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Octavio Garcia: timepiece designer: as utilitarian as they may seem, watches have evolved into fashionable accoutrements--completely necessary for time and accessory management. Integrating function, form, and design, the watchmakers at Audemars Piguet maintain ingenuity and advanced traditions--and designer Octavio Garcia influences a refined custom with post-modern chic.

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, specifically the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore series. 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."

Audemars Piguet, a world-renowned watchmaker, has been fashioning watches in the Vallee de Joux of Switzerland since 1875, when Jules Audemars and Edward-August Piguet partnered for their entrepreneurial endeavor. Officially registering and founding the company in 1882, the partners, using their expertise in horology, generated sophisticated timepieces in small quantities that demonstrated the high-quality, complex, ultra-precision of the watches. Between the years 1894 and 1899, only 1,208 were produced. Today, with increased craftsmanship and 120 skilled watchmakers, Audemars Piguet creates fewer than 20,000 watches a year. Embodying the human ethic of determination, Octavio Garcia, a Mexican-American, simply entered a tradition rooted in a global phenomenon--time keeping--at a prestigious European company by answering an advertisement.

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 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.

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 calls home today.

Focusing and channeling creative and artistic energies presented Garcia with an opportunity to use his advanced drawing techniques to create wearable industrial masterpieces. Octavio Garcia capitalized on his abilities to participate in a market as prestigious as the one dominated by Audemars Piguet. As a son of immigrant parents from Guerrero, Mexico, this achievement garners great attention and symbolizes the growing Latino presence in the burgeoning diversified global economy.

Photo for Latino Leaders by Raul Ferraez

Jorge

Ferraez,

Zurich, Switzerland
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Title Annotation:Faces
Author:Ferraez, Jorge; Sokacich, Danette
Publication:Latino Leaders
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2004
Words:505
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