Introducing The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Extra-Thin The Hour Glass Edition In Yellow Gold (With Specs & Price)

For the very first time Audemars Piguet is making the Royal Oak Extra-Thin 15202 available in gorgeous yellow gold with a 50-piece limited edition for Singapore retailer The Hour Glass.

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Extra-Thin The Hour Glass Edition is the first and only Royal Oak “Jumbo” ref. 15202 produced in 18 ct. yellow gold – arguably the most classic metal for the Royal Oak aside from steel. To go with the yellow gold case and bracelet, the dial is a dark green, with the hands, hour markers and applied AP logo also in yellow gold. And most notably, the hexagonal nuts on the bezel are also yellow gold, instead of the conventional white gold.

Made in a limited edition of 50 pieces, this has the same specifications as the regular production Royal Oak Extra-Thin, which is available only in steel or rose gold. The case is 39mm wide and 8.1mm high. Inside is the calibre 2121, which has a rotor engraved with the logo of The Hour Glass and “One of Fifty”.

The dark green dial with the signature tapisserie guilloche of the Royal Oak

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Extra-Thin The Hour Glass Edition (ref. 15205BA.OO.1240BA.01) has a retail price of S$79,600, equivalent to US$59,000. Deliveries will start August 2015 and this edition is available only from The Hour Glass.

Update July 1, 2015: Updated to remove reference to The Hour Glass 35th anniversary and additional photos added.

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Rolex Extends International Warranty To Five Years

Up from two.

All Rolex watches sold starting July 1, 2015 will have a five year international warranty, giving Rolex one of the longest warranty periods in the industry. Watches sold within the last two years also get a boost. Those sold from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2015, will enjoy a warranty extension of a year for a three year warranty.

This new extended warranty is not the only major warranty news from Rolex of late. Last year Rolex installed an electronic card swiper in all its authorised retailers. This reads the magnetic strip on the current generation of warranty card. When a watch is sold, the warranty card has to be swiped on the machine, instantly registering the sale and the warranty with Rolex itself.  Because the swipe date has to tally with the date of the sale invoice, the system cannot be gamed. “Open” warranty cards are no longer possible. Not only does it avoid funny business with the warranty cards, this ensures Rolex can swiftly restock a retailer as it has a real-time picture of the retailer’s inventory.

Rolex is not the first major luxury brand to offer a warranty longer than the industry standard of two years. Omega has long offered a four year warranty with its Co-Axial watches equipped with the Si14 silicon hairspring because of the superior reliability of movements with non-magnetic silicon components. Notably, Richard Mille has employed a “3+2” year warranty for several years. Every Richard Mille is sold with a three year warranty, but as long as the owner sends the watch in for a check-up within the first three years, the warranty is extended another two years for a total of five. And Hublot chairman Jean-Claude Biver has long offered his personal warranty extension to any Hublot owner who asked. Typically five or 10 years, Biver himself pens this warranty extension.

Interestingly, even longer warranties are frequently encountered with the most affordable of timepieces. Danish brand Skagen offers a lifetime warranty on its watches, which are priced from $50 to $200. The commercial logic behind that is simple: it’s a highly attractive selling point, while the quartz movements that power such watches are extraordinarily reliable. And even when they’re not, replacing (repair is unlikely) the movement or watch is extremely low cost.



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EXCLUSIVE: Patek Philippe To Increase Retail Prices In Hong Kong And Singapore Come July 1

In a surprise (or not) move, Patek Philippe will increase the retail prices of its timepieces in Hong Kong and Singapore on July 1, 2015, reversing the price reductions it implemented in February.

In a move that caused equal amounts of hand-wringing and glee, Patek Philippe cut its retail prices around the world in February 2015 after the Swiss franc surprise. Prices were reduced by between 3% and 7% in various markets, though weak local currency in Europe and Japan meant the prices there rose. The rationale was to ensure geographical parity in prices around the world.  On July 1 that will go into reverse, with retail prices in Hong Kong and Singapore rising. Other markets may also see similar price adjustments. Retail prices in Hong Kong will rise 7.5%, with the revised price list already circulated to retailers in Hong Kong. Prices in Singapore will go up by some 3% to 5%. The price change in Hong Kong brings retail prices to almost the same level as they were before the 7% reduction. Take for instance a hypothetical watch that retailed for HK$600,000 in February. After the price reduction it was HK$558,000. With the new prices that come into effect in July, that same watch will now be HK$599,850. This reversal in prices is unsurprising to some industry insiders who were speculating in the wake of the price reduction that it was temporary, rather than permanent. The earlier price reductions put prices of Patek Philippe watches on par with the competition. For example the Patek Philippe ref. 5170G chronograph cost essentially the same (in fact the Patek cost a tiny bit less) as the Vacheron Constantin Harmony Monopusher Cal. 3300. Given Patek Philippe’s consistent efforts over the years to price its products at a premium to the competition, in hindsight any permanent price reduction would have been not just a price adjustment, but an overturning of its strategy. Addendum July 6, 2015: Price increase for Singapore added.

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