Have you heard about the influential women making waves in the watch industry? Among them is Ilaria Resta, the current CEO of Audemars Piguet. 

Resta took the reins as the brand’s CEO on January 1st, 2024. Let’s delve deeper into herstoryand explore how she rose to lead one of the leading luxury watch brands in the world.

Get to Know Ilaria Resta, Audemars Piguet’s Current CEO

Before assuming the CEO role at Audemars Piguet, Ilaria Resta garnered extensive experience in the business realm. A Swiss-Italian national, she most recently held the position of president of global perfumery & ingredients at Firmenich. 

Firmenich is the world’s largest privately owned fragrance and taste company. Preceding this, she accumulated over two decades of experience at Procter & Gamble, specializing in FMCG.

Her appointment was announced in mid-2023. She officially commenced her position in January 2024, succeeding François-Henry Bennahmias as the CEO of Audemars Piguet.

Ilaria Resta’s Audemars Piguet CEO Role: What Led to It?

Resta’s appointment as the new CEO is viewed as a strategic move driven by a compelling rationale.

It appears that Audemars Piguet aims to increase sales of women’s watches in the foreseeable future, with Resta’s selection marking the inaugural step in this strategic trajectory. 

Former CEO François-Henry Bennahmias outlined this direction in an interview with Revolution.

Bennahmias explained that Audemars Piguet’s imminent focus centers on the female demographic. They aspire to elevate women’s watches to the status of the iconic Hermès Birkin bag.

Through Resta’s leadership, they envision maintaining revenue from women’s watches, with the ultimate ambition of achieving gender parity in the desirability of their brand. 

Currently, only Rolex and Cartier successfully stand as premier luxury watch brands that men and women desire equally. Thus, the motive behind Resta’s appointment becomes clear, alongside Audemars Piguet’s trajectory for the future.

audemars piguet CEO Ilaria Resta

The Evolution of Audemars Piguet’s Women Watches

Audemars Piguet has been renowned for its iconic Royal Oak collection for years. In 1976, the company made a significant move by enlisting a female designer to craft a women’s version of the Royal Oak. 

Jacqueline Dimier was selected for the task, and her design resulted in a women’s Royal Oak timepiece that was as groundbreaking and revolutionary as the original. 

This model marked the inaugural milestone for Audemars Piguet in developing a diverse and vibrant line of women’s watches characterized by remarkable creative collaborations.

1. The Debut of Royal Oak for Women in 1976

The women’s edition of the Royal Oak, introduced in 1976, arrived four years after its male counterpart. 

This unveiling occurred amidst a tumultuous period in the watchmaking industry, characterized by the rise of quartz technology and global instability stemming from events like the oil crisis, a lingering aftermath of World War II.

In the face of this upheaval, only a handful of steadfast manufacturers remained committed to traditional mechanical watchmaking, with Audemars Piguet among them. 

Against this backdrop, they decided to launch the women’s iteration of the Royal Oak. During the 1970s, women’s timepieces predominantly featured noble materials such as gold or platinum. 

Thus, introducing the first Royal Oak for women crafted in steel represented a significant departure from conventional design norms. Additionally, including a 21-carat gold oscillating weight provided an unexpected and distinctive touch.

2. Continued success until the 2010s

The success of the Royal Oak for women exceeded all expectations, leading to workshops grappling with meeting the overwhelming demand.

Since then, the brand has remained dedicated to highlighting women, crafting timepieces that encapsulate the spirit of each era. For example, in 2013, they introduced a Haute Joaillerie collection.

They also created the Millenary collection, dedicated to women from 2015 to 2020, which showcased an elliptical case with an intricately designed dial, offering a glimpse of the escapement. 

This sophisticated design acknowledges the often-overlooked fact that many women also appreciate intricate mechanisms.

3. Collaboration with Carolina Bucci in 2016

In 2016, Audemars Piguet embarked on a significant collaboration with external designer Carolina Bucci to reimagine the women’s Royal Oak in honor of its 40th anniversary. 

This partnership gave rise to the Royal Oak Frosted Gold, characterized by its dazzling hammered gold case and bracelet and a mesmerizing diamond dust effect.

This timepiece stands as one of Audemars Piguet’s most iconic offerings for women, boasting remarkable success in the market. 

However, despite its acclaim, the brand’s recognition and appeal among women still need to catch up compared to Cartier, Rolex, and even Patek Philippe.

audemars piguet CEO Ilaria Resta

In response, Audemars Piguet has expressed its intent to shift focus towards women’s watches in the future, making the appointment of Ilaria Resta a strategic move of considerable importance.

Let’s anticipate the future of the women’s watch industry with Audemars Piguet and Resta at the helm. In the meantime, explore the already-released Audemars Piguet women’s watches available at Luxehouze.

Luxehouze offers an extensive collection of luxury watches from renowned brands, each guaranteed 100% authentic and offered at the best prices. Discover the entire collection at Luxehouze Boutiques in Jakarta, Surabaya, or Singapore!