This summer Audemars Piguet is unveiling two brand-new timepieces in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Le Byblos Palace in Saint-Tropez. This is the first time that Audemars Piguet has partnered with a hotel, tailoring its bold and audacious Royal Oak Offshore designs to the equally legendary French institution’s aesthetic codes in a Summer Edition that will surely catch the sunshine on the beach this season.

Byblos 50 years

Inaugurated on 27th May 1967, the 5-star hotel Le Byblos, and its equally mystical nightclub, Les Caves du Roy, rapidly became an institution on the French Riviera. Stars including Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Duke Ellington, Romy Schneider, Mick Jagger and Brigitte Bardot have all stayed here, appreciating the glorious weather away from prying eyes.

The history of the hotel reads like a novel. It was built by a Lebanese billionaire, Propser Gay-Para, who already owned two hotels in Beirut. Gay-Para wanted to create a bridge between the French Riviera and the Middle East and named it Byblos after the ancient Lebanese town of the same name. According to Greek mythology, Byblos was where Adonis and Aphrodite became lovers.

Mick Jagger
Jack Nicholson and Cher

No details were spared in the hotel’s creation by architects Christian Auvrignon, Philippe Monnin and Philippe Siccardon, who envisaged the hotel as a small Provence-style village with quaint houses in different shapes, sizes and colors. The hotel was designed around a central paved courtyard with a swimming pool and a century-old olive tree.

Only a month after opening, the outbreak of the Six-Day War impelled Gay-Para to return to Lebanon and give up his Saint-Tropez paradise. Le Byblos was then acquired by Sylvain Floirat and has been in his family ever since.

Today, the hotel is managed by the fourth generation of the family, Antoine Chevanne, who is planning to celebrate its illustrious history in style. The 50th anniversary of Le Byblos will include collaborations with a number of luxury brands to produce limited editions of exceptional items that are to be sold exclusively at the hotel over the summer.

Grace Jones

The Audemars Piguet connection

Audemars Piguet was the hotel’s chosen partner for a timepiece and the Swiss watchmaker is honored to be creating two celebratory timepieces in celebration of this important anniversary – a diamond-set Royal Oak Offshore for ladies; and a rose gold Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph for men.

Created in 1993, the Royal Oak Offshore collection was one of the very first oversized wristwatches to catch the consumer’s eye. Today the collection remains one of Audemars Piguet’s bestsellers thanks to its sporty and powerful design.

The design of this new Byblos Summer Edition incorporates the color codes of the Hotel Byblos and the design codes of Audemars Piguet. “The boldness of the Royal Oak Offshore, its contemporary design and young spirit are the perfect match for the Byblos, which is such a young-spirited institution. These two timepieces represent the strong and natural synergy existing between the Byblos and Audemars Piguet,” notes a spokesman for the brand.

A diamond-set Royal Oak Offshore for ladies.
A rose gold Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph for men.

The Byblos Royal Oak Offshore for women comes in a stainless steel case with a silver “Lady Tapisserie” dial that is framed with a bezel of 32 brilliant-cut diamonds, for a total of 1.02 carats. The timepiece features a luminescent coating on the rose-gold hands and is water-resistant to 50 meters thanks to its screw-locked crown and pushers.

The men’s version, the Byblos Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph, comes in an 18-karat rose gold case and features a “Mega Tapisserie” dial, pink gold hands and markers, and is water-resistant to 100 meters.

“Usually his and hers models are made from the same materials and only vary in terms of size. Here it is not the case. The women’s version is made of steel while the men’s version is made of pink gold, meaning that the female version is almost sportier than the men’s, were it not for the diamonds! The idea was to juxtapose precious materials with more sporty elements like the rubber strap. Both pieces had to be precious but fun and easy to wear in order to mirror the Byblos’ philosophy,” adds Audemars Piguet’s spokesperson.

A diamond-set Royal Oak Offshore for ladies.
A rose gold Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph for men.

The casebacks of both pieces are engraved with the hotel’s anniversary dates and its coat of arms depicting the abduction of Europa by Zeus. For those familiar with the Byblos hotel, this is the scene created out of mosaic at the entrance of the building.

Audemars Piguet and Byblos pride themselves on their passion for innovation and excellence. Constantly moving forward while remaining true to their origins, both companies are conscious of the importance of the past, present and future. The Royal Oak Offshore Summer Editions are a testimony to this shared spirit and will contribute to the magnificent celebrations when they are unveiled at the hotel this summer.

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