When I say the new AP X 1017 Alyx 9SM shows that Audemars Piguet has “jumped the shark,” I’m using a phrase born when Happy Days‘ Fonzi jumped a shark on waterskis. It refers to a most excellent person, place or thing that’s begun its descent into mediocrity.
Don’t get me wrong: Audemars Piguet’s watchmakers make a damn fine indeed world-class timepiece. Quality is not an issue. In terms of design, yup, AP has lost the plot.
The ridiculous, brand-defiling Audemars Piguet Marvel watches weren’t the end, but, as Winston Churchill might have said, they were the beginning of the end.
Or maybe it was the bland-as-toast Code 11.59 developed at enormous expense under previous AP CEO François-Henry Bennahmias. An immediate and ongoing flop.
Audemars Piguet has been flailing around for years, trying to create something to replace or at least augment their One Watch to Rule Them All (Gerald Genta’s Royal Oak). A watch with almost as many variations as Nike sneakers.
The AP X 1017 Alyx 9SM is the Swiss watchmaker’s latest foray into a “Once more into the breach dear friends” Royal Oak. Make that five times more; the number of 1017 Alyx 9SM models available for your hallucinogenic dining and dancing pleasure.
The new watches’ alphanumeric designation refers to “utilitarian streetwear” impresario Matthew Williams’ gig. According to the street-wise fashion mavens at HoDinkee, Mr. Williams has a decent job and a definite aesthetic.
Givenchy as its creative director across both women’s and menswear, producing a mix of utility-goth, streetwear-meets-high fashion: structured but distressed aesthetic. We’re talking multi-layered but always sharp tailoring plus unusual accessories with their smooth metal details. It’s half grunge half streetwear and lots of disruption.
Yeah, not seeing it. While I’m 50 percent down with the brutal gold AF model at the top of this post – if only because I want my wrist cut-off when I visit Malaysia – the chronograph makes me laugh. Check out the entirely useless, phallic sub-dials.
Surprisingly, or not given the weight, the plain Jane AP X 1017 Alyx 9SM is 37mm timepiece. Rolex makes their manly men among men doing manly things while showing off gold horological diving weights in 40mm. AP FTW?
Not to worry. The Chrono is 41mm! There’s an all-steel and a gold-and-steel variation.
The AP X 1017 Alyx 9SM is yours for $73,500, $90,400, $111,500 and/or $111,500. In all this excitement, I forgot which one costs what, but I’m sure you can figure it out.
What I can’t figure out: why Audemars Piguet doesn’t stop chasing volume by sending in the clones. Why they don’t find a latter day Gerald Genta and take a proper shot at creating the next iconic watch. This ain’t it.