Audemars Piguet is also more rebellious than the other two, as illustrated by its motto ”To break the rules, you must first master them.” In 1972 Audemars Piguet launched one of the most iconic watches of all time – the Royal Oak, designed by the greatest watch designer of all time, Gerald Génta himself. This groundbreaking watch invented a totally new category of timepieces: the luxury sports, which continues to be one of the most popular watch genres. However, before the Royal Oak, Audemars Piguet was already among the most prolific innovators in the field of horology, responsible for an impressive collection of world records and inventions.
By offering a fantastic blend of recognizable watch designs and impressive mechanical movements, Audemars Piguet enjoys a large and loyal following from watch collectors, fans of luxury goods, and celebrities alike.
Read more about how Audemars Piguet continues to be a dominating force in the luxury watch landscape.
Jump to a Section:
- History of Audemars Piguet
- Watch Manufacturing
- Grey Market and Authorized Dealers
- Notable Models
- Notable Owners and Patrons
- Collaborations and Sponsorships
History of Audemars Piguet Watches
Born in 1875 in a village called Le Brassus nestled in the Vallée de Joux, Switzerland, Audemars Piguet continues to call this region home, almost 150 years later.
Early history of Audemars Piguet Watches
The two founders of the Maison had their specialties: Jules Louis Audemars was more into the creation of complex movements, while Edward Auguste Piguet was most interested in the perfect regulation of the timepieces. So, from the beginning, one operated in the design and production, while the other took care of management and sales.
The company has always been focused on producing complicated watches and movements. What’s more, ultra-thin watchmaking has also been an area of expertise of Audemars Piguet. Between 1892 and 1965, Audemars Piguet’s records detailed a total of 550 complicated wristwatches.
- 1875: Jules Audemars and Edward Piguet established a watch workshop
- 1881: The name Audemars Piguet & Cie is formed
- 1918: Jules Audemars passes away
- 1919: Edward Piguet passes away
Audemars Piguet has remained a family business since its founding, guided by the following generations:
- Second Generation: Paul Louis Audemars and Paul Edward Piguet
- Thrid Generation: Jacques Louis Audemars and Paulette Piguet
- Four (Current) Generation: Jasmine Audemars and Olivier Frank Edward Audemars
Four generations later, Audemars Piguet is the only Swiss watch manufacturer that has never left the hands of its founding families.
We can clearly divide Audemars Piguet’s history between pre-Royal Oak and post-Royal Oak. As mentioned, the Royal Oak, designed by Gerald Génta and presented in Baselworld in 1972, was groundbreaking in so many ways. The launch of the Royal Oak not only drastically changed Audemars Piguet but also the watchmaking world at large.
The Royal Oak presented a new concept of luxury, something which did not come from precious materials or complications, but rather, from a strong design language and an expression of lifestyle. The timepiece, with its octagonal shape, the immense bezel and the exposed screws, had an aura of ruthless industrial efficiency, enhanced by the polished steel surfaces refracting into the integrated metal bracelet. It was made of stainless steel and only offered a time and date dial but it was priced similarly to fine gold watches and some complications too. It was also massive for the era; clocking in at 39mm in size. As such, it was quickly dubbed the “Jumbo” by the watch community. Although the Royal Oak was deemed too controversial upon its release, the watch has grown to become an icon of Audemars Piguet, even producing spin-off collections such as the Royal Oak Offshore and Royal Oak Concept.
Aside from the Royal Oak and its spin-offs, Audemars Piguet continued to fill its catalog with fine dress watches and high-horology pieces. The newest AP collection was born in 2019 with the launch of CODE 11.59.
- 1972: Audemars Piguet launches the Royal Oak
- 1993: Audemars Piguet introduces the Royal Oak Offshore
- 1995: Audemars Piguet releases the Millenary
- 1996: Audemars Piguet unveils its first grand complication wristwatch in a Jules Audemars case
- 2002: Audemars Piguet debuts the Royal Oak Concept
- 2019: Audemars Piguet launches the CODE 11.59 collection
Along with Rolex and Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet is one of the three biggest independent Swiss watch brands. It’s also a highly integrated watch manufacturer, not only making most of its components in-house but also employing highly-skilled craftspeople for decoration and finishing.
