Business News: Audemars Piguet Names Ilaria Resta CEO

An outsider takes the helm at the storied brand.

Ending months of speculation, Audemars Piguet (AP) has finally filled the role of chief executive officer after outgoing boss Francois-Henry Bennahmias revealed his intention to depart last year.

The Le Brassus watchmaker famous for the Royal Oak just announced that the top job will go to Ilaria Resta, formerly the president at a

According to the announcement, Ms Resta joins AP in August this year and officially assumes the chief executive role on January 1, 2024. Mr Bennahmias will remain to assist with the transition until the end of 2023.

A thirty-year veteran of the brand, the flamboyant Mr Bennahmias quadrupled AP’s annual revenue during his tenure, with its sales last year hitting the CHF2 billion mark. His successor’s résumé, however, suggests the board might be looking for someone who understands branding on a global and mass-market scale.

With a long and accomplished career in fast-moving consumer goods, Ms Resta’s background is unusual for the leader of a major luxury watch brand. She was most recently President of

“Her proven record of delivering results through a clear strategic thinking based on deep consumer insights will keep AP’s legacy relevant for generations to come and ensure long lasting growth,” says Alessandro Bogliolo, chairman of the AP board of directors, in the announcement.

Ms Resta’s appointment marks a complete renewal at the top of Audemars Piguet, which last year saw the retirement of its long serving chairwoman, Jasmine Audemars. After over 30 years leading the board, Ms Audemars was replaced by Mr Bogliolo, who was chief executive of Tiffany & Co. until it was acquired by LVMH.


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J.N. Shapiro Introduces the Resurgence

In-house American watchmaking.

Having made a name for himself as a guillocheur, Joshua Shapiro has taken things a step further with the launch of the Resurgence, the most thoroughly American-made wristwatch since 1969.

The Resurgence offers several features that are unique within the increasingly crowded field of high-end independent watchmaking. It is a customisable product that offers an almost unlimited number of dial, case, and movement combinations; it’s possible that no two watches will be alike. Almost every aspect of the watch, from the elaborate guilloche dial, engine-turned case, and customisable in-house movement, is surprisingly interesting and original.

Initial Thoughts

I first met Joshua in 2019 after the launch of the Infinity Series, and even then he was keen to discuss his vision for creating an in-house American-made movement that would live up to the quality of his guilloche work. But I must admit the Resurgence has exceeded my expectations, especially in terms of finishing.

As a guilloche specialist, Joshua does not disappoint with the multi-part guilloche dial. Its construction reminds me of the dial found in the Roger W. Smith GREAT Britain, a one-off watch made in 2015 for the British government’s tourism campaign of the same name. But while the construction is similar, the Resurgence dial possesses its own aesthetic that steps out from the shadow of Swiss or British-style guilloche.

At US$85,000 in gold and US$70,000 in steel, the Resurgence is priced at the upper end of the spectrum for high-end, artisanal time-only watches. This is partly justified by the customisable nature of the guilloche work on the dial and case and costly American labour. On average, each Resurgence requires in excess of 300 watchmaker-hours to finish.

Within the context of American watchmaking, the price put the Resurgence between the time-only watch of Oregon-based Keaton Myrick and the Pennsylvania Tourbillon from RGM, which has been the standard-bearer for high-end American watchmaking since the 1990s. But the Resurgence arguably takes the concept of “Made in America” slightly further than its peers, making it an impressive and investment-heavy achievement that arguably justifies the steep price.

American made

Once a watchmaking powerhouse that forced the Swiss to adopt mass production, the American watch industry started to fade in the early 20th century, ultimately dying out when the Hamilton watch factory closed in 1969. Over the last 30 years, there’s been a renewed interest in making mechanical watches domestically. Several American watchmaking firms have sprung up, the first of which was RGM, founded in 1992 in Pennsylvania (near the old Hamilton factory).

But because the industry was dormant for such a long time, there remains an absence of domestic suppliers for many key components. For this reason, contemporary American watchmakers tend to rely on at least some Swiss components, especially for wheels, pinions, and escapement components. For the Resurgence, it was important to Joshua and his team to make these components in-house. 

J.N. Shapiro includes an itemised breakdown of the origin of each of the 180 components used in the watch – 148 of which are currently produced in-house – making the Resurgence the most transparently and comprehensively American-made watch since Hamilton shut its doors. The percentage of US-made components is likely to increase even further by the time of production, since the brand is currently evaluating domestic suppliers for jewels (which constitute the bulk of the imported parts count). 

It’s worth noting that the “US Made” label is one of the most stringent in the world, requiring “all or substantially all” of the components to be made domestically. In comparison, “Swiss Made” only requires 60% of the manufacturing costs to be incurred in Switzerland. For this reason, many prominent Swiss watchmakers view the “Swiss Made” label as too nebulous. In this context, meeting the requirements to be “US Made” is impressive.

