The Swiss manufacturer Audemars Piguet is one of the most prestigious watch manufacturers worldwide. They offer movements with intricate complications such as a perpetual calendar and tourbillon, as well as the famous Royal Oak, a steel sports watch.
- Top quality mechanical luxury watches
- Royal Oak: the manufacturer's most successful model
- Millenary model with an oval case
- Dress watch collections: Jules Audemars and Edward Piguet
- Grande Complication with a perpetual calendar, chronograph, and minute repeater
Audemars Piguet: Pioneer and Revolutionary
Audemars Piguet was founded in 1875 and has been producing wristwatches since 1892, when pocket watches were still the norm. Today, the Swiss brand is still well known for their complicated movements
or tourbillon complications
The most famous model
from this manufacturer is the Royal Oak
. This watch revolutionized the watch industry when it was released in the early 1970s. At the time, luxury watches were classic timepieces usually made of precious metals like gold. Today, these types of watches are known as dress watches. A stainless steel sports watch
for this price was something entirely new. When first released, the Royal Oak cost over 3,600 Swiss francs, making it more expensive than some gold watches from Patek Philippe
. Contemporary steel models from other renowned brands were significantly less expensive and used for activities such as diving. Over the years, the Royal Oak developed into the most successful and coveted model from Audemars Piguet. Today, it enjoys cult status
Watch Models from Audemars Piguet
Before Audemars Piguet released the Royal Oak in 1972, they produced classic wristwatches made of gold. These gold watches were especially thin or had intricate complications like a perpetual calendar
. The legendary manual caliber 2003 was ultra thin
, with a thickness of only 1.64 mm. Audemars Piguet developed this movement together with LeCoultre in the 1940s.
Audemars Piguet expanded their sports watch collection in 1993 with the Royal Oak Offshore
, which featured a chronograph function
. In comparison to the first Royal Oak from the 1970s, the Offshore is a bit sportier and more masculine. Its bulkier design appeals above all to younger customers. Famous wearers include basketball player LeBron James, rapper Jay-Z, and actor/politician Arnold Schwarenzegger. The Offshore is also available in a women's version set with diamonds. Diving watches with rotatable bezels
are also available. The Offshore Diver
is waterproof to 300 m (30 bar).
Dress Watches and Intricate Watches
Aside from the sports models, Audemars Piguet also offers traditional wristwatches. The Jules Audemars line
, named for one of the company's founders, contains elegant three-hand models with small or center seconds. However, there are also more intricate models with a chime, perpetual calendar, tourbillon, or minute repeater
. The Grande Complication model is a true highlight in this collection. It features a perpetual calendar with a moon phase display, a chronograph function, and a minute repeater
. There are also elegant, extra thin models
with two hands for the hour and minutes in the Jules Audemars collection. With a thickness of only 6.7 mm, these watches fit under every shirt cuff. Just as classic and elegant are the watches in the Edward Piguet line, named for the other founder. The series, which has been discontinued, contains many rectangular watches.
Watches in the Millenary
collection aren't just watches - they're gorgeous pieces of jewelry as well. The designs of these watches feature oval cases
and decentralized dials, allowing a view of the movement. The calibers in this series are often skeletonized. Models in this series with a tourbillon and a diamond-set bezel, case, and dial, are true pieces of watchmaking art.
Costs of Audemars Piguet Watches
Wristwatches from Audemars Piguet are top quality luxury watches that embody haute horlogerie. The Le Brassus-based manufacturer is one of the most prestigious brands in the world.
Sports Watch Prices
Pre-owned, manual vintage watches made of gold can be purchased for as little as 2,000 euros. The quartz women's model of the Royal Oak costs around 2,000 euros pre-owned. New, it costs around 9,000 euros. You can purchase a pre-owned, mechanical Royal Oak Lady for around 4,000 euros; new, it costs at least 13,000 euros.
The men's automatic model costs around 13,000 euros pre-owned and in very good condition. New models cost around 15,000 euros. If you'd prefer a Royal Oak Chronograph so you can use it as a timer, then you should plan to spend at least 12,000 euros when purchasing a pre-owned watch. The price for a new chronograph from this series starts at 16,000 euros.
A pre-owned Royal Oak Offshore costs at least 8,000 euros. New Offshore watches cost a bit more, around 13,000 euros. The diving watch versions cost around 11,000 euros pre-owned and 15,000 euros new.
Dress Watch Prices
A classic dress watch from the Jules Audemars series is available pre-owned for around 5,000 euros. Pre-owned chronographs from this series are in a similar price range. New models with two or three hands cost around 12,000 euros. New chronographs are more expensive, costing around 15,000 euros. If you want a Jules Audemars with a perpetual calendar, then you should plan on paying at least 28,000 euros for a pre-owned version and 50,000 euros for a new version. Models with a minute repeater are even more expensive; they cost over 150,000 pre-owned and over 200,000 euros new. You should plan to spend over 400,000 euros for a pre-owned Grande Complication and over 500,000 euros for a new Grande Complication.
You can purchase a pre-owned oval Millenary as a three-hand watch with a date display for around 3,000 euros. Pre-owned versions of a Millenary with a chronograph cost double that at 6,000 euros. New three-hand timepieces cost around 5,000 euros, while those with a chronograph cost around 12,000 euros. New versions of the top quality watches with a tourbillon and platinum case can cost up to 400,000 euros; when diamonds are involved, then the price rises to over 600,000 euros.
