Audemars Piguet was founded by childhood friends Jules-Louis Audemars and Edward-Auguste Piguet in 1875, who aspired to create technically precise watches, powered by complex but reliable mechanisms. In the early days, the two worked together to create the company’s timepieces, with Audemars taking on the production of the core mechanisms, and Piguet performing the final build and regulation.
Founding their company in the village of Le Brauss, in the Vallee de Joux, Switzerland, Audemars and Piguet created technically intricate watches, sparing no effort in terms of complexity and technicality. The early movements created by the two friends were of such a high quality that they were soon incorporated in watches created by prestigious luxury companies like Gubelin and Tiffany & Co. This lead to the friends realising that their talents were best invested in a company of their own.
As a company, Audemars Piguet was highly successful in the build up to the First World War, but saw this come to an abrupt end – as so many others did – as the World was plunged into battle. Immediately after the War, the company’s fate didn’t improve, as first Audemars (in 1918) and Piguet (in 1919) passed away. However, inspired by their fathers’ work and reputation, Paul-Louis Audemars and Paul-Edward Piguet continued the business, and created their own range of ground-breaking watches.
This wasn’t the end of the company’s struggles, though. Despite making some ground-breaking innovations in the Roaring Twentues, Audemars Piguet were badly affected by the Wall Street Crash, and by the onset of World War II in 1939. Although they had as few as two remaining employees in the worst days, Audemars Piguet survived, continuing to emphasise quality and precision in their timepieces, and featuring at the famous Basel Fair for the first time in 1949.
From the 1950s onwards, the company pioneered a range of innovations. Early models were known for their ultra-thin nature and quartz watches, whilst the new pieces were dramatically different. The biggest of these breakthrough watches was arguably the brand’s most famous model ever. The timelessly beautiful Royal Oak, a model which has been repurposed and improved countless times through the years.
Audemars Piguet became known as decades passed for creating unique, Avant Garde style timepieces, as well as constantly breaking ground in terms of innovation and style. World firsts created by Audemars Piguet include the world’s smallest five-minute repeater calibre and the jumping second hand pocket watch. They also pioneered a range of ultra-thin watches and the first skeleton watch.
For their timeless pursuit of perfection, Audemars Piguet has become known as one of the World’s finest ever watch manufacturers, rivalling any other brand in terms of prestige and quality. To this day, the company are known for creativity and invention. Ever the pioneers, Audemars Piguet collaborate with major sports people to this day, as well as in a range of projects - from the arts to ecological preservation - in the search for watch perfection.
Audemars Piguet are a truly unique company, making a fantastic choice if you’re looking for an ultra-precise timepiece, courtesy of a prestigious brand with a fascinating history.