Audemars Piguet held the official opening of its third AP House in the world last night, and London was given the honour of following Hong Kong and New York to embrace the radical retail concept.
The London AP House has no frontage at street level on its prime New Bond Street location bang opposite Wempe.
Instead, the space is located on the first floor where customers are invited to relax with a premium cocktail, coffee or glass of champagne from the well-stocked bar; relax on boutique hotel-style sofas and peruse the Royal Oaks of their choice.
Audemars Piguet has also moved its UK head office to an adjacent room and there is a watchmaker’s studio on site so the full gamut of AP expertise is in one place.
There is also a commercial kitchen on site where a professional team can prepare canapés or even full dinners for clients.
Six consultants will work full time in the AP House space, Audemars Piguet’s UK managing director Daniel Compton told WatchPro at the opening event last night, although customers will have to book time in advance to gain access.
That makes it easier for the team to ensure they have the right watches out of the safe and on the coffee table to show because there is very little product permanently displayed in the room.
“If they are interested in the latest Royal Oak Offshore or Millenary pieces, we will have those out ready for them to see,” Mr Compton explained.
AP now has three boutiques in London: one run as a joint venture with French jeweller Arije on Sloane Street in Knightsbridge — the only location with a street-level store front; a second within the Fine Watch Room at Harrods; and now the AP House on New Bond Street.