It’s a well-documented fact that the majority of the big Swiss made replica watches marques don’t really like their timepieces being messed with once they’ve been bought.
Get the thing seen to by an unverified watchmaker rather than going through the in-house servicing department and you’ll lose your warranty at best, find yourself smote by the horological gods at worst. Have your 1:1 fake watches customised by an external party, on the other hand, and you can expect full excommunication from the brand in question and, perhaps, Switzerland itself (perhaps).
The truth is, however, that high-level AAA replica watches customisation is becoming increasingly commonplace among wealthy collectors and connoisseurs looking to make an entirely unique on-wrist impact.
Drake, for instance, has more than once been spotted sporting an “invaluable” baguette emerald-encrusted Patek Philippe Nautilus, which was designed for him by his friend Virgil Abloh, while Abloh himself is known to be in possession of an all-black ref 5726, with both pieces rumoured to have been created by custom jeweller MAD Paris.
Now, the customisation train seems to be turning in a somewhat less clandestine direction, specifically in the shape of a new collaboration between MAD and storied London department store Browns Fashion.
For the first time, the two institutions have teamed up to produce a small capsule collection of customised top replica Audemars Piguet Royal Oak watches – created in collaboration with two of the most celebrated contemporary menswear designers working today, Matthew Williams of 1017 Alyx 9SM and Givenchy and Charaf Tajer of Casablanca – and the whole thing couldn’t look more straight-A legit if it tried.
Consisting of four timepieces limited to five units each, the original perfect copy watches were sourced by MAD from trusted preowned dealers and each has been given a one-of-a-kind makeover at the hands of the designer in question.
In the case of Williams, for instance, the American creative – who is known for his pared-back yet edgy collections at both Givenchy and Alyx – has taken the industrial overtones of Gérald Genta’s original octagonal creation as his aesthetic cue.
Indeed, rather than adding any new elements to his allotted assortment of ten high quality super clone watches, Williams chose instead to strip them back entirely, removing all extraneous design details and finishing each with an ultra-minimal brushed effect. Both the 41mm rose-gold option and the 39mm yellow-gold version come in at £125,000 apiece and they’re available to buy from Browns as of today.
“Creating the custom 1017 Alyx 9SM Mad Paris Audemars Piguet fake watches for sale was really all about creating a watch I would like to wear,” explains Williams, “translating the world of Alyx in a custom timepiece with the brushed metal, no time identifier and, of course, the signature Alyx buckle reworked as a clasp.”
Tajer, who is well known for his brilliant silk shirts and worker suits, with a Miami-meets-Marrakech aesthetic all their own, took a more vibrant approach. The designer worked with MAD to utilise brightly coloured diamond-like coatings (a first for the replica watches wholesale online industry) to create a pair of bold, summery timepieces, which are every bit Casablanca confections. Both the 36mm blue, yellow and red option and the 36mm multicoloured pastel piece come in at £100,000. The 2021 fake watches store will be available from November onwards.
“Working with MAD has been a real pleasure. Creating a bespoke timepiece has been a wish of mine,” explains Tajer. “This replica watches with Swiss movements represents to me an elegant but playful luxury piece, that combines my love of the Memphis art movement and my love of colour. I always want people to enjoy our pieces and I feel it is a continuation of the positivity in Casablanca.”
This new project has been spearheaded from the outset by Browns, which has undergone a major image overhaul in recent years. The boutique, which was originally opened in 1970, unveiled a new Mayfair premises on Brook Street back in April and a slick new buying department has done much to both elevate and focus its offering in an increasingly saturated market.
The MAD partnership is a key step in the plan, allowing Browns to enter the infamously ring-fenced luxury US fake watches space in a trough entirely unique to them – and it’s a project for which buyer Thom Scherdel, who oversaw proceedings from start to finish, has high hopes in the future.
“The fine best quality imitation watches space is notoriously very classical and we wanted to take a look at it through a fresh pair of eyes. Each designer has their own aesthetic and to see where we have ended up with each model is testament to the scope of the creativity that can be accomplished,” says Scherdel. “The exciting part was not knowing where we would eventually end up. We achieved a look and feel that is totally pioneering in the industry and developed brand-new techniques in terms of the execution. It’s a special project.”