Audemars Piguet was founded by Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet in the Vallée de Joux, Switzerland in 1875 and would later take the name Audemars Piguet & Cie in 1881. Since its founding in 1875, the company has remained family owned. Both founders came from a strong family lineage of watchmakers. Jules and Edward both brought different strengths to the business: Audemars specializing in the creation and production, and Piguet serving as the Master Watchmaker and taking charge of all the assembly.
What is Audemars Piguet known for?
Audemars Piguet is a highly respected Swiss watch manufacturer with a long history of notable inventions and patents. In 1892, Audemars Piguet created the world’s first wristwatch minute repeater. This watch was later sold to Louis Brandt, the founder of Omega SA.
In 1899, the company released a Grand Complication pocket watch with seven complications in total. The complications would include a minute repeater, grand and small strike, alarm, perpetual calendar, deadbeat seconds, a chronograph, and split-second hands. Almost 100 years later in 1995, the company would release a Grand Complication wristwatch, the Calibre 2885.
In 1946, AP manufactured the worlds thinnest watch at that time, with a movement thickness of 1.64mm. In keeping with the theme of thin watches, Audemars Piguet would release an ultra-thin automatic tourbillion wristwatch in 1986. In 2019, the world’s thinnest automatic perpetual calendar was presented.
Perhaps their greatest claim to fame came in 1972 with the release of the Royal Oak model, the first luxury sports model. Only a few years later, both Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin followed with sports models of their own. Years later, the majority of all high-end watch brands had luxury sports models of their own. In 1993, the Royal Oak offshore was released to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Royal Oak.
What is the Royal Oak?
In 1969, Audemars Piguet reached out to Gérard Genta in immediate need of a watch design. After only one very constructive night, Genta had made the original design for the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. The watch premiered at Baselworld in 1972 during the quartz crisis. At the time, there was nothing like this watch being released from the other watch manufacturers. The design took inspiration from early diving helmets, including visible screws in the bezel. Almost 50 years later, the octagonal bezel with exposed screws remains an icon in the sports watch world and is still featured in their newest models today. Gérard Genta’s work would later be described by Christie’s as “the Fabergé of watches” and The Wall Street Journal would refer to his watches as the “world’s most complicated and pricey watches.”
What is the Royal Oak Offshore?
At 22 years of age, Emmanuel Gueit, a junior designer at Audemars Piguet, was tasked with designing the original Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph. Since the Royal Oak model was starting to fade in popularity, Emmanuel Gueit was instructed to design a “Royal Oak for young people.” Just like the original Royal Oak design that was released in 1972, the new Royal Oak Offshore offered something very new and exciting to the watch world. The new model was originally intended to be released in 1992 for the 20th anniversary of the Royal Oak, but it was unfortunately not ready at that time. The Royal Oak Offshore would be released a year later at the 1993 Baselworld. Initial reactions were mixed at best, but the Offshore would go on to be one of Audemars Piguet’s bestselling models and would spawn numerous limited-edition Offshore models that are enjoyed by many fans and collectors.
Does Audemars Piguet have any notable customers and owners?
Audemars Piguet has a wide range of athletes that currently serve as brand ambassadors and cover some of the most popular sports in the world including basketball, tennis, soccer, Formula One and cricket. Their current brand ambassadors include LeBron James, Serena Williams, Leo Messi, Michael Schumacher, and Sachin Tendulkar. The brand is often a favorite amongst celebrities, with John Mayer, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jay-Z, and Kim Kardashian all having been spotted wearing their favorite Audemars Piguet models. The watch brand has also been worn by royalty in Spain, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom to name a few.
Where can I sell or pawn my Audemars Piguet watch?
Audemars Piguet is a historic brand with a long pedigree of exceptional watchmaking. If you have an Audemars Piguet or any other luxury timepiece you wish to sell or pawn, please contact Chicago Loan Company, a family business since 1881. Our team of watch experts are happy to assess your items for a loan or purchase in our private offices in the heart of Chicago’s Jewelers Row. Call (312) 236-2929 to speak with one of our loan officers or submit an online inquiry today.