Bright lights, tall buildings, and a city that never sleeps. There’s a man proclaiming his love for a woman out the front of Trump Tower on 57th, a busker is playing the drums on nothing but 5 upside down buckets, and the streets smell like garbage.
Welcome to New York! It’s a dog-eat-dog world and everybody is trying to one up each other.
In comes Vacheron – wait, I thought this was an article on Audemars Piguet? It is, but we can’t visit that without also visiting the Vacheron Constantin Boutique on 57th. The VC boutique takes up two floors with the boutique downstairs and the level upstairs reserved for events. Inside you can find a custom strap bar and a collection of their archived watches they’ve purchased back from collectors.
The VC Boutique dwarfs all the other boutiques, so some might see this as an act of war.
Enter: Audemars Piguet, like your little brother poking the bear. Everyone knows how good AP is and AP want to let the world know it. But to win, they had to bring in something special, something welcoming – an experience. It is the Big Apple, after all.
AP House is not meant to be a boutique, but rather a hotel, a bar, a restaurant, and an events location. Somewhere in the midst, they also sell watches.
All of the AP Houses that have opened have been akin to speakeasys in some shape or form. As a result, they’re somewhat difficult to spot. The London version is only presented by flags on top of the Smythson’s retailer. In New York, there’s a faint AP logo painted across exposed brick in the meatpacking district.
“Welcome to New York,” I thought to myself.
Upon entry you are greeted by several security guards before you’re even allowed to access the elevator to enter the House. Sure, you might be able to see similar watches at Tornau up the road, but this place has a couch that’s more comfortable, and more whisky options to choose from.
I was greeted by Jennifer, our wonderful host. No not a customer service representative, but rather our tour guide, our museum curator, our historian and oh… she might also sell watches.
See for many people watches just tell the time, a simple tool, but for us aficionado’s, they’re art, they’re a tour. Each watch represents a moment in time and going through the gallery allowed us to see that.
Whether it be a 90-year-old pocket watch, or a 50-year-old perpetual calendar, AP House provides historic guidance. Through the museum we move into the lounge, where now you might be able to buy a watch, with an expression of interest of course. The 7000+ square foot area has a bar, a lounge, a grand piano and even a courtyard.
To be honest this immersive experience was working on me. I was no longer in New York, I was in AP’s house.
I spent thirty minutes inside trying on watches, sharing jokes with the staff, and discussing potential expressions of interest. Of course, I can never imagine a phone call ever coming my way, but one can dream, can’t they?
The boutique had several must-see watches: The “Beast” reference number 25721ST, the new diver with a grey face, or my personal favourite, the 43mm Royal Oak Elephant with the new offshore chronograph configuration (horizontal based axis as opposed to vertical).
After inspecting the timepieces, we move to the 2800-square-foot terrace surrounded by lush greenery. The natural outdoor lighting is enhanced during the day with a combination of recessed, downlighting, and ambient lights indoors, presenting an even luminescence throughout the space.
The AP House New York provides a platform for brand representatives to foster deeper relationships with clients and friends through exclusive experiences that showcase the manufacture’s creations.
The AP House New York is located at 52-58 Gansevoort St.
Reservations aren’t required, but unless you know the secret password… they’re encouraged.
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Shane Casey is the Head Distiller at Brix Distillers. Brix loves rum more than anything else and to celebrate National Rum Day we had a chat with Shane about all things rum.
The two new watches, the “Eucalyptus” and “Noosa,” are Australian exclusives from Seiko.
Call me petty, if you will, but as the owner of the original MIH watch, I am a more than a little miffed that this watch is coming back, albeit in a slightly altered form and under a different name. Kinda.
Joseph had a chat with Oris Australia’s Managing Director, Peter Borghouts. They talk about the history and philosophy of Oris and the stories behind select pieces.