Audemars Piguet is one of the few independent family-owned watch businesses and has been based in Le Brassus, in Switzerland’s Vallée de Joux region, at the heart of the fine watchmaking industry, ever since the company was first established in 1875.
A manufacture of excellence, Audemars Piguet epitomises the watchmaking art taken to its highest level. With a constant eye to innovation, the company boasts a large number of patents and inhouse calibres, from simple timepieces to grand complications. The brand is also adventurous, exploring many different avenues – from sports watches to skeleton finishes. In this respect, it is one of the rare manufactures that still produces shaped movements.
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For most, the watch that comes to mind when thinking of Audemars Piguet is a relatively new model that was first presented in 1972. The Quartz Crisis, combined with 1970s aesthetics, precipitated a slew of creative watch designs that sought to elevate the mechanical watch past its functional aspect. One of these designs was the Royal Oak, designed by creative superstar Gérald Genta (who also created the Patek Philippe Nautilus, Omega Constellation and IWC Ingenieur SL).
The stainless-steel Audemars Piguet Royal Oak caused a sensation when it was launched — company executives were dubious about its long-term viability, buyers were startled by ...