By Stephanie Wilson
Audemars Piguet showed appreciation for its top clients by hosting a dream day on the links with pro-golfers Vijay Singh and Thomas Levet.
Vijay is known for his drive to perfection, a quality he shares with AP, so he proudly sports a self-winding Royal Oak Dual Time in pink gold.
Collecting is a hobby that transcends both time and demographics. Whether accumulating comic books or coins, the art of collecting is a pastime that can be rewarding and maddening at the same time, as enthusiasts constantly strive to obtain the unobtainable. The same can be said for the sport of golf; as the saying by Arnold Palmer goes “Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated.” There is no perfect game. So when Audemar’s Piguet, the world’s oldest manufacturer of haute horology, brought lovers of both pastimes together for one event, the result was a day that will go down in the memories of all involved as nearly perfect.
A typical AP watch costs just as much as a fine automobile, so those who can be called “collectors” are an elite few that deserve to be catered to. They have earned the right. And cater AP does. Each year, the company invites a handful of its best clients (as well as some individuals they hope to turn into clients) to a friendly golf tournament where the amateurs get to hit the links alongside AP Brand Ambassadors.
AP’s Ambassadors are a celebrated group of individuals from a variety of industries-golf, Formula 1 motor racing, cricket, musical artists, and actors and actresses-who represent the same characteristics as AP: elegance, generosity, and strength. The list includes the likes of golfers Nick Faldo, Miguel Angel Jiménez, and Nora Angehrn; Formula 1 racer Rubens Barrichello; and actress Michelle Yeoh.
The most impressive of these ambassadors is quite possibly Vijay Singh, who holds rank as one of the world’s best golfers. Vijay is known for his drive to perfection, a quality he shares with AP, so he proudly sports a self-winding Royal Oak Dual Time in pink gold. For this special AP golf tournament, Vijay was joined by pro-golfer and AP Ambassador Thomas Levet, who has a few championships under his belt as well. The possibility of joining such highly respected pro-golfers on the course is an opportunity of a lifetime, and clients responded to the invite from around the country. Many of the attendees utilized the services of NetJets, who was happy to partner on the event, inviting some of their best customers to participate as well.
The event took place at TPC Sawgrass, one of the country’s most celebrated golf courses. On Monday, April 21, Vijay and Thomas greeted the intimate group of collectors and clients at the clubhouse at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. The group was a colorful assemblage of characters that ran the gamut from young retired software titans from Georgia to even younger retirees living on the greens outside of Orlando.
The event was hosted by the colorful Audemars president, Francois Bennahmias. The boisterous dinner began with a video on the company’s heritage followed by a welcome speech by Francois, who made guests state their handicaps as he announced the teams for the next day’s tourney. Some lies were told, some laughs were had, but the evening ended early in preparation for the day-break tee time.
The following morning, the watches came off as collectors picked up the clubs (the delicate movements could be disturbed by the whacking of golf balls) and gathered at the TPC Tour Academy for a clinic hosted by Vijay and Thomas. Vijay continually stressed the importance of private lessons, and the duo wowed everyone in attendance with the long drives and perfect form-the result of years of practice and discipline that have allowed them to raise to the top of what is commonly referred to as the world’s most frustrating sport.
The two teams of eight-white and green-were divided into groups of four by AP’s representatives, and the tournament began. Due to the upcoming PGA Tournament on The Players Stadium Course, this round was relegated to Dye’s Valley, a par 72 course that hosted Senior PLAYERS Championships in the past. The tournament was played in a scramble format, where each player hit from the ball closest to the hole. To keep things fair, Vijay and Thomas each spent four holes with each group. The stakes were high: while it hadn’t been revealed exactly what the prize for the winning team would be, given AP’s stellar products and dedication to the utmost quality, everyone was gunning for the trophy.
The pros spent the day imparting their wisdom on the collectors, offering tips and suggestions while also providing ample entertainment-Vijay through his spectacular drives and Thomas through some impressive antics that involved balancing three clubs and a ball on top of a driver. (“I’ve had a lot of free time on the course during my life,” he shared while performing the feat.)
At the end of the day, all four groups came in under par, but it was the green team that took the victory. (Not surprisingly, Francois was part of this group.) Winners were awarded a prized Audemars Piguet wall clock, but the other group did not go home empty handed: they were given a choice between an elegant AP pen or a golf bag emblazoned with the AP logo. The general consensus amongst those gentlemen lucky enough to garner an invite to this exclusive and memorable tournament was that this was an once-in-a-lifetime event, put on by a spectacular company. If hitting the links with the world’s top golfers is of interest, start collecting AP watches now….perhaps you will be lucky enough to be invited to next year’s tourney.