Monday, November 23, 2009

Octavia Garcia, the artistic genuis behind Audemars Piguet

The making of a legend.  Where did this guy come from?

Educated in Switzerland, where he attended a school specializing in industrial design, Octavio Garcia familiarized himself with the craft principles and discovered the watch industry. Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Industrial Design, his intuitiveness led him fiirst to Omega, and he designed the entire collection--including the Constellation, Speed Master, and Sea Master. Additionally, Garcia worked for Swatch and its subsidiaries. Such opportunities afforded Garcia with important positions at the world's finest watchmakers.
Octavia Garcia - Audemars Piguet - lead watch designer
The beginning of this artistic craftsmanship began with an architectural muse in the early urban industrial architecture of Chicago. Octavio became more interested in architecture and began his course in the arts. During his studies, Garcia met his wife, a citizen of Switzerland, and visited the country he now resides in.

Octavio Garcia, the design director of Audemars Piguet, is now a pillar in the luxury watch design industry. In a less than a year, Octavio Garcia has become one of two designers developing contemporary, neo-industrial concepts for Audemars Piguet, the only family-operated, watch-making manufacturer that prides itself on tradition. Of the company, Garcia states, "It is the only high-end company that experiments with new ideas." Involved with the design of the entire Piguet collection, Garcia focuses on the creation of the watch head, dial, and bracelet.. Upon taking over the creative mantle at Audemars Piguet, his first acts were to:
  • contemporize the brand’s classic collection, evinced by his updated Jules Audemars Equation of Time watch
  • unveil sleekly menacing, relentlessly modern watches
This first happened with the Juan Pablo Montoya Royal Oak Offshore watch that would come to define a large part of Audemars Piguet's contemporary brand equity as well as the prevailing creative substance of this era. The Royal Oak watch was named after a trio of warships christened Royal Oak, after the legendary Royal Oak (a hollowed out tree which offered King Charles II a safe hiding place from his pursuers) lent their distinctive name in 1972 to the luxury sports watch, Royal Oak. When examining the simple, yet refined stainless steel case, the face accented with dark blue, black, or silver, and a robber or Velcro fastening, the design elements incorporated by Garcia into this classically fashioned timepiece is indisputable. "It is a landmark. Essentially, we elevated the design. A soft re-style with a reflection of us with contemporary proportions. This was done to keep the soul of this landmark piece."

Royal Oak - Audemars Piguet - Octavia Garcia

Garcia’s Montoya was the first timepiece to take functional elements from F-1 cars and introduce them as aesthetic flourishes in his watch. While this has become de rigueur today, at the time, it was verging on Dadaist subversion. It was at Audemars Piguet — the manufacture famously associated with audacity — that Garcia flourished and distilled his singular brand of design magic. In 2006, he completely recreated the once-staid Millenary case into a palace of three-dimensional architecture. Together with his key collaborator Philippe Vaptzarof, he’s overseen some of the modern era’s most sought-after watches, including the Rubens Barrichello Offshore, the Maserati MC-12 inspired Millenary MC-12 Tourbillon Chronograph, the forged carbon fiber Alinghi Team, 2007’s drop dead gorgeous Millenary watch with deadbeat seconds, and much more.

Who do you think is the greatest living watch designer in the world?

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