waves on the auction block, too. Earlier this year, a set of his NBA Finals–worn sneakers achieved a bonkers $8 million during a Sotheby’s auction. Even then, that’s not the most someone has paid for Jordan memorabilia: In 2022, the athlete’s game-worn “Last Dance” Finals jersey hammered down for a whopping USD$10.1 million.

The recent card sale may not match those numbers, but almost USD$3 million is still a hefty sum to pay for a relatively compact item. And the card easily swept the rest of the Goldin 100 auction. The highest following lot was a Kobe Bryant jersey that the late Los Angeles Laker wore during a 2013 game. That piece of sports history ended up going home with someone for USD$1.2 million.

As the richest basketball player ever, with a net worth of $3.5 billion as of a year ago, Jordan himself is far outearning his card’s value. But it’s unlikely that he would have ever made that much money without paving the sort of path that makes his memorabilia so desirable when it hits the auction block.

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You Can Now Buy and Sell Luxury Watches and Jewellery on eBay’s Consignment Service

The e-tailer is making inroads on being a major marketplace for high-end goods.

By Tori Latham 06/06/2024

eBay is continuing to make inroads into the luxury industry.

The website on Tuesday expanded its consignment service to include high-end watches, jewellery, and footwear. Among the brands being accepted by the program are Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo, and Louis Vuitton for shoes; Chanel, David Yurman, and Neil Lane for jewellery; and Breguet, Girard-Perregaux, and Jaeger-LeCoultre for timepieces.

eBay’s consignment program debuted at the end of last year for handbags, and it added apparel to the mix in March. The service is meant to make selling high-end goods easier for those looking to offload their pieces, and more trustworthy for those hoping to buy them. The e-tailer has partnered with the company Linda’s Stuff to streamline the process: A seller fills out a simple intake form, then receives a prepaid and insured shipping label to send in their items. eBay and Linda’s Stuff photograph, price, and list the item, with the seller receiving a commission based on the final sale price. If a piece sells for $5,000 or more, for example, the seller receives 80 percent.

Since launching its consignment service, eBay has seen that items listed that way are selling for more than similar pieces listed on the website in the more traditional way. In just one example, a small quilted Chanel 19 flap bag consigned in December hurdled past the average sales price for the same purses sold on eBay by 45 percent.

In recent years, eBay has been training its efforts on making high-end, pre-owned items easier to sell and buy on its platform. It has implemented programs like Certified by Brand and Authenticity Guarantee to ensure that users feel confident when buying and selling luxury items on the website. And those sorts of used and refurbished items now compose 40 percent of eBay’s gross merchandise volume.

While it may seem a bit strange to sell your luxury items on eBay rather than a designated site like the RealReal, the e-tailer might be breaking out as the next big luxury marketplace, especially when it comes to pre-owned pieces.

 

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Four Seasons’ Private Jet Trips Will Take You to Asia, Africa, and Beyond in 2026

The six 2026 itineraries range from 13 to 21 days and cost between USD$159,000 and $229,000 per person.

By Rachel Cormack 06/06/2024

It’s never too early to start planning a vacation. Just ask Four Seasons.

The hospitality giant just unveiled its private jet itineraries for 2026, giving travelers a chance to book their next adventure a good two years in advance. Designed by a team of experts, the six journeys allow jet-setters to explore far-flung destinations in five-star luxury. You’ll fly the globe in the fully customized Four Seasons Airbus A321neo and stay in lavish Four Seasons hotels along the way. More importantly, guests can partake in curated experiences a cut above the typical tour.

“Our goal is to create connections with travelers of this generation and the next, fostering a legacy of transformative experiences that extend far beyond the journey,” Marc Speichert, executive vice president and chief commercial officer of Four Seasons, said in a statement.

Dubai at Jumeirah Beach
Four Seasons

The itineraries cater to a wide range of travelers, with differing lengths and routes. The 16-day Asia Unveiled trip, for instance, takes guests on a deep dive into the East, with stops in Tokyo, Bali, Angkor Wat, Hoi An, Bhutan, the Maldives, and Bangkok. Other adventures, like the 21-day International Intrigue journey, cover many global destinations from the African savannah to the city of Paris.

Wellness enthusiasts can indulge at Four Seasons Resort Maldives.
Four Seasons

Similarly, the experiences on offer are designed to appeal to a myriad of personality types, from culture vultures and history nerds to thrillseekers and gourmands. On the African Wonders trip, fitness buffs can join a Maasai guide for a nature walk in the Serengeti and then chill out in a meditation session led by an expert yogi. During Timeless Encounters, explorers can take a submarine scooter to Bora Bora’s renowned diving spots. With International Intrigue and Asia Unveiled, wellness enthusiasts indulge in lavish treatments at the Island Spa within Four Seasons Resort Maldives. Asia Unveiled also allows foodies to embark on a sushi masterclass with a Michelin-starred chef in Tokyo, while International Intrigue gives gluttons the chance to craft six courses with celebrated chefs in Mexico City’s local markets. In addition, history connoisseurs can visit famous landmarks like the Taj Mahal on Timeless Encounters. That is just a taste of the experiences on offer, too.