However, it’s important to note that Audemars Piguet, like all high-end Swiss watchmakers, has used outsourced movement bases called ébauches. Take for example the famous ultra-thin Jaeger-LeCoultre 920 movement, which was used by Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe, and Vacheron Constantin for the Royal Oak, Nautilus, and 222, respectively.
Notable Inventions and Patents
- 1892: Audemars Piguet devised the world’s first wristwatch minute-repeating movement, which was then supplied to Louis Brandt Frères SA (later known as Omega).
- 1899: Audemars Piguet manufactured the Universelle grand complication pocket watch with 19 complications; it was one of the most complicated watches of its time.
- 1921: Audemars Piguet (who was working to produce luxury timepieces for famous jewelers worldwide like Tiffany, Cartier, and Bvlgari) designed the first jumping hour complication (where the hour hand “jumps” to the next hour, rather than moving progressively).
- 1921: Audemars Piguet launched the world’s thinnest pocket watch movement, measuring just 1.32mm thick.
- 1934: Audemars Piguet created the first skeletonized wristwatch, for people to see all the precise machinery of the movement turning under the dials.
- 1938: Audemars Piguet launched the world’s thinnest hand-wound wristwatch movement, measuring just 1.64mm thick.
- 1955: Audemars Piguet developed the first perpetual calendar wristwatch with a leap year indicator.
- 1978: Audemars Piguet released the ref. 5548, the world’s thinnest perpetual calendar
- 1986: Audemars Piguet releases the world’s first self-winding tourbillon watch, which remains the smallest tourbillon ever made.
- 2000: a patent was filed for an Audemars Piguet escapement, boasting top-notch chronometric precision and shock resistance.
- 2015: Audemars Piguet introduced the Royal Oak Concept Laptimer, the world’s first mechanical wristwatch that could time consecutive laps without having to restart the chronograph.
Given Audemars Piguet’s popularity and ubiquity in the luxury watch landscape, it may come as a surprise to some that the company has historically produced less than 50,000 watches a year. According to a Bloomberg article, Audemars Piguet expects to make 50,000 watches in 2022, up from 45,000 sold in 2021.
In an interview with Luxury Tribune, Audemars Piguet CEO, François-Henry Bennahmias, remarked that the company was building an infrastructure that could eventually support the production of 70,000 watches per year. However, he also maintained that AP was not in a rush to boost production; carefully creating the capacity first is more important.
Reference and Serial Numbers
An Audemars Piguet reference number indicates the model, material, and dial style of the watch. An AP reference number is typically structured like this: #####XX.XX.####XX.##. For instance, 15500ST.OO.1220ST.01.
The first numbers are the model number followed by letters that denote the case material (for instance, 15500ST).
Audemars Piguet material codes
|IO||Titanium and Ceramic|
|RO||Rose Gold and Ceramic|
|SA||Steel and Yellow Gold|
|SO||Steel and Ceramic|
|SR||Steel and Rose Gold|
The next two letters in the reference denote the bezel style.
Audemars Piguet bezel codes
|GG||Frosted Gold Bezel|
|YG||Colored Gemstone-Set Bezel|
|YY||Colored Gemstone-Set Bezel|
The following numbers and letters denote the bracelet or strap code (for instance, 1220ST). The material codes are the same used for the case listed above, but there are additional ones.
Audemars Piguet bracelet/strap codes
And finally, the last two digits relate to the dial color, which varies depending on the specific model.
An Audemars Piguet serial number, also known as a case number, is unique to each watch and generally engraved on the outside of the caseback. What’s more, Audemars Piguet watches also have movement numbers, which are generally engraved on the movement’s mainplate.
