Audemars Piguet, the Swiss Haute Horlogerie manufacturer based in Le Brassus, Switzerland, announced today plans to invest $22 million and create 105 new jobs in Raleigh.
"It’s great to see another prestigious, international company choose North Carolina for its top-flight workforce, number one business environment and extraordinary quality of life," said Governor Roy Cooper.
Audemars Piguet employs almost 3,000 people, operates 97 points of sales globally and keeps growing internationally while focusing on qualitative development, employee wellbeing and sustainability, partly thanks to the work of the Audemars Piguet Foundation since 1992. Raleigh Iron Works will be the new home of their North American Service Center.
“When our employees visited Raleigh and the Triangle area, they said it felt like home. Quality of life, schools, healthcare, culture, and safe communities were the major considerations for our teams. We are excited to move to the dynamic City of Raleigh and look forward to settling into the area,” said Francois-Henry Bennahmias, Chief Executive Officer of Audemars Piguet. “This represents an important step in the development of our American Service Center, which is key to our future business.”
The 63,000-square-foot real estate deal, the largest new-to-market office lease of the year so far in Raleigh, is part of a growing cohort of luxury brands establishing a presence in the city. This announcement follows investments from apparel, luxury, and lifestyle brands like Peter Millar, Johnnie O, Raleigh Denim Workshop, and the Bal Harbour pop-up experience.
“This announcement shows the versatility of the business ecosystem in Raleigh,” said Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin. “Audemars Piguet is joining a dynamic community with diverse industry, first-class talent, and a wonderful quality of life. We are excited to welcome this global luxury watch brand to Raleigh.”
The company joins the growing list of businesses at Raleigh Iron Works, the 19-acre mixed-use adaptive reuse development by Grubb Ventures and Jamestown. With a combination of adaptive reuse and new construction, the property retains its historic character while embracing the dynamic energy of a modern work-life attitude. Current and future tenants include new restaurants from Chef Scott Crawford, Robert Thompson, Ford Fry, Eastcut Sandwiches, Andia’s Ice Cream Ponysaurus Brewing Co., and Wasserman and FM Systems offices. The new mixed-use development, located along Atlantic Avenue at the crossroads of Raleigh’s Five Points, Person Street and Mordecai neighborhoods, also includes more than 200 apartments.
“Audemars Piguet’s expansion to Raleigh signals a recognition of the city’s growing innovation economy and global appeal,” said Michael Phillips, President of Jamestown. “Their presence at Raleigh Iron Works will add a new dimension to the campus and be a further catalyst for the city’s ecosystem of creative class companies.”
The watch service center is in a City of Raleigh priority area for economic development and a Wake County targeted growth area. Targeted growth areas were identified to promote economic mobility in strategic communities that have not historically benefited from the region’s economic growth.
“We’re excited that a company of this size and stature will create new jobs in a part of the county that is ripe for investment,” said Chair Shinica Thomas of the Wake County Board of Commissioners. “Audemars Piguet saw the potential this area offers and knew it was the right place to grow their business while providing their employees with access to incredible schools, excellent healthcare and a quality of life that is second to none.”
This announcement was made possible through the collaboration of a key group of partners including Wake County Economic Development, Raleigh Economic Development, the City of Raleigh, Wake County Board of Commissioners, Capital Area Workforce Development Board, North Carolina State University, Wake Technical Community College and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.