“To break the rules, you must first master them.” This little bon mot epitomizes a well-known fact among adepts and innovators in any creative field, from writing to architectural design, fashion and even horticulture. First you must understand implicitly how things work, for then – and only then – can you begin to truly play. Audemars Piguet, the esteemed makers of sumptuous Swiss luxury watches established over a century ago, understands this concept so well that they have adopted the phrase as the cornerstone of their new 2012 ad campaign.
“Over the years we have demonstrated our mastery of the art of haute horology and yet Audemars Piguet has also always been a beacon of innovation and creativity that dares to break new grounds,” said CEO Philippe Merk, explaining the choice. “While the watches that we make are expressions of our respect for the traditions of hand crafted timepieces and while we celebrate the fact that we are the one of the few major Swiss brands still in the hands of the descendants of the original founding families, we are also a modern, progressive company famous for our innovations in technology, the daring use of new materials and bold designs.”
The new campaign was created by Lowe Superculture in London and has two complimentary components: one intended to highlight the technical and design aspects of the watches themselves and the other with a focus on paying homage to the origins and history of the brand itself.
To capture the latter idea, British landscape photographer Dan Holdsworth spent several weeks approximately five and a half miles southeast of Paris, photographing the Swiss landscape near the longtime home of Audemars. So committed are they to this idea that the name of Le Brassus village, in the Vallée de Joux in western Switzerland, has even taken the place of the familiar line in their brand logo: “Le maître de l’horlogerie depuis 1875.”
As for design and innovation, renowned still life photographer, Richard Foster, was brought in to capture various components of the timepieces themselves and visualize the concept of the new tagline. This is accomplished primarily through close-up shots paired with a brief explanation.
The new ad campaign has gone hand in hand with the launch of two new models: the Millenary 4101 and the new Royal Oak. Now in its fortieth year of production, the new Royal Oak – 41mm diameter, stainless steel, blue face – is a cleaner variation on a watch that has seen many interpretations.
It’s always fun to see an old company roll out a new ad campaign, and it’s particularly nice when a company you like and respect does it well. Cheers to breaking the rules… and doing it right.