As one of the most coveted luxury brands in the world, it comes as no surprise that there are plenty of fake Audemars Piguet watches in the market. In general, if you’re looking to buy an authentic Audemars Piguet online, you can find plenty of watches that will fit the bill, but you should pay attention to a few important details. Here are some things to keep in mind.
- Inspect the details. One hallmark of an authentic Audemars Piguet Royal Oak watch is the signature Tapisserie pattern on the dial, which is an intricate design that is difficult to copy. If a watch is missing this, lacks luminosity, or feels lightweight, it’s not authentic.
- Listen closely. A true Audemars Piguet shouldn’t run too quietly but should never make a loud ticking noise.
At Luxury Bazaar, we pride ourselves on maintaining only the highest standards for our Audemars Piguet watches for sale online. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or you’ve visited us before to buy women’s Audemars Piguet online, free to contact us with questions about the authenticity of any of our offerings.
Grey Market & Authorized Dealers
There are various ways to buy Audemars Piguet watches such as authorized retailers, grey market dealers, pre-owned marketplaces, auction houses, private sellers, and more. The Audemars Piguet market is booming so consider your options carefully.
Similar to most luxury watch brands, Audemars Piguet has long depended on a global network of authorized dealers (ADs) to sell its watches. However, according to a 2018 Reuters report, Audemars Piguet wants to move away from multibrand retail operations to focus exclusively on mono-branded Audemars Piguet boutiques. This would provide the company with tighter controls on the distribution and sales of its watches.
However, given the exceeding popularity of some Audemars Piguet watches, shopping at an authorized retailer can be a disappointing experience since the watches are likely not in stock. Some ADs may ask if you’d like to add your name to a waitlist, but that does not guarantee you’ll get the AP watch of your dreams anytime soon.
Grey Market Prices
Unlike authorized dealers, which have to follow the manufacturer’s suggested retail prices MSRP, grey market dealers sell watches at prices that the market is willing to pay.
Naturally, this means that in-demand AP watches routinely sell above retail prices while less popular models can be purchased at discounted prices.
Some luxury watches start losing their value as soon as they come off the shelf, while some are practically priceless to own and resell for the same — if not more than their purchase price. If you are thinking about buying an Audemars Piguet online and hoping for a huge increase in value over time, that’s generally not a good idea. Buy a watch because you love it and don’t look at it as a commodity to invest in.
If you’re looking to buy a certified pre-owned Audemars Piguet watch online or invest in a brand new luxury watch, count on Luxury Bazaar to provide a truly breathtaking timepiece that you can be proud of today and pass on to future generations.
While most of Audemars Piguet’s current catalog is dedicated to the Royal Oak and its derivatives, another important modern model is the CODE 11.59, which debuted in 2019. What’s more, the discontinued Jules Audemars and Millenary collections offer some uniquely designed Audemars Piguet watches.
The Royal Oak line – which is the most well-known for the company – has branched out over the years into separate models, which all share the signature octagonal case and bezel silhouette.
- Royal Oak “Jumbo”
- Royal Oak Selfwindng
- Royal Oak Chronograph
- Royal Oak with complications
|Type||Luxury Sports Watch|
|Material||Stainless Steel, Titanium, Gold, Platinum, Ceramic|
|Functions||Date, Chronograph, Perpetual Calendar, GMT, Tourbillon, Equation Of Time, Minute Repeater, Grand Complication,|
|Sizes||33mm to 44mm|
|Price||The stainless steel Royal Oak Selfwinding 41mm starts at $26,600 while gold versions start at $42,200. The stainless steel Royal Oak “Jumbo 50th Anniversary” 39mm starts at $34,900 while gold versions start at $74,100. The stainless steel Royal Oak Chronograph starts at $35,600 while gold versions start at $52,600. The stainless steel and titanium Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar watches 41mm start at $106,000.|
Royal Oak Offshore
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Royal Oak, Audemars Piguet released the even bigger and more assertive Royal Oak Offshore chronograph in 1993 (the release date was delayed by a year).
