Audemars Piguet Watches: A History
Founded in 1875, in the small mountain town of Le Brassus, in the heart of the Vallee de Joux, the Audemars Piguet, or AP, watch brand has come a long way from its humble beginnings. At the time, this region was known for the highlands, which were ideal for farming. However, during the harsh winter months, the land remained dormant, and villagers turned to watchmaking as a source of income, which was possible thanks to the iron oxide found in the fertile grounds. Many villagers of this area turned to this profession; however, it is Edward Auguste Piguet and Jules Louis Audemars who founded the brand that is now synonymous with luxury and wealth. Today, Audemars Piguet is still independently owned by the family members of the founders.
Audemars Piguet Models
Introduced in 1972 and designed by the renowned Gérald Genta, the Royal Oak is one the most recognized AP watch models. These watches feature an octagonal bezel, “tapisserie” dial, and an integrated bracelet.
Launched in 1993 as an anniversary piece, the Royal Oak Offshore was a sportier iteration of the original Royal Oak. This collection consists of divers and chronographs with bold colors and unique materials.
Released in 1995, the Millenary collection perfectly combines watchmaking art and design in its unique play on perspective and balance. These exceptional wats provide a three-dimensional view into the caliber through a rare oval shape.
Considered one of the brand’s most significant launches since the Royal Oak, Code 11.59 was launched in 2019. Discover this contemporary and precise collection featuring 13 references, 6 models, and 3 new in-house calibers.
Refined and artful, the Jules Audemars collection of elegant AP dress watches pays tribute to the brand’s two founding fathers.
Audemars Piguet Finishes & Materials
Featuring a rare savoir-faire no longer taught in horology school, the Royal Oak collection has a decorative guilloché pattern on the watch dials. Petite tapisserie is seen on the extra-thin Royal Oak models, Grande tapisserie on self-winding and quartz Royal Oak models, and Méga tapisserie on the Offshore collection.
Audemars Piguet introduced black ceramic into the Royal Oak line in 2017. This one-of-a-kind material is comprised of zirconium oxide and yttrium oxide. Black ceramic has also been introduced to some Offshore models.
Jewelry designer Carolina Bucci partnered with Audemars Piguet to produce the frosted gold finishing on 18-carat pink Frosted Gold Royal Oak models. AP later introduced this case finishing to some Millenary models.
Aventurine glass is obtained by introducing black copper oxide and cobalt during the cooling phase, which colors the glass in blue and produces a constellation of mineral particles. This beautiful material is featured on watch dials in the Millenary collection.
Compelling AP Watch Complications
AP’s perpetual calendar movement maps time cycles of 48 months through mechanical memory. It factors the varying numbers of days in each month, while adjusting the number of days in February. This exceptional movement only needs manual adjustment every 100 years.
In 1986, Audemars Piguet manufactured the world’s first selfwinding tourbillon wristwatch. It takes 60 seconds for the tourbillon to complete a full rotation, while compensating for the effects of earth’s gravity.
AP produced 35 minute repeater wristwatches between 1892 and 1992, and they now produce less than 40 minute repeaters every year. Their latest Grande Sonnerie movement, Calibre 2956, features 498 parts. This movement was introduced in the Code 11.59 collection.
Only 307 Audemars Piguet vintage chronograph wristwatches were made between the 1930s and the 1950s. In 2015, AP released the Laptimer, featuring a single chronograph with flyback function driving two central sweep-seconds hands that can be controlled via three push-pieces.