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The History of Audemars Piguet and their Impact on the World of Watches

Posted by VALLAE GOODS on

Audemars Piguet is a luxury Swiss watch manufacturer that has been producing high-quality timepieces for over 145 years. The brand is known for its innovative designs, precise engineering, and exceptional craftsmanship. In this blog post, we'll take a deep dive into the rich history of Audemars Piguet, from its humble beginnings to its current position as one of the most prestigious watchmakers in the world.

(Photo source: https://www.audemarspiguet.com/com/en/news/origins/ap-chronicles.html)

The Founding of Audemars Piguet

Audemars Piguet was founded in 1875 by two childhood friends, Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet, in the village of Le Brassus in the Vallée de Joux region of Switzerland. Both men came from families of watchmakers and had a deep understanding of the intricate art of watchmaking.

The two friends began working together to create high-quality timepieces that were both technically advanced and aesthetically pleasing. They quickly gained a reputation for their exceptional craftsmanship, and by the 1880s, their watches were being sold all over Europe.

One of the key innovations of Audemars Piguet during this period was the introduction of the minute repeater. This mechanism allowed the wearer to hear the time chimed out in a series of musical notes, making it easier to tell the time in the dark or in noisy environments.

Expansion and Innovation

In the early 20th century, Audemars Piguet continued to expand and innovate. In 1907, the company introduced its first wristwatch, a small pocket watch with a strap attached to it. This was a significant departure from the traditional pocket watches that were popular at the time, and it helped to establish Audemars Piguet as a leader in the emerging field of wristwatches.

During this period, the company also developed a number of new complications, including the perpetual calendar, the split-seconds chronograph, and the tourbillon. These mechanisms were designed to make watches more accurate and functional, and they quickly became popular among collectors and watch enthusiasts.

The Great Depression and World War II

Like many other luxury brands, Audemars Piguet was hit hard by the Great Depression in the 1930s. The company was forced to lay off workers and reduce production, but it managed to survive thanks to the quality of its watches and the loyalty of its customers.

During World War II, Audemars Piguet continued to produce watches for the civilian market, but it also supplied watches to the military. The company's watches were used by pilots, navigators, and other military personnel who needed accurate timekeeping in high-stress environments.

Postwar Expansion and Success

collection of three audemars piguet royal oak

(Photo source: https://www.audemarspiguet.com/com/en/news/origins/ap-chronicles.html)

After World War II, Audemars Piguet continued to expand and innovate. In the 1950s, the company introduced its first sports watch, the Royal Oak. Designed by Gérald Genta, the Royal Oak was a radical departure from the traditional round watches that were popular at the time. It featured an octagonal bezel, a steel case, and a visible screw design that was inspired by the portholes of a ship.

The Royal Oak was a huge success, and it helped to establish Audemars Piguet as a leader in the luxury sports watch market. In the years that followed, the company continued to produce innovative and stylish timepieces, including the Royal Oak Offshore, the Millenary, and the Jules Audemars.

Audemars Piguet Today

audemars piguet watchmakers

({joto source: https://www.audemarspiguet.com/com/en/about/origins.html)

Today, Audemars Piguet is one of the most prestigious watchmakers in the world. The company is still owned and operated by the founding families, and it is known for its exceptional craftsmanship, innovative designs, and commitment to quality.

One of the key strengths of Audemars Piguet today is its ability to balance tradition and innovation. The company continues to produce timepieces that honor the brand's rich history and heritage, while also pushing the boundaries of what is possible with modern watchmaking technology.

One example of this balance can be seen in the Royal Oak Concept collection, which features some of the most innovative and complex watches produced by the company. These watches feature avant-garde designs and cutting-edge materials, such as forged carbon and ceramic, as well as complicated movements that showcase the company's technical expertise.

Another example of Audemars Piguet's commitment to innovation can be seen in the brand's use of new materials and technologies. In 2018, the company introduced the Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar in a new material called black ceramic, which is scratch-resistant and has a unique texture that sets it apart from other ceramics. The company has also explored the use of 3D printing and other cutting-edge manufacturing techniques to create watches that are both precise and aesthetically stunning.

Despite its success, Audemars Piguet remains a relatively small company, with only around 1,200 employees worldwide. This allows the company to maintain a level of craftsmanship and attention to detail that is difficult for larger brands to achieve. Each watch is still assembled and finished by hand, and the company places a strong emphasis on training and developing its employees to ensure that they are able to maintain the high standards of quality and craftsmanship that are synonymous with the brand.

Conclusion

The history of Audemars Piguet is one of innovation, craftsmanship, and dedication to quality. From its humble beginnings in a small Swiss village to its current position as one of the most prestigious watchmakers in the world, the brand has consistently pushed the boundaries of what is possible with watchmaking, while also maintaining a deep respect for tradition and heritage.

Whether you are a collector, a watch enthusiast, or simply someone who appreciates fine craftsmanship, an Audemars Piguet watch is a testament to the artistry and ingenuity of the human spirit. With each tick of the second hand, an Audemars Piguet watch reminds us of the value of precision, patience, and a dedication to excellence that has been passed down through generations of skilled craftsmen and women.


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