Forbes, CNN, ABC, and The Watch Book have all listed Audemars Piguet (AP) as one of the very best luxury watch brands in the world. This is a brand that doesn’t quite have the commercial reach of Rolex or Tag, but it is a brand that is revered in certain circles and practically worshiped by horologists.
Classified as an “ultra-luxury” brand, Audemars Piguet is a step above the brands you thought were the most prestigious and sought-after. It is an exclusive, upmarket brand that is relatively unknown to the general public but has a history and a status that many of its competitors can only dream of.
What is Audemars Piguet?
Audemars Piguet watches are made in the Le Brassus region, described on the AP website as “a region that beats to the tune of complicated watch mechanisms.” These watches are individual works of art, as Audemars Piguet employs true master craftspeople. This has been the company’s passion for over 140 years, and all of that experience, that skill, and that history can be found in every single AP timepiece.
AP watches use complex movement and chiming mechanisms, incorporating elements of astronomy. All of their watches benefit from the very best Swiss timekeeping, telling the exact time to within one-fifth of a second and using dozens of components to achieve such accuracy.
The company was the first to use tourbillions in their watches, which improved time-keeping precision by accounting for the effects of gravity on a watch’s mechanism, and something that previous technology had not been able to manage.
The History of Audemars Piguet
The history of AP goes back to long before Audemars Piguet was branded on a watch. The unique geology of the Vallée de Joux made this Swiss mountain region a mecca for watchmakers.
Families in the region would use locally extracted iron oxide to craft timepieces during the winter, ensuring they had enough money to get by.
This is the region where Jules-Louis Audemars and Edward-Auguste Piguet were born. In 1875 these two childhood friends began working together to produce watches that were more complex than anything then being produced. The skills passed down through their families, as well as the methods they learned through a lifetime of tinkering, allowed them to craft beautiful, exquisite, and intricate watches that instantly found a place in the market.
Before long they were manufacturing complex watches for world-renowned companies, such as Tiffany & Co., and soon their brand spread around the world. Over the years they introduced new elements to their watches, making them even more complex and bringing innovations to the industry.
By 1919 both of the founders had passed away and the business passed onto their children, who continued to grow the brand. To this day AP remains in the hands of the descendants of Jules-Louis Audemars and Edward-Auguste Piguet.
These days AP employs over 1,450 workers around the globe and their watches can be found in stores in 88 countries. The company’s annual revenue is currently $600 million. AP manufactures around 40,000 timepieces, a fraction of the watches made by brands like Rolex and Tag.
The Audemars Piguet Collection
AP watches have been worn by countless celebrities over the years, some of whom have acted as ambassadors of the brand. These include Barcelona and Argentina forward Lionel Messi, Formula 1 legend Michael Schumacher, former top-ranked men’s tennis player Novak Djokovic, heavyweight boxing great Muhammad Ali, and Hollywood-icon Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The ultra-luxury status of the Audemars Piguet brand, as well as the exceptional designs, the jaw-dropping aesthetics, and the intricate mechanisms found in every piece, is what attracts such big names to this watchmaker. Stars of the stage, screen, and sports have coveted this brand for decades, wearing some of their most exclusive pieces, including:
Classic Collection: If you prefer your watch to have a little more innate value, the Equation of Time collection could be what you’re looking for. These watches combine precious metal cases with a real leather strap and all the beauty and movement you would expect in an AP watch.
Jules Audemars Self-Winding Watch: Another classic style, this watch has a bracelet strap made of 18k pink gold. The case is also pink gold and is set with beautiful diamonds, adding some glitz and glamor to a timepiece that has a retail price of around $50,000.
How to Purchase an Audemars Piguet
AP watches are available in luxury boutiques around the world. Watches retail anywhere from $2,000 for a pre-owned classic, to over $1 million. As with other luxury brands, these timepieces are considered an investment and a collectible as much as a fashion statement. Some of the older watches have actually increased in value, both because of their rarity and their age.
If you don’t have tens of thousands to spend on a watch, you might want to consider purchasing a pre-owned Audemars Piguet. These tend to be very well looked after. The watches themselves are made to last, with scratchproof glass and reliable components. The owners also do their best to keep them in good condition, because if you spend more than $10,000 on a watch, you’re going to make sure it’s well cared for. Of course, the better the condition, the more you pay, but you can still shave a considerable amount of money off the recommended retail price by purchasing your Audemars Piguet timepiece secondhand.
Pre-owned, brand new, limited edition, it doesn’t matter. If you’re a collector, an investor, or just someone who loves watches, this is one brand that you need to have in your collection.
Originally posted 2017-01-11 08:02:44.