A luxury watchmaking brand that has made a name for itself through innovation and a continuing drive to excel and inspire, you only have to look at the history of Audemars Piguet to understand its long-term commitment to releasing increasingly complex but timelessly elegant timepieces.
A business which remains very much in the family, the Audemars Piguet brand started life in 1875 and has consistently pushed boundaries and broken the rules of watchmaking with its complex mechanisms and streamlined designs. To understand the history of Audemars Piguet is to recognise its prominence in the market today – with the brand story going some way to explaining why an Audemars Piguet watch is such a coveted status piece among luxury buyers and investors in the 21st century.
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at Audemars Piguet and how two Swiss watchmakers came to build a luxury empire.
Who are Audemars Piguet?
Audemars Piguet is the oldest company in the luxury sector that is still managed and run by direct descendants of its founding partners, meaning that it has remained a family affair throughout its rollercoaster history of wins and challenges. Despite being hit hard during the Great Depression, Audemars Piguet has become known for complicating and pushing the boundaries of standard watchmaking.
Where did Audemars Piguet begin?
Audemars Piguet was founded by Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet in the Vallée de Joux in 1875, though the Audemars Piguet brand was not really born until 1881. Ever since its first watch was released, the brand has built a reputation which unites tradition with evolutionary and innovative design traits – all of which have allowed it to make a name for itself in the luxury market and remain one of the most coveted brands in the industry.
Who is Audemars and who is Piguet?
It’s no secret that the Audemars Piguet brand name comes from the company’s two founders – who knew each other first as children and then reconnected later in life to unite their passions and skills for the benefit of a brand-new luxury brand.
Within this brand, the two had very specific roles, with Audemars creating complex watch movements and Piguet specialising in the regulation of these movements and ensuring their accuracy. The fact that together they could not only break the boundaries of traditional watchmaking, but ensure optimum accuracy and high-level analysis, meant that from the off Audemars Piguet was a brand with the foundations for success – something only further enhanced by Piguet’s passion and affinity for business, sales, and marketing.
How has Audemars Piguet changed over the years?
Since it transitioned from an idea to a real business and luxury brand, Audemars Piguet has operated both as a standalone brand and within a number of collaborations and partnerships. Over time, the brand has developed by creating consistently more complex models and mechanisms, and by engaging in collaborations with the likes of Bulgari, Tiffany & Co, and Cartier to remain relevant.
Despite the consistent strive for mechanical excellence and ever-changing yet impressive features, as explored below as we look at some of the standout and most famous models and releases to come from the Audemars Piguet workshop, the brand has held onto its link to timeless design and stylish, modern aesthetic for the everyday wearer and buyer.
What types of products does Audemars Piguet produce?
Knowing and recognising the skills of its two founding members, it will come as no surprise to learn that the brand produces leading timepieces, with a detailed look at its history revealing how the brand transitioned from pocket watches to wristwatches, overcoming challenges and increasing demands to make watches and personal timepieces more streamlined, more sophisticated, and evermore complex.
What are Audemars Piguet’s most famous watches?
The first of our famous watches from Audemars Piguet was born in 1970 and is termed the Royal Oak. This luxury sports watch was made when the MD of AP requested a new, waterproof, innovative steel sports watch. Inspired by a vintage diving helmet the Royal Oak has become the standard upon which other watches are compared with various releases including a 50th-anniversary edition designed to celebrate 50 years of the Royal Oak. However, it was not the first notable watch to come from Audemars Piguet.
We cannot downplay the relevance of Audemars Piguet’s 1955 release which utilised a year indicator which could recognise a leap year. This made for an even better user experience and once again set the brand apart from its competitors (for reference, it would take competitor brand Patek Philippe a further twenty years to include a leap year indicator on a perpetual timepieces calendar).
What makes Audemars Piguet so unique in the designer watch market?
The main thing that makes Audemars Piguet stand out on the market, and the thing that differentiates this family-owned brand from other luxury watchmakers, is the commitment from day one to creating complex and rare pieces which defied the rules of timepiece design.
As evidenced by every collaboration and new release, this is a brand that strives to lead the market as a status symbol which combines optimum style and functional use. Not only that but its willingness to explore different collaborations opens the Audemars Piguet brand to greater audiences and to an increased market presence – stemming from the smart business mind of its original founding partner, Edward Auguste Piguet.
Which celebrities wear Audemars Piguet?
Some of the biggest names seen sporting Audemars Piguet watches include:
- Serena Williams
- LeBron James
- John Mayer
- Justin Bieber
Are Audemars Piguet watches a good investment?
The exclusivity of the Audemars Piguet brand means that its timepieces are always high in demand and coveted among investment and luxury buyers. However, it’s not just the select and limited number of pieces themselves that feed this demand, but also the low and still-decreasing number of dealers who stock and sell Audemars Piguet watches. It is expected that by 2026 there will be only 80 points of sale for the brand worldwide, with over half of them operated by Audemars Piguet directly.
For now, Love Luxury remains one of the most reputable places in London where you can receive a formal valuation for an Audemars Piguet timepiece, and where you can sell your piece or purchase a piece as a new investment. Visit us at our Knightsbridge boutique, or browse our online store, to find out more about our Audemars Piguet timepiece collection and to explore other luxury designer brands.