Maximalist guilloche

As expected from J.N. Shapiro, the fine guilloche work takes centre stage. Naturally, the brand’s signature micro-basket weave pattern, known as the Infinity Weave, is featured prominently on the dial. 

The elaborate dial is composed of 20 individual components, each of which can be customised to the owner’s taste. The dial components can be engraved with different guilloche patterns, or a single pattern that runs across the different layers. 

It may seem counter-intuitive, but the single-pattern dials are far more challenging because any misalignment between the concentric layers would be immediately obvious. In order to ensure that the patterns start and end in exactly the right place to align with the patterns on the adjacent layer, each layer is painstakingly aligned down to one micron. 

But guilloche found not just on the dial, but also on the case band – an industry first – which is turned on the same rose engine as the dial. Joshua gained proficiency turning circular components by making rings, and he has now applied this expertise to the watch case. To achieve this, the lugs are produced separately and attached after the caseband has been engraved (a detail that means a mixed metal case is a possibility). 

The 38 mm case is available in a variety of metals, including white or rose gold, steel, tantalum, and zirconium. Notably, the white gold alloy he uses includes palladium, which makes the alloy more expensive but means that the case does not need to be plated with rhodium in order to achieve a bright white finish.

In-house and distinctive

But arguably the biggest upgrade is the movement, which is now made in-house in California. The Infinity Series relied on the UWD 33.1, a high-end movement made Uhren Werke Dresden. While the UWD 33.1 is a fine movement, Joshua’s vision was always to create his own, American-made calibre. 

This required a major investment in equipment and time, to produce parts like the escapement, pinions, and pivots. According to Joshua, the most difficult part of making a movement from scratch was learning to make “all the small steel parts that you can’t see through the case back.”

Because these components are so difficult to make and are typically hidden within the movement, making them in-house is not a commercially attractive option for most watchmakers. For this reason, most independent watchmakers, and even some historic Swiss brands, outsource these components to specialists. 

Full control of the manufacturing process gives J.N. Shapiro the ability to offer three different bridge layouts for the movement. From a technical standpoint, the three variations are identical, but collectors have the option to choose from a traditional layout with finger bridges, a curvy layout with a large S-shaped train bridge, or a cubist-inspired layout with straight bridges.

Notably, J.N. Shapiro is the only brand that is currently offering collectors different options for movement layout, and this level of customisation multiplies the number of possible configurations by a factor of three, increasing the odds that every Resurgence watch will unique in some way. 

Regardless of configuration, the bridges are made from German silver, also known as maillechort, and the finishing is distinctive and top-notch. The base plate is finished with perlage, while the bridges are attractively decorated with damaskeening, a distinctly American style of patterned finish that was popularised by the 19th-century American watchmakers that J.N. Shapiro is honouring with the Resurgence. 

Example of damaskeening on the author’s Waltham Riverside from 1903.

But despite the American roots, the finishing has been updated to the standards of contemporary Swiss haute horlogerie. The bridges are finished with wide, mirror-polished anglage with crisp inward and outward angles. The most complex bridge style (the cubist design) features 14 inner angles, which take two to three hours each to finish by hand. The countersinks for the screws and jewels are also very wide and executed to a high standard.

There are two watchmakers on staff that do anglage, one of whom has a background in engraving. To acquire the skills needed to do inward angles in-house, the team trained with Nathalie Jean-Louis, a Swiss movement decoration specialist who spent six years at Greubel Forsey and now runs her own finishing workshop that also offers training. 

Even the wheels receive an unusual degree of hand finishing, with fully rounded spokes. The spokes of the wheels are cut in the CNC machine, but the final, rounded form can only be achieved with tedious hand polishing.

The team evidently takes a lot of pride in their work: the movements are all signed with “ARTGS”, which is the first letter of the last name of each of the five full-time watchmakers who work on the Resurgence.  

Further evidence of the ambition of Joshua and his team is the use of a free-sprung balance and an overcoil hairspring. Currently, J.N. Shapiro obtains flat hairsprings from Switzerland and relies on two watchmakers on staff who form the overcoils in-house.

The flat hairsprings are supplied by Precision Engineering, the Neuhausen-based sister company to H. Moser & Cie. that provides hairsprings and escapement components to many high-end independent watchmakers, including Laurent Ferrier and MB&F. 

To fully appreciate the extent of J.N. Shapiro’s new in-house capabilities, it’s worth noting that many of Precision Engineering’s other clients buy complete escapements, including the hairspring, escape wheel, lever, and balance wheel. In contrast, J.N. Shapiro only buys the hairspring; the rest of its components are made in-house.