Which Audemars Piguet Watch is Right for Me?
||Stainless steel, titanium, gold, platinum
||Date, annual calendar, leap year calendar, perpetual calendar, GMT, tourbillon, equation of time
|Royal Oak Chronograph
||Stainless steel, titanium, gold
|Royal Oak Offshore
||Stainless steel, stainless steel and gold, gold, ceramic, platinum, titanium, carbon
||Date, chronograph, flyback, perpetual calendar, tourbillon, minute repeater
||Stainless steel, carbon, gold, titanium, platinum
||Date, small seconds, GMT, moon phase, perpetual calendar, tourbillon, minute repeater
||Stainless steel, titanium, gold, platinum
||Date, chronograph, leap year calendar, perpetual calendar, GMT, minute repeater, tourbillon, equation of time
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak: Breaking with Convention
The Royal Oak is the most famous watch from Audemars Piguet. The Swiss manufacturer first introduced the watch in 1972, and its look revolutionized the watch industry. With the Royal Oak, Audemars Piguet ushered in a new era in luxury watches. Before then, stainless steel sports watches were not en vogue amongst the top luxury manufacturers. In the early 1970s, wristwatches from Patek Philippe, Jaeger-LeCoultre, and Vacheron Constantin were still predominantly made of gold and featured traditional designs.
The history of the Royal Oak began in 1971. At this time, Georges Golay was the general director at Audemars Piguet. The Italian distributor for Audemars Piguet, Carlo de Marchi, approached Golay and requested a wristwatch that you could wear while driving a sports car, during a weekend on a boat, at a fancy dinner, and celebrating at the country club. Steel was not excluded as a possible material for the case and band.
, one of the most famous watch designers in the world, was commissioned by Audemars Piguet to design the Royal Oak. Four years later, Genta would design Patek Philippe's Nautilus
. Thanks to the octagonal bezel
, the Royal Oak's design is reminiscent of a ship's porthole
. A characteristic feature of the Royal Oak is the set of eight hexagonal screws keeping the bezel screwed onto the case. In between the bezel and the case is a rubber seal. The slots in the screws are perfectly aligned, creating a harmonious circle. This is made possible by tightening the screws from the other side. The stainless steel bracelet is integrated into the case, and the links taper off the closer they get to the clasp.
At the beginning of its career, the Royal Oak wasn't particularly successful. Today, however, it's the most successful and beloved watch from Audemars Piguet.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Features
- Famous stainless steel luxury sports watch
- Designed by Gérald Genta
- Octagonal bezel with screws in a porthole look
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore: The Successor to an Icon
Audemars Piguet introduced the Royal Oak Offshore in 1993. Its octagonal bezel makes the relation between it and its sibling, the Royal Oak (1972), very clear. However, the Offshore has an overall sportier look, partly due to its chronograph function. The diving models are waterproof to 300 m (30 m), a feature that emphasizes its sporty nature. In comparison, the original Royal Oak is only waterproof to 50 m (5 bar).
Currently, there are over 70 different Royal Oak Offshore models available, ranging from diamond-set ladies' watches to chronographs with tourbillons. Gold is even used as a case material in this collection. The case diameter ranges from 37 mm for the women's models to 48 mm for the men's models. More moderately sized 42-mm watches are also available.
The Grande Complication models are highlights in this collection. As the name suggests, these watches have multiple complications, such as a chronograph function, perpetual calendar, and minute repeater. The case has a diameter of 44 mm and a thickness of 15.7 mm. Due to the intricate complications, the watches are only waterproof to 20 m (2 bar). The timepiece is automatic, meaning it winds itself while being worn; you don't have to wind it. You have the choice between a titanium or white or pink gold case, and the strap is made of rubber.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Features
- Even sportier than the Royal Oak
- Diving watches are waterproof to 300 m (30 m)
- Grande Complication models featuring a perpetual calendar, chronograph, and minute repeater
Audemars Piguet Millenary: Pieces of Watchmaking Art
The watches in Audemars Piguet's Millenary collection have a distinctive oval case. Just as distinctive are the decentralized dials on the newer models, which offer a view of the caliber. Audemars Piguet decorates their movements very intricately, making them a pleasure to look at. The Millenary series was first introduced in 1995.
There are many current versions of the Millenary. The case size ranges from 39.5 mm to 45 mm and all the way to 47 mm. Some models feature diamonds on the bezel, case, dial, and movement bridges. The highlights of this collection are watches including complications like a tourbillon, minute repeater, or quadriannual calendar. A quadriannual calendar only has to be manually corrected once every four years; it cannot account for February 29th in a leap year.
Audemars Piguet Millenary Features
- Oval cases and decentralized dials
- Beautifully decorated movements
- Available with a minute repeater or tourbillon
The History of Audemars Piguet
Audemars Piguet has a history stretching back over 140 years
. Jules-Louis Audemars founded the company in 1875 in Le Brassus, Switzerland, shortly after he completed his education as a repasseur. A repassuer conducts the final inspection of a watch before it leaves the manufacturer. This position includes two further duties: correcting mistakes and finissage (assembling the parts so that they function). Le Brassus is located in the Vallée de Joux, a Swiss valley home to many world-renowned watch manufacturers, such as Blancpain
, and Breguet.
While building up the company, Jules-Louis Audemars received support from a childhood friend, Edward-Auguste Piguet, a fellow trained repasseur. In 1881, they founded the company Audemars Piguet & Cie. From the beginning, they produced complicated pocket watches. Only a few months after founding the company, they were presenting watches with a perpetual calendar, minute repeater, and chronograph function. Their "Grande Complication" pocket watch won a medal at the Exposition Universelle of 1889 in Paris. Their next sensation was in 1891 when they released the - at the time - smallest movement with a minute repeater. The diameter of the caliber was only 18 mm.