Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Leo Messi Limited Edition
The Audemars Piguet manufacture was founded in 1875 in the Joux Valley in Switzerland by two keen watchmakers, Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet.
At the time their motivation was to bring every stage of watchmaking, from the initial design right down to the finished product, under a single roof. It was a bold challenge but their decision to marry ancestral know-how with the spirit of innovation turned out to be right. Since then, Audemars Piguet has become master in the art of watchmaking, combining a sense of tradition and creative perfection while retaining complete independence.
40 years after its birth, the Royal Oak reasserts itself as a timeless icon of sporting elegance. In parallel with this anniversary and the two platinum pieces specially created to mark the occasion, Audemars Piguet presents a 41 mm chronograph dedicated to the world’s best footballer, Leo Messi. It will be the only other Royal Oak special edition in 2012. Limited to 1000 pieces offered in three different versions, the Royal Oak Leo Messi stands apart both in the materials used and in its original and novel design. Some footballers are said to be able to win a match on their own. Others are said to have the capacity to help their teammates play better. Leo Messi is one of the very few to belong to both categories. At a mere 24 years old, this brilliant Argentine footballer has already left his mark on the history of football. Three times voted Ballon d’Or, and several times named best player, winner of five Spanish championships and three Champions Leagues, this magician of the pitch in the number 10 shirt has revolutionised football with his exceptional technique and exemplary sense of teamwork and fair play.
A shared philosophy of sporting elegance
In 1972, before Leo Messi was even born, Audemars Piguet brought out a revolutionary watch designed by Gérald Genta, named the Royal Oak. It was made in steel, powered by an ultra-thin self-winding movement… and sold at the price of gold. The first luxury sports watch was born. Its aesthetic codes (an octagonal bezel, a 39 mm diameter and a tapered steel bracelet) upset all the conventions of the time. Forty years have gone by, but the Royal Oak hasn’t skipped a beat and remains an icon of sporting elegance. Leo Messi discovered Audemars Piguet in 2005. To celebrate his first Liga title, the managers of his Spanish club presented him with a Royal Oak. It was love at first sight. And that was just the first chapter in the love story between this promising Argentine footballer and this unusually designed watch. Leo Messi then began to collect Royal Oaks and it wasn’t long before he slipped into the role of brand ambassador in 2010.
Leo Messi and Audemars Piguet
21,As well as being a living legend, the Argentine national team’s playmaker is noted for his great human qualities. Loyal:
he still wears the colours of the club he joined at the age of 14. Generous:
he created a foundation in aid of underprivileged children in 2007 to provide them with access to education and health. Altruistic:
he is an ambassador of Unicef. Faithful:
he has remained very close to his family who have unfailingly supported him throughout his career.
An exceptional sportsman, Leo Messi likes Audemars Piguet watches for their modernity, their design and their faultless technical quality as well as for the story they tell and the values they embody. As brand ambassador since 2010, he shares a certain vision of excellence and authenticity with the Swiss manufacture. For these reasons he decided to endorse one of the last watch brands still run by its founding family.
are three values shared by Leo Messi and Audemars Piguet. It was obvious that the collaboration between the world’s best player and the Brassus Manufacture was just a beginning…
In line with the brand’s philosophy (“To break the rules, you must first master them”), it was decided to break with the Royal Oak’s strong codes to launch this limited series of 1000 pieces: a slightly larger size, an alligator strap rather than a steel bracelet, a dial reinvented without the traditional “tapisserie” motif as well as the use of a material rarely seen in watchmaking – tantalum.
Royal Oak 41mm chronograph
The first limited edition
Presented as a limited series of only 1000 pieces (in steel/tantalum, pink gold/tantalum and platinum/tantalum), the Limited Edition Leo Messi Royal Oak is distinctive on every front. With a 41 mm diameter, it offers a generous and modern face that avoids being ostentatious. In addition, the limited series is graced with an alligator strap – and with an additional sportier rubber strap – to replace the traditional steel bracelet. The Leo Messi Royal Oak’s pure and elegant dial does not repeat the “tapisserie” motif that was the Royal Oak’s trademark. The dial is vertically brushed anthracite with hour markers in white gold for the steel version and pink gold for the pink gold version, while the platinum version sports a deep blue dial with white gold hour markers. For all versions, the three auxiliary chronograph counters and the small seconds counter are encircled by a finely brushed silvered ring.
Retaining the collection’s eight hexagonal screws in polished white gold, the bezel of the Limited Edition Leo Messi Royal Oak and the fastening links of the strap are in tantalum, giving off subtle glints of blue and grey. The uniqueness of these sublime colour effects governed the choice of tantalum, a material with very strong resistance to corrosion and high density – about twice as heavy as steel – that is particularly difficult to machine and polish.
The Leo Messi Royal Oak is offered in a limited series of 1000 pieces: 500 in steel/tantalum, 400 in pink gold/tantalum and 100 in platinum/tantalum. Each watch is delivered in an original case in the shape of a lacquered shoe box decorated on the inside with the player’s dedication.
This Royal Oak chronograph houses the self-winding mechanical calibre 2385 which offers hours, minutes, small seconds, date and chronograph functions. Made up of 304 components, the movement has a 40-hour power reserve and beats at a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour (3 Hz). It is fitted with a single-block 18 ct gold oscillating weight.
“On the football pitch I have always given equal importance to rigour and beauty of movement, precision and boldness, work and fluency. In football as in watchmaking, talent and elegance mean nothing without rigour and precision.
Why did I fall in love with Royal Oak?
A Royal Oak is a sports watch and a luxury watch in one. I was lucky enough to receive my first Royal Oak in 2005. I immediately fell in love with this watch and its powerful and distinctive design. As time went by, I began to collect them. And I gradually came to understand the values of Audemars Piguet: respect for traditions, the uncompromising quest for quality, the sense of innovation and the pedigree design of their watches.
I also discovered that this watchmaking manufacture was one of the few independent firms in its field that is still owned by the founding families, which was something I really liked about them. Nowadays the world is so dominated by big corporations that staying independent has become a mark of courage.
And elegance means nothing without courage. It’s pretty much the same on a football pitch. You can dribble past all your opponents and carry off the finest technical feats; but if your team ends up losing the match, it’s just a meaningless waste of energy. I’m proud to have played a part in the creation of the Royal Oak Leo Messi, and proud that it bears my name.”