Impressively, J.N. Shapiro is already experimenting with US-made wire for the hairspring and hopes to produce hairsprings in-house as early as year-end. Based on what the brand has already accomplished, I wouldn’t bet against them. 

Key facts and price

J.N. Shapiro Resurgence

Diameter: 38 mm
Height: 8.7 mm (not including crystal)
Material: 18k white or rose gold, tantalum, zirconium, or stainless steel
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: Resurgence
Functions: Hours, minutes, and seconds
Winding: Manual
Frequency: 18,000 beats per hour (2.5 Hz)
Power reserve: 48 hours

Strap: Bespoke strap and material

Limited edition: No, but production capacity is limited to around 30 watches per year
Availability: The first delivery is scheduled for late 2023
Price: 18k gold – US$85,000; tantalum – US$80,000; zirconium or stainless steel – US$70,000

For more, visit


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Highlights: Notable Independents at Christie’s Hong Kong

From the whimsical to the sophisticated.

Having covered the extraordinary Patek Philippe timepieces and the single-owner “Ultimate Collection” in Christie’s upcoming Important Watches auction in Hong Kong, we now shift gears and look at the sales’s line-up of independent watchmaking.

The independents in the sale are of course led by big names like Richard Mille and F.P. Journe – amongst the latter’s offerings in the sale is the rare Tourbillon Souverain in the colours of the Chinese flag. But alongside these six- and seven-figure watches (in U.S. dollar terms), are some underrated watches that might be value buys, notably the Ulysse Nardin Freak Lab. And then there’s the simply whimsical with the Konstantin Chaykin Clown II.

Important Watches (lots 2201-2360) begins at 1:00 pm on May 26 – the catalogue is available here.

The “China 2010” dial

Lot 2215: Ulysse Nardin Freak Lab

While Ulysse Nardin is not an independent watchmaker in the strictest sense of the term, it isn’t owned by a luxury group. And the Freak is still an avant-garde watch over two decades after its introduction, a watch so exotic it seems to have emerged from mind of a talented independent watchmaker. Which is true: it was conceived by Carole Forestier then refined and perfected by Ludwig Oechslin.

So the Freak certainly makes the cut in this independents feature. And this particular Freak is incorporates some notable innovations. Historically a platform for movement-technology experimentation, the Freak evolved into the Freak Lab in 2016, based on the original from 2001 but with an enhanced movement. 

Besides the double escape wheels in silicon, the Freak Lab also featured the newly-invented UlyChoc shock protection system that relies on a silicon spring to cushion and centre the balance staff after an impact.

Typical of the Freak, the Freak Lab is presented in an largish, 45 mm, 18k white gold case. It was a limited edition of 99 pieces.

Although this example on offer shows minor surface wear on its case, the movement is in working condition, albeit possibly requiring a service. It is accompanied by its presentation box and outer packaging.

Although the Freak’s technical accomplishments are uncontested, it has never really gained the traction it should. As a consequence, many examples are value buys on the secondary market. This example has an estimate of just HK$120,000-240,000, or about US$15,400-30,700. For more, view the catalogue here.

Lot 2283: Konstantin Chaykin “Clown II Audacity”

A watchmaker of diverse talents but most famous for his Wristmon “rolling eyes” watches, Konstantin Chaykin has iterated his signature wristwatch into numerous variants, including an ultra-complex one-off made for Only Watch 2021.

Amongst the more accessible versions is the Clown II. Inspired by a circus clown, the 88-piece limited edition was made in 2019 to commemorate his brand winning the “Audacity” award in the 2018 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve (GPHG).

Featuring the classic combination of indicators on the dial, the Clown II has his trademark hour and minute indicators along with a distinctive smile that is actually a moon phase display. Like many of the other Wristmon models, dial of the Clown II is decorated with stamped guilloché, this time in a wavy, radial pattern.

The Clown II has a steel case measuring 42 mm in diameter with a closed case back featuring an engraving of a circus tent. 

Accompanied by its original presentation box and guarantee certificate, this example is in excellent condition. It has an estimate of HK$80,000-160,000, or about US$10,230-20,460.

Full lot details here

Lot 2285: De Bethune DB24 Power Sport “Tempus” 

In 2007, Singaporean retailer The Hour Glass staged Tempus, a large-scale watch fair with several dozen brands exhibiting. A few brands were commission to created limited editions for the event, all centred on an all-black theme. One of the resulting editions was came from De Bethune, which introduced an a black-coated titanium iteration of its sports watch, the DB24 Power Sport.

An oversized watch with a 48 mm case but lightweight due to the all-titanium construction, the DB24 was De Bethune’s flagship sports watch at the time. Despite being a two-hander with a power reserve, it boasts an elaborate automatic movement.

