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Audemars Piguet Launches Collab with Travis Scott in Latest Culture Play

A limited-edition Royal Oak watch and co-branded merch line are set to be revealed Friday.
Audemars Piguet
Audemars Piguet is set to renew its longstanding ties to American pop culture with the release of a watch collaboration with hip-hop star Travis Scott and his Cactus Jack label. (Audemars Piguet)

Swiss luxury watch brand Audemars Piguet is set to renew its longstanding ties to American pop culture with the release of a watch collaboration with hip-hop star Travis Scott and his label Cactus Jack Records.

In partnership with Scott, Audemars Piguet will release a limited-edition version of its Royal Oak watch Thursday in a new ceramic, as well as putting out a capsule collection of co-branded merchandise from the Swiss watchmaking house and Cactus Jack.

The new watch will be formally unveiled this evening and will feature a number of motifs from Scott’s Cactus Jack label, including a moon phase decorated with a luminous version of the hip brand’s logo — a smiley face with its mouth sewn shut.

“Travis could raise an army,” said Audemars Piguet’s chief executive François-Henri Bennahmias in an exclusive interview with The Business of Fashion. “He’s got such a power. People follow him in a major way.”

Scott, 32, is one of the most successful hip-hop artists of his generation. His fourth studio album Utopia, released in July, had more than 650 million global streams in its opening week, making it the most commercially successful hip-hop album of the year.

The collaboration is likely to be remembered not just for a wristwatch co-designed by Scott, but for the collection of hoodies, T-shirts, jackets, pyjamas, shorts and caps sold through Scott’s own e-commerce platform.

“People will go nuts when they know that AP and Travis have made merch together,” said Bennahmias. “It breaks pretty much every code. Is it going to be successful? We could have multiplied the quantity by at least 10 times and still been successful.”

Audemars Piguet, Bennahmias said, would make “zero” profit from the clothes and accessories, which instead will fund charities including the Cactus Jack Foundation, which grants scholarships to disadvantaged young people.

The collaboration will also be remembered as François-Henri Bennahmias’s swan-song before he retires from the role of Audemars Piguet’s chief executive at the end of this year, a post he took up in 2012 having joined the company almost 30 years ago.

Bennahmias is recognised as one of the watch industry’s most disruptive and influential figures, transforming the family-owned company from a dusty high-end watchmaker into one of the most recognised and in-demand names in luxury.

It was Bennahmias who, while running the company’s US operations, brought it together with Muhammad Ali and Arnold Schwarzenegger for the Time To Give auction in the year 2000, and then forged an unlikely alliance to street culture with the Royal Oak Offshore Jay-Z 10th Anniversary in 2005, a watch collab widely considered by industry observers to be a tipping point for the typically conservative Swiss watch industry.

AP has since continued to align itself with popular culture, nurturing high-profile relationships with stars of film, music, sports and the arts, including LeBron James, Kevin Hart and Ed Sheeran, powering rapid sales growth for its watches which have an average price of 42,000 Swiss francs ($47,970).

Bennahmias said he expects Audemars Piguet’s 2023 revenues to grow by around 200,000 Swiss francs to top 2.3 billion Swiss francs ($2.6 billion).

The partnership with Scott might have been announced sooner. In June this year, a Texas grand jury declined criminal charges brought against Scott after 10 people, including a nine-year-old girl, were killed in a crush at a festival he founded in 2021. Scott was widely criticised for his response to the Astroworld Festival disaster. Bennahmias declined to comment on the incident, but said that Audemars Piguet had waited until the jury’s decision before activating the collaboration, having first met Scott in 2020 when he was a client.

Further Reading

The brand known for $50,000 Royal Oak watches transformed itself into a megabrand with more than $2.2 billion in annual sales by taking control of its distribution and forging culturally relevant partnerships. Outgoing CEO François-Henry Bennahmias breaks down the strategy.




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