Tuesday January 18th 2011
Geneva (Switzerland) It was at the heart of the Espace Hippomène, the Bauhaus-style former Tavaro factory converted into a cultural and events centre, that Audemars Piguet held its not-to-be-missed AP Night! Within this former industrial building, the numerous guests were immersed in the distinctive atmosphere created for the occasion. The raw concrete and steel materials and the pared-down contemporary design characteristic of the premises gave way to the serene atmosphere of the Vallée de Joux. The Cube centre-piece was clothed in the colours of the small village of Le Brassus which is the brand's historical home. As explained by Octavio, the Group's Chief Artistic Officer, "we wanted to bring to Geneva something of our beautiful region with its omnipresent natural surroundings imbued with peace and tranquillity: the green of our pastures, the woods of the large Risoux forest, and of course white, the symbol of our snowy winters ".
The Audemars Piguet soirée is all about generosity!
Comfortable seated at attractive oval tables featuring a pure and refined decorative style, guests were welcomed with a speech by Mrs Jasmine Audemars, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Audemars Piguet. CEO Philippe Merk was in turn eager to extend warm thanks to the brand's commercial partners for the excellent results achieved in 2010, for their commitment and for their loyalty. He also saluted the attending ambassadors and friends of the AP family, including Dona Bertarelli (Ladycat), Michael Schumacher, Jarno Trulli, Sébastien Buemi, Julien Clément, Richard Mille and Claude Nobs (Montreux Sounds).
After the traditional introductions, it was time for entertainment! Flown in specially from the United States, nine year-old American prodigy Emily Baer, an extraordinarily talented pianist and composer since the age of three, gave a concert worthy of the greatest artistes and featuring a blend of classical music and jazz improvisation. The performance of this authentic virtuoso was greeted with thunderous applause.
Upon returning to face the expectant audience, Philippe Merk called the name of a man who needs no introduction thanks to his staggering reputation and track record. Michael Schumacher, who has recently become a brand icon, came up on stage with his characteristic elegance to join the head of the Manufacture. The two men chatted for a while, with Michael Schumacher sharing a few stories, including his instant attraction to the Royal Oak Offshore Arnold's All-Stars Chronograph which brings us to the longstanding collaboration between Audemars Piguet and his After-School All-Stars foundation. Over a decade of fruitful cooperation and an exceptional friendship that have given rise to six exceptional timepieces and helped to raise 10 million dollars. And the list does not end there, since 2011 marks a new high point in this partnership with the release of a seventh timepiece that is probably the last creation to be jointly signed by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Audemars Piguet. The Royal Oak Offshore Arnold Schwarzenegger The Legacy Chronograph, presented at the SIHH 2011 (Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie), will serve to generate additional funds to help schoolchildren from underprivileged neighbourhoods.
To set the crowning touch to this exceptional collaboration, the Manufacture Audemars Piguet was eager to commit itself even more fully to the After-School All-Stars foundation. Jasmine Audemars and Philippe Merk accordingly handed over a one million-dollar cheque to the five pupils from Atlanta who benefit from the support of the association.
After these expressions of hope and friendship, music was once again back in the spotlight. To round off the 2011 AP Night on a high note, the legendary Kool and The Gang, a band that has earned numerous accolades throughout its career including two Grammy Awards and seven American Music Awards, took over the stage to offer a fantastic funky concert! The group remained true to its roots by reprising some of its greatest hits including Jungle Boogie , Get Down on it , Celebration and Fresh ! The highly charged atmosphere kept guests dancing into the early hours of the morning!
Founded by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1992, After-School All-Stars is a national provider of year-round, school-based, comprehensive after-school programs that equip children with the skills and experiences needed to become productive members of the 21st century workforce. Every day, children participate in free programs that include academic support, enrichment opportunities, and health/fitness activities. The organization's mission is to keep children safe and help them succeed in school and in life. 81,000 children from underprivileged families on 453 school sites in twelve U.S. regions benefit from ASAS programs every day. For more information, visit www.afterschoolallstars.org
Audemars Piguet is the oldest fine watchmaking manufacturer still in the hands of its founding families (Audemars and Piguet). Since 1875, the company has written some of the finest chapters in the history of haute horlogerie, including a number of world firsts. In the Vallée de Joux, at the heart of the Swiss Jura, numerous masterpieces are created in limited series embodying a remarkable degree of horological perfection, including daring sporty models, classic and traditional timepieces, splendid ladies' jewellery-watches, as well as one-of-a-kind creations. Website: www.audemarspiguet.com