As one of the oldest luxury watch makers in the world, Audemars Piguet has a rich history of unparalleled sophistication in timepieces. Among the most sought after brands, Audemars Piguet watches from TrueFacet remain a symbol of premium fashion, with ladies watches close behind. Below is a brief overview of how the watchmaker gained its reputation as one of the premier brands in watches:
1. The Company was Founded to Make it Through Harsh Winters
Audemars Piguet, like most famous watch companies, was founded in Switzerland, the horology capitol of the world where horology is studied and practised as an art form. Back in the 18th century, farmers in the remote Vallée de Joux, known as the Serbia of Switzerland due to its extremely cold and snowy winters, had to turn to watchmaking during the winter months for basic survival. The fields were covered with snow for months at a time and the plentiful supply of wood and iron oxide in the area made watchmaking an ideal solution to keep themselves financially afloat, and perhaps to stave off winter depression and boredom at the same time. The company still retains ties to the region to this day, with the main research and development lab located in the village of La Brassus and a world class horology school located nearby, according to the company’s official website.
2. One of the Earliest Watches Survives Today
The company was founded by two childhood friends and watchmakers, Jules-Louis Audemars and Edward-Auguste Piguet, back in 1875, and this is obviously also where the company got its name. Both of their families already had a history in making timepieces long before this, as detailed above. One pocket watch made at some point between 1740 and 1760 and signed ‘Joseph Piguet – Le Brassus’ still exists today, held in the personal collection of the founder’s descendant Olivier Audemars, who talked about it in an interview with International Watch Magazine.
3. Oldest Family Owned Watchmakers
It is incredibly rare to find such an old company which has not only survived throughout the years but is also still owned and managed by the original founder’s family, but that is what Audemars Piguet has accomplished. The company has faced multiple financial issues during the world wars, the stock market crash, the Quartz crisis, and the recent recession. Apparently the company dwindled to only three watchmakers during one particularly hard year and in another only a single watch was made during the entire year. Through all of this, the company has still remained in the ownership of the Audemars family and still has members of the family working on the board of directors, and heavily involved in the horology industry as a whole.
4. The Royal Oak Revolutionized Luxury Sports Watches
Every successful and well known watchmaking company has a few ‘firsts’ or world records they can brag about. Audemars Piguet has a few of their own, including the manufacture of the world’s first skeleton watch, but perhaps the most recognizable first in their history is the famous Royal Oak watch, first sold in 1972. According to the company’s website, this watch broke the long established rules of making luxury timepieces. Not only was it the first high end sports watch made of steel rather than gold, it was bigger than standard luxury watches at the time and came in an advent-garde style which has remained popular to this day. Even over 40 years later, the Royal Oak remains a favourite amongst watch enthusiasts and a vintage Royal Oak can bring in a lot of money at auction.
5. Only 32,000 Audemars Piguet Watches are Made Each Year
What makes Audemars Piguet’s watches so unique, rare, and well-crafted is that the company still only produces a limited amount, 32,000 each year. By contrast, Rolex produces 2,000 watches each day. The horology school close to the company’s main site means that only the most dedicated and talented watchmakers are trained to produce the watches so that each one can be personally crafted to the highest standards rather than mass produced. Many of the company’s top line watches are still made using traditional techniques using machinery which is over 100 years old.
This goes to show you how Audemars Piguet has gained so much knowledge through hundreds of years of watch development which the company uses to make such high quality watches today. While the company is still focused on tradition and limited manufacturing, they are still able to produce much demanded watches in the modern watch market. Wearing an Audemars Piguet watch, whether new or vintage, really is wearing a piece of horology history which is why it makes the perfect gift for any luxury watch fan.