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AP House in London is on the first floor of a building on Bond Street.

Audemars Piguet to open a Manchester AP House with Watches of Switzerland

The project will be a joint venture, with an opening date set for Spring of next year.

Audemars Piguet CEO François-Henry Bennahmias is expected to step down this year after ten years at the top.

One of his most significant decisions during that tenure was that Audemars Piguet watches would only be sold from Audemars Piguet showrooms.

He also launched a programme to develop a global network of AP House lounges.

These AP Houses are usually run directly by the manufacturer, and elevate the retail experience, quite literally, above traditional stores on the street and into luxurious lounges on upper floors.

In the UK, for example, the only AP House is on the first floor of a property on London’s Bond Street, with only a discrete plaque at the street level entrance and a branded flag announcing its location.

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The discrete entrance to AP House on Bond Street.

Audemars Piguet still has authorised dealers around the world, but these are all being required to open AP boutiques.

The first in the UK was a joint venture between Arije and AP for a boutique on Sloane Street in London’s Knightsbridge.

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AP House Hong Kong.

Until now, no authorised dealer in the UK has been permitted to open an AP House, although Material Good in the United States runs the New York AP House along with four boutiques.

The Watches of Switzerland Group announces today that it has signed a letter of intent with Audemars Piguet confirming its intention to open an AP House in the UK in the region of St Anne’s, Manchester.

Watches of Switzerland already has a substantial multibrand showroom on St Anne’s Square.

The project will be a joint venture, with an opening date set for Spring of next year.

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Audemars Piguet partner Material Good secured a space with a rare as hens’ teeth outdoor terrace when it opened in Manhattan in 2022.

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This will be the first time that Watches of Switzerland has experimented with the new concept of meeting clients in a lounge environment, rather than a traditional store, although lavish hospitality, with cocktail bars, event spaces and private meeting rooms, have become the norm at its larger showrooms.

The concept works best for brands with considerable waiting lists and customers who value the discretion and comfort of lounges.

There are currently 13 AP Houses around the world in Bangkok, Barcelona, Hong Kong, London, Madrid, Milan, Munich, Shanghai, St. Barths, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, New York and Zurich.

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AP House St. Barts.

Every AP House is different as they aim to draw on the atmosphere and history of each location.

Instead of street level retail, conversations with customers take place by appointment in private lounges and hotel-style entertainment spaces.

They are seen as the top tier of retail for Audemars Piguet, and receive the most generous allocations of the hottest watches.

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