As with most De Bethune movements of the period, the calibre boasts an in-house balance wheel made of silicon, along with the brand’s patented triple pare-chute shock resistance system.

But unique to the DB24 is automatic winding system that can be adjusted according to the wearer’s activity in order to avoid overwinding. The crown controls a lever that allows the wearer to toggle between different winding modes suited to sports, everyday wear, and the office.

A long, blued titanium pointed on the barrel bridge points to the winding mode

One of the ten pieces made, this DB24 remains in very good condition with a fully-operational movement according to Christie’s, although there are signs of oxidation on the dial.

Accompanied by its original presentation box and certificate of origin, the DB24 Power Sport has an estimate of HK$260,000-500,000, or about US$31,000-64,000. Full lot details here.

Lot 2286: H. Moser & Cie. Perpetual 1

Well known now for its tongue-in-cheek concept watches that sometimes poke fun at the industry, H. Moser & Cie. actually got its start with elegant, low-key timepieces with practical and clever complications, most notably the Perpetual 1.

Developed with the help of Andreas Strehler, the cal. HMC 341 inside the Perpetual 1 is a unique movement with both a concise display and easy adjustment of the date and month, backwards and forwards, via the crown. And the “flash” perpetual calendar mechanism seamlessly transitions between months without having to go past the absent days. For instance, at the end of February it jumps from “28” to “1”, instead of going progressing from “28” to “29” and so on as conventional calendars do. 

The innovation calendar is matched by an equally readable dial that has a large date at three o’clock, power reserve indicator at nine o’clock, and a sub-seconds at six. More unusually, the month is indicated by discreet arrow on the same axis as the hour and minute hands, while the leap year indicator is located on the back.

This variant is tone-on-tone with a silver dial matched with a white gold case. Offered with its original box and accessories, this lot carries an estimate of HK$120,000-240,000, or about US$15,400-30,700. For more, view the catalogue here.

Lot 2288: F.P. Journe Chronomètre à Résonance Ruthenium 38 mm

The Chronomètre à Résonance is perhaps the archetypal creation of Francois-Paul Journe. It keeps time according to the phenomenon known as resonance: two oscillating bodies in close proximity influence each other’s vibrations and oscillate in sync. Being one of the brand’s signature watches, early Résonance watches are highly sought after, with some having sold for seven-figure U.S. dollar values.

This particular example is a Ruthenium limited edition introduced in 2001. It gets the name from the ruthenium plating on the dial and movement bridges that give them a restrained, dark grey finish.

It is also worth mentioning that the Ruthenium editions – the Resonance was one of six models given the ruthenium treatment – mark the last F.P. Journe models to feature movements with bridges and plates in brass, which was then replaced by 18k red gold.

Ninety-nine Ruthenium Resonance were made, but this is no ordinary example. This particular Résonance has a 38 mm platinum case, instead of the standard 40 mm. According to the accompanying certificate, this was a special order and possibly unique in being the only 38 mm Ruthenium Resonance made.

The 38 mm Resonance has its original packaging, accessories, and certificate nothing the “special order”. Unsurprisingly, this lot carries one of the highest estimates of this sale, HK$5.5-12 million, or about US$640,000-1.53 million. For more, view the catalogue here.

Lot 2289: F.P. Journe Tourbillon Souverain “China 2010” 

Introduced in 2003 as the successor to the Tourbillon Remontoir d’Egalite, the Tourbillon Nouveau (ref. TN) was the second generation of F.P. Journe’s trademark tourbillon. With an production run of 15 years, it was the longest-running model by the independent watchmaker.

Various dials were made during the lengthy production period, but the red dial made in 2010 as a limited edition for its Beijing boutique is one of the rarest, with only five made. Known as “China 2010,” this edition featured a distinctive red lacquered dial that took its cues from the flag of the People’s Republic of China. The flag’s five stars were cleverly incorporated in the power reserve indicator. 

According to Christie’s, this specific timepiece is only the second one to be offered for sale at an international auction. Notably, it is also the only known example to be accompanied by a platinum bracelet; the model was sold with a leather strap by default.

Though it shows minor wear on the case and bracelet, this watch remains in excellent condition and is accompanied by its original box and certificate of origin. It carries an estimate of HK$6.5-12 million, or about US$831,000-1.53 million.

For more, view the catalogue entry

Preview and auction details

All lots will be on show during the preview in Hong Kong. Both the preview exhibition and sale will happen at the Halls 3D to 3G of HKCEC.

Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
Halls 3D-3G
1 Harbour Road
Wanchai, Hong Kong

May 25, 10:30 am – 6:30 pm
May 26, 10:30 am – 12:00pm

May 26, 1:00 pm

All times and dates are local to Hong Kong (GMT+8).

For the catalogue, viewing appointments, and online bidding, visit

This was brought to you in collaboration with Christie’s.

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