The 2026 itineraries range from 13 to 21 days and cost between USD$159,000 and $229,000 per person. To start planning your trip, visit the Four Seasons website or email the team at fourseasonsjet@fourseasons.com.

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Audemars Piguet Just Dropped a Bevy of New Watches—Including a Mini Royal Oak

From the new Royal Oak Mini to skeletonised 37 mm versions and a wild asymmetrical reissue, AP just slayed the spring watch season.

By Nick Scott, Paige Reddinger, Allen Farmelo 06/06/2024

Audemars Piguet isn’t resting on its laurels and that’s likely just how former longtime CEO, François-Henri Bennhamias, intended. The colourful head honcho left his post at the helm this past December, but he certainly left his mark by taking the brand to USD$2.7 billion in sales by 2023 before handing over the reins to newly minted CEO, Ilaria Resta, who was hired from global perfumery company, Firmenich. (Resta is the latest female addition to AP’s top brass following the appointment of Ginny Wright, who came from L’Oreal, as the CEO of North America.)

Given the lead time of R&D in watchmaking, the latest watches are certainly the mark of Bennhamias’s direction, and the watches are anything but wallflowers. You have wildly innovative new materials like a Royal Oak prototype proposed in Chroma Gold—a new technique blending white gold, rose gold, and yellow gold into a camouflage pattern—and a funky new “Crystal Sand” finish on the Royal Oak Frosted Gold Selfwinding 34 mm model. Meanwhile, Code 11.59 gets decked in an extraordinarily challenging arrangement of sapphires and diamonds, and the latest [Re]Master02 comes in a funky 1960s tv-shaped case with beveled sapphire crystal glass.

Here’s a look at how Audemars Piguet is flexing its craftsmanship muscles with these daring new timepieces.

Audemars Piguet

At 23 mm across, these are not the smallest Royal Oaks ever produced: a 20mm iteration was launched in 1997, alongside a 44mm Royal Oak Grande Complication, to celebrate the model’s 25th anniversary. They’re also not the sparkliest Royal Oaks: any number of abundantly gem-set models are all vying for that crown.

But the frosted gold trio before you are definitely amongst the most attention-grabbing Royal Oaks to date, residing as they do in the intersection of two Goldilocks zones: they’re well suited to slender-wristed wearers, but not so small that they invoke outmoded notions of femininity; and they’re mischievously sparkly, but packing only carefully measured flamboyance.

Audemars Piguet

Built from 18 carat yellow, white or pink frosted gold, the new pieces’ shimmering diamond-dust effect contrasts beautifully with the polished bevels. The case, bezel and bracelet have been created using a Florentine jewelry technique first applied to a Royal Oak in 2016, and again in 2018 with the help of Carolina Bucci. The frosting involves hand-hammering the metal using a diamond-tipped tool, and the effect is uniquely elegant and understated.

The dials—like that on Gérald Genta’s original steel game-changer—are uncluttered bar the petite tapisserie pattern. Unlike Genta’s original (a major counter-offensive salvo from the mechanical watches camp during the quartz crises) the beating heart for this trio is calibre 2730, a quartz movement with a seven-year battery life and easy-to-use deactivation mode.

Audemars Piguet

The smallest selfwinding Royal Oaks ever made remain Calibre 2062, a 29mm piece – created by former head of Audemars Piguet’s design office Jacqueline Dimier – which retained the codes of Genta’s original model created in 1976, and the gem-set derivative released shortly afterwards.

“These mini creations pay tribute not only to Audemars Piguet’s long tradition of miniature and jewellery watches, but also to the women who have left their mark on the history of the brand, including Jacqueline Dimier to whom we owe the first Royal Oak for women, and Carolina Bucci, the mastermind behind the Frosted Gold finish,” said Ilaria Resta Audemars Piguet’s Chief Executive Officer, in a statement.

Audemars Piguet

Sébastian Vivas—the maker’s Heritage and Museum Director—added that the three pieces “demonstrate the extraordinary plasticity of the Royal Oak collection, which transcends decades, gender, trends and dimensions.”

