Audemars Piguet always has been one of my favourite brands, especially their Royal Oak line make my horological heart tick faster. Since a year or so, I am the proud owner of a Royal Oak watch. The Royal Oak Date (ref.15300ST) at first, then after six months, followed by the ‘Jumbo’ cult icon (ref.15202ST).
The Royal Oak Off-shore Safari is on my wish list as well, as I am impressed by this time piece ever since I had the chance to review one from one of my sponsors. AP seems to enjoy the success of their popular RO and RO Off-shore a lot, organizing release parties with the rich and famous, sponsoring all kinds of events and charities and having a few rapping and acting ambassadors.
Although I don’t think there is anything wrong with that strategy, there is something wrong with the supposedly superb service that buyers of AP time pieces deserve, or, as I would like to put it, “haute service”.
A few examples from first hand: polishing an octagonal bezel to a round bezel, needing 10 weeks for regulating a movement and delivering it back with a dust pickle under the dial and even worse, there is this example of AP losing a watch from a customer. Of course, they replaced it with a new one but what if there was a personal engraving in the case back? Goner. AP charges serious prices for servicing a time piece, customers should therefore receive the best work possible.
My suggestion to AP is to skip a few release parties or drop an ambassador and invest in proper quality control before a repaired or serviced watch leaves their factory. Unfortunately, AP is not the only manufacturer that suffers from lack of “haute service”. There are numerous examples from first hand that include brands like Omega, Jaeger-LeCoultre and a few smaller ones. I have to admit that in the end, most problems are solved, but it shouldn’t have come so far in the first place.
To be honest, the only brand that I would be totally comfortable with performing a repair or service overhaul, is the giant from Geneva, Rolex SA.