Designed by Emmanuel Gueit, the Royal Oak Offshore not only featured a larger size but also included modern details such as visible gaskets under the bezels and rubber-clad pushers and crowns. The watch was quickly nicknamed “The Beast.” The Royal Oak Offshore continues to be a mainstay of the collection and has also branched out into several models.
- Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph
- Royal Oak Offshore Diver
- Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding
- Royal Oak Offshore with complications
|Model||Royal Oak Offshore|
|Type||Luxury Sports Watch|
|Material||Stainless Steel, Stainless Steel And Gold, Gold, Ceramic, Platinum, Titanium, Carbon|
|Function||Date, Chronograph, Diver, Flyback, Perpetual Calendar, Tourbillon, Minute Repeater|
|Sizes||37mm to 44mm|
|Price||The stainless steel Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph 42mm starts at $37,300 while the 43mm variant starts at $42,600.The stainless steel Royal Oak Offshore Diver starts at $29,000 while the gold one starts at $65,700. At the top of the line, there’s the Royal Oak Offshore Grande Complication which starts at $895,000.|
Royal Oak Concept
To mark the Royal Oak’s 30th anniversary in 2002, Audemars Piguet launched the Royal Oak Concept CW1 tourbillon with a case made in alacrite topped with a titanium bezel. This first model paved the way for the brand’s most experimental line featuring highly complicated movements, and often cutting-edge materials too. While the Royal Oak Concept collection clearly retains the essence of the original Royal Oak, the designs are more futuristic (designed by Claude Emmenegger) with faceted hooded lugs, curved silhouettes that hug the wrist, and open dials to see the movements inside.
|Model||Royal Oak Concept|
|Type||Luxury Sports Watch|
|Material||Gold, Titanium, Forged Carbon,|
|Functions||Tourbillon, Supersonnerie, Flying Tourbillon GMT, Flying Tourbillon Chronograph, Laptimer, Openworked|
|Price||The titanium Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon GMT with a green ceramic bezel starts at $200,000. The limited edition Royal Oak Concept Black Panther Flying Tourbillon (made in collaboration with Marvel) retailed for around $150,000.|
At the “Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) 2019”, the company released – after five years in the making – its newest and most ambitious collection composed of 13 different references: the CODE 11.59. Naturally, the Audemars Piguet CODE 11.59 collection has welcomed other models since then.
At first glance, it can be challenging to fully appreciate the deceptively understated (as far as luxury horology goes) and somewhat traditional looks of the CODE 11.59 watches, but a closer look reveals some spectacular details. For instance, the design of the case – its most prominent feature – is both sleek and very complex, built with three different pieces incorporating an octagonal section in the middle, which is an homage to the tradition of the Royal Oak.
Furthermore, the double-curved sapphire crystals above the dials feature a unique architecture, which appears differently when viewed from various angles. The aventurine dials of select CODE 11.59 models, such as the Perpetual Calendar, are especially striking, mimicking the vistas of a starry night.
Along with brand new designs, the CODE 11.59 collection also debuted three new Audemars Piguet movements: Caliber 2950 (automatic flying tourbillon), Caliber 4401 (automatic flyback chronograph with column wheel and an instantaneously jumping date), Caliber 4302 (automatic time-and-date movement).
|Functions||Date, Chronograph, Perpetual Calendar, Minute Repeater, Tourbillon|
|Price||The simpler time and date CODE 11.59 starts at $34,300 while the chronograph version starts at $51,400. The CODE 11.59 Perpetual Calendar starts at $99,400.|
Another important product line of the Maison is the very classic Jules Audemars line, with its round case, which represents the brand’s take into the elegant world of dress watches. Apart from the simple two hands varieties, you end up with mechanical marvels such as the precious Jules Audemars Equation of Time.