Size: 27 mm
Material: white, yellow and rose gold
Price: $51,700

Audemars Piguet

AP’s frosted gold Royal Oaks have been a hit for the brand since it debuted as a collaboration with Italian jeweler, Carolina Bucci in 2016. There have been several versions, including one with a mirrored dial, and now the nouveau classic is sporting a “Crystal Sand” finish.

Audemars Piguet

The 34 mm model’s dial offers a magnified and dramatized interpretation of the hammered case and surface of the bracelet. Made from embossed ruthenium crystal, the dial is then adorned with a stamping die via electroforming, a process that forms or grows metal parts onto a model. The color is achieved through a galvanic bath of both rhodium and gold coating to accentuate its 3D form.

Audemars Piguet

Size: 34 mm
Material: frosted gold
Price: $93,250

Audemars Piguet

Since 2010, Audemars Piguet’s Openworked Royal Oak models have been offered in sizes ranging between 39 mm (e.g., reference 15305) and 41 mm (e.g., reference 15407). Something about skeletonizing watches seems to cause many brands to reach for its larger cases: Perhaps it’s the larger dial for skeletonizing, or perhaps it’s a tendency to assume that men who like big watches will also prefer openworked dials. To be honest, I’ve long shared the latter assumption, though I’ve never had much reason to examine it before now.

Audemars Piguet often challenges our assumptions (consider the Spider Man Royal Oak, for example), and this new Openworked Double Balance Wheel Royal Oak at 37 mm in white or rose gold disregards assumptions about gender and watches while also underlining the small watch trend for men.

Audemars Piguet

Thirty-seven mm is pretty much the perfect “unisex” size. Many brands (for example, Grand Seiko, Lange, Rolex, Zentih) offer 37 mm watches that serve as a bridge between their men’s and women’s collections, and sometimes these brands will point that out. However, in its typical avant garde manner, Audemars Piguet is way ahead of this shifting norm—especially when compared to its counterparts in the Horological Holy Trinity, Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin, both of which offer 37 mm watches steered more obviously toward men or women with gem setting, or the lack thereof. By offering the Openworked Royal Oak at 37 mm, Audemars Piguet cleverly sidesteps that old-school his/hers conundrum.

Audemars Piguet

This watch is going to resonate with men who are continuing to lean toward smaller watches, and it’s going to resonate with women who are looking for a larger and more daring timepiece that won’t overpower (or simply overhang) their wrists. And this Royal Oak does all that gender bending by simply shrinking its skeletonized watch. In this regard alone, I think it’s a brilliant offering—and I’m not a big fan of openworked dials.

The dual balance wheel mechanism of caliber 3132 helps stabilize the balance staff in its ruby mount, which improves precision.
Audemars Piguet

With all that said, what’s really driving this watch’s avant garde nature is the movement, known as caliber 3132. The dual balance wheel is a unique approach to minimizing the tilt of the balance staff (the axil on which the balance wheel oscillates). When the balance wheel swings back and forth (like a pendulum), there is a tendency, due to inertia, for it to slightly tilt within its ruby mount. When the balance staff tilts (however slightly) gravity has its way with it, causing timing discrepancies in different positions (known as positional variance). By adding a second balance wheel (not just a second spring, as found in some movements), Audemars Piguet has added stabilizing mass to the mechanism, as well as a counter-force that further stabilizes the balance staff as it changes direction. Theoretically, this reduces tilt of the balance staff and reduces positional variance.

It also looks very cool, and you’ll get a good view from both the front and the back of this watch.

Size: 37 mm
Material: pink and white gold
Price: $147,300

Audemars Piguet

If you’d told me a few years ago that brutalism—a minimalist, institutional architecture style of the mid-20th century rendered with massive concrete slabs—was going to be a catchphrase of watch design by 2024, I’d have declared you an iconoclastic crackpot. But, you’d have been right.

Audemars Piguet has picked up on the recent nostalgia for that strangely appealing architectural style. Reaching into their catalog from the 1960s, when brutalism was peaking globally, they’ve found a very cool watch to recreate—or, as AP insists, to “[RE]Master.” Audemars Piguet has borrowed the term from the recording arts: Remastering is generally a slight modernizing of a recording for current markets, so the analogy holds here, as this watch slightly modernizes vintage model.

Audemars Piguet

Crafted from Audemars Piguet’s proprietary sand gold, the case will shift between white and pink gold hues, depending on ambient lighting. Using the trusted time-only only caliber 7129, this auto-winding mechanical movement is on display through a circular window in the caseback.

Audemars Piguet

Sébastian Vivas, AP’s Heritage and Museum Director, states that “Between 1959 and 1963, Audemars Piguet created more than 30 asymmetrical models, most of which were produced in less than 10 pieces. [RE]Master02 is a fantastic opportunity to revive this forgotten golden age.”

