In the past two years, Audemars Piguet has made it a point to create stunning diamond-encrusted high jewellery watches that show off its prowess as a design house. It also does so, presumably, to court the female customers whose husbands are fervent fans of its more technical offerings—diamonds are, after all, allegedly a girl’s best friend.
In line with the brand’s daring DNA, the designs have gotten increasingly audacious with every passing year. The Diamond Punk and Diamond Fury both garnered gasps upon their debut in 2015 and 2016, respectively, and we are sure this year’s third and final offering will do the same—the spiky, prickly cuff watch that the brand calls the Diamond Outrage most definitely lives up to its name.
At first glance, the Diamond Outrage’s glittering spires inspire shock—then awe. The stalactites on the watch appear to explode out in sharp points from the wearer’s wrist, each glistening spike a mesmerising ode to bejewelled architecture. The white gold lattice frame is virtually buried under a mountain of brilliant snow-set diamonds, save for the three baguette-set spears whose clear glitter contrasts beautifully against their neighbours. The invisibility of the setting alone is a testament to the skill of the diamond setter, who had to set some 65.91 carats worth of diamonds on this one-of‑a-kind treasure (well, two-of-a-kind, perhaps, since there is another version in existence that is encrusted with blue sapphires).
“Who would dare wear this watch?” one may ask. Well, the answer has to be the one woman who inspires a similar sense of shock and awe—tennis champion Serena Williams. Williams has regularly made the news for her achievements on the court throughout her 22‑year career, topping the tennis ranking charts a total of eight times, and winning a record 39 Grand Slam titles. But nobody could have been prepared for her latest headline-making act—winning the Australian Open while eight weeks pregnant. Now that is one powerful woman.
We speak to Williams about her drive, her success and her relationship with Audemars Piguet.
You have achieved so much and broken so many barriers in the world of sports. What drives you and keeps you going? And do you have anything to say to your detractors?
Serena Williams: I’ve always wanted to be an athlete. What drives me daily is my love for what I do. I don’t feel that I need to be inspired by anything else: I wake up and I want to be an athlete, the greatest athlete. That’s more than enough. But if we talk about life in general, there are people whom I look up to and who inspire me in different ways: Nelson Mandela for instance. He achieved so much; he was so positive and forgiving. I feel like I can learn from that and I’m inspired by people who I can learn from. In this context, forgiving is a sign of strength, he was a very strong person to forgive so much. I feel that if he can do it at such a level, I can do it at my own level. If I manage that then I can love more, be more generous, which is what I want to do in the end.
How have you been able to stay at the top of your form throughout your long career?
Through exercising, of course. And I intend to keep exercising for as long as possible while pregnant. I want the baby to be healthy, and for that you need a healthy life. When I come back to tennis, it will also be better if I keep as fit as possible all the way through the pregnancy rather than having to lose more weight afterwards in order to get fit again. Eating healthily is a must, but being healthy is actually a lifestyle.
How did it feel to win your record-breaking 23rd Grand Slam? And does the feeling ever get old, or is victory always sweet?
It was a little surreal at the time because of everything that I was going through. It was among the most special ones I’ve won, that’s for sure! Playing against my sister, breaking the record against Venus and have her do so well as well, it was just like old times. We were reminiscing and it was really amazing.
You have worn quite a few Audemars Piguet watches on the court. Do you have any fond on‑court memories related to wearing these watches?
I wear all my Audemars Piguet watches on the court, apart from the Diamond Outrage which is too precious... or too dangerous! This watch is so powerful. On the court, I am really focused on my game and the watch I wear is just part of me.
You are the face of Audemars Piguet’s new Diamond Outrage high jewellery watch campaign. How did the campaign shoot with Tom Munro go?
It was such a great shoot! I hadn’t really done anything like that before. It was very modern which makes sense, as the Diamond Outrage is so contemporary. It all worked perfectly well together. I feel that Tom Munro was able to capture my fun side…. which is really me! When I’m on the court, you only see my serious side because I take my job seriously, so this time it was very cool to be able to showcase my normal “off the court” fun side. Tom was also fun and serious at the same time, determined to get the right shot. He had a specific idea of where he wanted to go and he wasn’t leaving until he had the right shot in the box, I enjoyed that! I like working with people who take pride in their work and he definitely does. It was perfect.