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The History of Audemars Piguet

The Audemars Piguet , a first class watch

Audemars Piguet Holding SA is famous worldwide, is a Swiss brand of luxury mechanical watches, based in Le Brassus. The history of Audemars Piguet Holding SA begins with its foundation in 1875 in the Joux Valley by Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet. It acquired the official name Audemars Piguet & Cie in 1881.

The watches of this brand have a quality bordering on the exceptional. Proof of this is the Royal Oak collection , a model of the firm that made it stand out in a remarkable way from 1972.

The Audemars created in 1892 , the first minute repeater movement of the world for watches. They also developed the first skeleton watch in 1934 and among its specimens it has some of the thinnest watches in the world, such as the Tourbillon, automatic and ultra-fine from 1986.

To represent the brand important personalities from around the world have used it, such us Leo Messi , Arnold Schwarzenegger , golfer Rory McIlroy , Lebron James and the world champion Formula 1 Michael Schumacher . Some of them keep several special editions of the brand.

The history of Audemars Piguet

The creators of Audemars Piguet were two men: Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet . They met during childhood, but did not see each other again until 1874 when each one had already discovered the world of watchmaking.

Jules Audemars created complicated watch movements for other manufacturers, such as Tiffany Co and Edward Piguet specialized in movement regulation. In 1881 they founded Audemars Piguet & Cie, based in Le Brassus, a Swiss village in the Vallée de Joux. After associating each one directed a certain area in the company, Audemars was in charge of production and technique, and on the other hand Piguet of management and sales.

Jules Louis Audemars innovated all the time with unprecedented movements and Edward Auguste Piguet pioneered the sales subsidiaries in Europe and in America.

When time passed and the founders passed away, new generations took over the firm. The brand was led in the second generation by Paul Louis Audemars and Paul Edward Piguet, and in the third were Jacques Louis Audemars and Paulette Piguet. The fourth generation belong to the Audemars family: Jasmine Audemars and Olivier Frank Edward Audemars.

Today Audemars Piguet is an active member of the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH and produces around 40,000 watches every year .

Audemars Piguet, a firm recognized for mechanical excellence

Given the innovations and quality of the pieces the firm does not tard or to achieve resounding success not only in Switzerland, but throughout the world. 1882 was an important year because they presented a Great Complication pocket watch.

Only ten years later they had already created the first minute repeating wristwatch , considered one of the most difficult complications to perform in the industry. For 1921 presents rum another model more complex by its repetition mechanism and by the extreme miniaturización components.

A challenge of the firm over the years has been to seek mechanical excellence, which is why he proposed in 1950 his first perpetual calendar wristwatch, another complication has been dominated by very few brands until today.

If in 1967 the world stared in awe at the new record set by Audemars Piguet in creating the world’s flattest center rotor automatic caliber , 1972 made a difference forever.

Modern watchmaking changed their codes in 1972 when they created the Royal Oak, the first luxury sports watch made of steel , a fact not seen before and which became the sports icon.

The Royal Oak has a sporty and impressive aspect. It highlights its representative octagonal bezel fixed by eight hexagonal screws. Also a sphere with guilloché “Tapestry” and a bracelet integrated into the box completely.

Why Royal Oak?

The Royal Oak was named after a British Royal Navy ship , whose pockets were octagonal. The ship had been named in honor of the oak tree under which the future King Charles II sheltered in 1651 after having been defeated by Cromwel’s troops. The tree became a symbol of protection and power.

Notable innovations from Audemars Piguet

Many have been the innovations contributed by Audemars Piguet, among them the most notable were the following:

– In 1892, it created the world’s first minute repeating wristwatch movement.
– In 1899, the firm manufactured the “Great Complication” pocket watch with 7 complications . These complications included large and small firing pin, minute repeater, jumping seconds, perpetual calendar, alarm, chronograph with jumping seconds and fractional second hand.
– In 1921, created the first wristwatch in the world with jumping hours, powered by the caliber HPVM10 and in 1934 introdu jo the first skeleton watch.
– In 1946, it produced the world’s thinnest watch, with a movement of just 1.64mm thick.
– In 1972 they presented the Royal Oak, the world’s first luxury sports watch, the brand’s flagship.
– In 1986, cre to a wristwatch with an ultrafine automatic tourbillon only 5.3mm of thickness inclu going box.
– From 1995 to 1996 produced the first automatic wristwatch of the world “Grand Complication”, caliber 2885, automatic, 14 lines in a diameter of 31,60mm and 8,55mm thick and functions of f check, day, month, perpetual calendar, abutment wheel chronometer and rapapante, hours, minutes, seconds, moon phases and minute repeats.
– In 2006, it introduces the world’s first direct-drive escape, based on a design by watchmaker Robert Robin in the 18th century.
– Between 2007 20 08 developed the first watch with box carbon and carbon movement , the Royal Oak Carbon Concept.

Audemars Piguet and its development today

Today, Audemars Piguet continues in the unceasing search for new ideas and inspiration based on contemporary art and for this he has a specific program that includes fine arts and watchmaking.

The firm exhibits its work every year as a global partner of Art Basel , with the representation of artists selected by its annual Art Commission. These creators visit Le Brassus and give life to a new project.

Audemars Piguet collections

Audemars Piguet Millenary Collection

The Millenary collection dates back to 1995. The design proposes to give the hobbyist a three-dimensional view of the standard movement of a watch. The watches in this collection are characterized by oval cases, domed sapphire crystal, and a striking off-center dial that leaves the steering wheel in plain sight. All watches in the Millenary collection share a case and Côtes de Genève in movement, visible through the dial.

Jules Audemars Collection

The collection took the name of one of its founders and is the most traditional of the brand. All the watches in this collection have a circular shape, some of which also have complications such as the tourbillon, the minute repeater and the perpetual calendar.

Royal Oak Collection

The Royal Oak is the most popular watch of Audemars Piguet and an icon in the history of watchmaking. Introduced in 1972, designed by Gérald Genta, it is considered the world’s first luxury sports watch. The model was inspired by traditional diving helmets with a unique case design and an integrated bracelet in the case. It has been widely imitated.

When Royal Oak turned 20, the firm hired Emmanuel Gueit, a young designer to create a new watch. It would be known as the Royal Oak Offshore, introduced in 1993, with a much larger case, thought to be stronger than the original. Offshore is as successful as the original Royal Oak.

Curiosities of Audemars Piguet

Like all objects of worship, the Audemars Piguet are full of curiosities. Beyond their quality, they are surrounded by curious aspects that invite you to get to know them.

The Royal Oak was designed in a single day and all its prototypes were made in white gold. Its name could be “The Safari”, due to the sports and exploration activities for which it was designed, but in the end it was not chosen. The first Royal Oak is known as Jumbo. It was one of the greatest of its time.

Its name comes from the oak that sheltered King Charles II of England during the Battle of Worcester, in 1651. The Royal Oak is therefore considered as durable and safe as that tree.
The design of many of the parts of the Royal Oak is inspired by old diving helmets, such as the case and the octagonal bezel and its screws are made of gold.

The firm introduced the concept of luxury sports watch to the market. The most expensive is $ 869,000 and the first owner of an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak was the Shah of Iran.

On the other hand, the brand rejected that Royal Oak was the James Bond watch, both in novels and in movies . In the first three years, only 1,000 watches of this type were sold, now it is the best-selling and supports the strength of the brand.

Today they are still manufactured with machines that are over 100 years old, and are finished by hand with details of unprecedented quality .

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