Audemars Piguet

Despite the wildly brutalist case, it may be the dial that steals the show here. Created using a dark blue PVD treatment over beautifully brushed surfaces, the 12 individually crafted dial segments cleverly help time telling without relying on applied markers. These dial segments are separated by galvanized sand gold partitions, and each segment sits on miniscule legs attached to a brass dial plate beneath. All of this geometric precision is accentuated by the beveled sapphire crystal.

Size: 41 mm
Material: sand gold
Price: $70,900(limited to 250 pieces)

Audemars Piguet

The Code 11.59 is getting all dolled up this year in a splash of gem-set models. Two 38 mm iterations come in either 18-karat pink gold or white gold set with 533 brilliant-cut diamonds and colored sapphires.

Audemars Piguet

What is notable here is the pixelated-looking setting. The pink-gold version comes with an array of navy, baby blue and yellow sapphires on the dial, while the white-gold version comes in pink and purple sapphires. Both look as though the colors were shaken in a glass and poured onto the dial so that the pattern is haphazardly arranged. It’s a fun take on a gem-set dial, one which we can’t recall seeing before and is, no doubt, extraordinarily difficult to arrange to achieve the right balance of hues. Each piece is set with the three-hand selfwinding caliber 5909.

Audemars Piguet
Audemars Piguet

One of the coolest pieces in the new lineup is just a prototype for now, but it offers a glimpse of what’s to come in the future. Chroma Gold is a patented innovation blending yellow gold, white gold, and rose gold via Spark Plasma Sintering technology. Each gold variation is melted before droplets are atomized into powders. They are then combined in their respective pattern in a circular graphite mold which is then sintered via an electrical current. It is a first for the watch industry.

Audemars Piguet

Even in jewellery it is notoriously difficult to work with multiple types of metal in one piece due to the variations in consistency and that’s without trying to blend them together. The only time we have seen the blending of two different types of gold before is in American jeweler Adam Neeley’s proprietary SpectraGold, which is currently pending a patent. AP’s Chroma Gold follows the debut of a similar method with ceramic that debuted in a prototype earlier this year allowing the company to blend various hues of the material. Camo isn’t for everyone, but the multi-hued gold version certainly makes a compelling case for the machismo pattern. On the right hands it will be irresistibly cool.

 

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Watch of the Week: IWC Ceralume Pilot’s Chronograph

The concept watch hints at the future of IWC’s proprietary luminous ceramic technology.

By Josh Bozin 31/05/2024

Did you catch Lewis Hamilton rocking a new IWC Schaffhausen timepiece at the Monaco Grand Prix over the weekend? We did too, and as curious watch fanatics, we couldn’t help but speculate on what exactly this stark-white timepiece could be. A new iteration of the 2022 Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN “Lake Tahoe” edition, perhaps?

Sort of.

Earlier this week, IWC took to Instagram to reveal what its experimental engineering division, XPL, has been working on over the last few years. Introducing the new IWC Ceralume Pilot’s Chronograph—a ceramic watch, albeit a prototype, that completely glows in the dark, from case to dial to strap!

IWC

Such wizardry is thanks to a proprietary luminous ceramic technology that IWC calls “Ceralume.” This technical feat has allowed IWC watchmakers to produce their very first fully luminous ceramic watch. Building on its 40-year journey as true pioneers of engineering ceramic material within watches—ceramic is notoriously difficult to work with, you see—IWC is no stranger to such technical feats.

Thanks to the homogeneous mixing of ceramic powders with high-grade Super-LumiNova pigments, IWC has fashioned a luminous material that acts like a battery for storing light energy. Utilising the new Ceralume technology, this fully luminous concept Pilot’s Chronograph emits a bright blueish light that lasts more than 24 hours.

“With the first fully luminous ceramic case rings, we underscore our role as a pioneer and innovator in ceramic watches. The development of Ceralume took several years. The main challenges we faced were producing watch cases with maximum homogeneity and meeting our exacting quality standards,” says Dr. Lorenz Brunner, Department Manager Research & Innovation at IWC Schaffhausen.

“To achieve these goals, we engineered a ground-breaking new manufacturing process – tailored to the unique combination of ceramic powders and Super-LumiNova pigments.”

If we’re to get extra technical, the ceramic material absorbs light energy from sunlight (or artificial light), stores it temporarily, and then emits the absorbed energy as visible light—the luminous “glow” that you see below. According to IWC, this cycle is infinite and will never cause the material to age or diminish its light storage capacity.

IWC

Developed completely in-house by IWC and its Experimental Engineering Division (XPL), the patent-pending Ceralume technology will undoubtedly form the foundation of future developments and releases, with a broader commercial release imminent.

To learn more, visit iwc.com

 

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