The Founding Years
Lets step back in time to 1875 when Jules Louis Audemars joined forces with Edward Auguste Piguet. They worked together to develop watches equipped with complex mechanisms and precision still found in the watches today. Both men were working independently on watches before combining their skills. Audemars was creating complicated blank watch movements for manufacturers to fit. Piguet was performing the final regulation on watches and was self-employed. They continued the split responsibilities when they formed the company; Audemars was in charge of production and technical aspects while Piguet focused on sales and management.
The Late 1890’s
In 1892, the gentlemen were working on the development of the first minute repeater wristwatch. The “Grande Complication” pocket watch was released in 1899, featuring 7 different complications. The watch featured grand and small strike and minute repeater on a set of three gongs, an alarm striking on a different set of gongs, perpetual calendar, deadbeat seconds, chronograph with jumping seconds and split-seconds hand.
When Audemars and Piguet passed away in 1918 and 1919 respectively, the company still continued to grow and become more famous. The company has always had members of both families leading them towards success, even today. These years brought about many new additions to the Audemars Piguet innovation list. In 1915, the smallest 5-minute repeater calibre was made, with a size of just 15.8mm. Only 10 years later, the company created the thinnest pocket-watch calibre at only 1.32mm. The first skeletonized pocket watch was produced in 1934, and in 1946 came the thinnest wrist watch. The first Audemars Piguet wristwatch with a perpetual calendar was introduced in 1957 and in 1967 the thinnest self-winding calibre with a central rotor was released at only 2.45mm.
The Royal Oak
The first steel high-end sports watch was introduced in 1972, forever revolutionizing the brand. The watch, which still features the same design today, featured an octagonal steel bezel and white gold screws. This production helped raise steel to the rank of precious metal in regards to luxury watches. The Royal Oak was redesigned in the late 1980’s when designer Emmanuel Gueit introduced a sketch that shows a substantial watch able to handle the forces of nature. The new design was ultimately called the Royal Oak Offshore, after receiving support by the Joint Chairman of Audemars Piguet at the time.
Audemars Piguet has continued on their development path and in 2000, while celebrating their 125th anniversary, their first model with Equation of time, sunrise, sunset and perpetual calendar was released. To this day, Audemars Piguet watches are still meticulously handcrafted and designed by watchmakers. Every edge is hand beveled and the sides are retouched again by hand to eliminate any trace of imperfection. To learn more about the craft and artistry that goes into the watches, visit the Savoir-Faire section of Audemars Piguet online.
Audemars Piguet has spent over 130 years mastering the construction of their watches and complications. They pride themselves on producing luxury sports watches, able to withstand almost anything that may happen. They have revolutionized using new materials such as carbon and titanium. The company is still in the hands of it’s founding families allowing the company to continue to follow its own unique vision.