A collection that’s named after one of the founders of the company, the Jules Audemars line is the expression of the more traditional aspect of the company, and the creation of its original designs, which were traditionally developed by Jules Audemars. The company history tells us that he was a tireless designer and innovator: by 1875, Jules Audemars had created about 20 complex movements, and he used his experience and tenacity so to develop them further and make the discoveries that the company used in its later products.
The Jules Audemars line caters to the most traditional and elegant wrists, for men and women. The precious, essential lines of the round cases show the purity of the forms and the contours, subtly enhanced by the contrasting finishes of the surfaces and the perfect embedding of gemstones.
The movements are equally impressive, several sporting the signature skeletonization typical of the Maison, and are available in complicated and grand complicated versions including tourbillon, minute repeaters, moonphases, and perpetual calendars.
|Model||Jules Audemars (discontinued)|
|Type||Dress Watches, Complicated Watches|
|Material||Stainless Steel, Gold, Titanium, Platinum|
|Functions||Date, Chronograph, Leap Year Calendar, Perpetual Calendar, GMT, Minute Repeater, Tourbillon, Equation Of Time|
|Price||The Jules Audemars is a discontinued collection. Pre-owned Jules Audemars watches can be purchased in the secondary market for prices anywhere from as low as $7,000 for simpler time-only variants to well over $250,000 for grand complication models.|
Launched in the mid-1990s to honor the upcoming new millennium, the Audemars Piguet Millenary series is one of the brand’s most avant-garde with ellipse-shaped cases, three-dimensional dials, and domed crystals. Always with an emphasis on creativity, the Millenary collection is also home to some intriguing complications and decorations. For instance, on some Millenary models, the escapement is built back-to-front for a unique view from the dial-side.
|Material||Stainless Steel, Carbon, Gold, Titanium, Platinum|
|Functions||Date, Small Seconds, GMT, Moon Phase, Perpetual Calendar, Tourbillon, Minute Repeater, Quadriennium, Star Wheel|
|Price||The Millenary is a discontinued collection. Pre-owned Millenary watches can be purchased in the secondary market for prices anywhere from as low as $5,000 for simpler time and date variants to well over $300,000 for gem-set complication models.|
Notable Patrons & Owners
As one of the “Big Three” of elite Swiss watchmaking, it’s not surprising that Audemars Piguet watches are a favorite among professional athletes, A-list celebrities, captains of industry, influential tastemakers, powerful politicians, and prominent watch collectors.
Here are just a few of the world’s most famous people who have been spotted with an Audemars Piguet watch on their wrist:
- Mark Ronson
- John Mayer
- Travis Scott
- Nick Jonas
- Ed Sheeran
- John Legend
- Justin Bieber
- J. Balvin
- Kevin Hart
- Mindy Kaling
- Damian Lewis as Bobby Axelrod
- Millie Bobby Brown
- Will Smith
- Priyanka Chopra
- LeBron James
- Alex Rodriguez
- Steph Curry
- Serena Williams
- Dominique Crenn
- Kevin O’Leary
- Kylie Jenner
- Bill Clinton
Collaborations & Sponsorships
Audemars Piguet is an active sponsor in several domains including golf, art, music, and philanthropic endeavors. The brand is also no stranger to collaborations.
Audemars Piguet has teamed up with Marvel to create the limited edition Black Panther watches, as well as jewelry designer Carolina Bucci to develop the popular frosted gold models.
In the past, the watchmaker has also collaborated with some of the biggest names in entertainment and sports to create special edition watches. Here are a few examples:
- Royal Oak Nick Faldo
- Jules Audemars Arnold Schwarzenegger
- Royal Oak Michael Schumacher
- Millenary Quincy Jones
- Royal Oak Chronograph Leo Messi
- Royal Oak Offshore Shaquille O’Neal
- Royal Oak Offshore Lebron James
- Royal Oak Offshore Queen Elizabeth II (QEII) Cup
- Royal Oak Chronograph. Sachin Tendulkar