|The ten-year partnership agreement that would extend into a rich history of
watchmaking excellence was signed by Jules Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet on December
17th in 1881. Having completed their apprenticeships with the watchmaking craftsman of La
Vallée de Joux in Le Brassus, both were intent on building a reputation as daring
pioneers in high performance watch movements. They did not disappoint the world. Today,
producing only 15,000 watches per year, their hand-assembled, individually numbered and
signed watches are considered to be among the world's most beautiful and lasting
By the turn of the century, Audemars Piguet watches were well known for their distinctive designs, their use of extremely high grade materials and their signature ultra-flat movements. Audemars Piguet watches caused a stir in the watchmaking world with their 1899 Paris World Fair introduction of the Grande Complication Savonette pocket watch. In 1911, Audemars Piguet introduced the first jeweled wristwatch, set with diamonds. Continuing to push the limits of technical design, in 1946 Audemars Piguet introduced the thinnest wristwatch ever crafted with a 1.64 mm movement. The watchmakers followed that achievement decades later with the introduction of the thinnest automatic movement, 2.45mm with a 21K gold rotor.
The Royal Oak, the watch that would become the standard bearer of the house's watchmaking tradition, was launched in 1970. Inspired by both royal and naval tradition, the collection's unique porthole-shaped octagonal design, set with eight hexagonal screws, came to represent a perfect balance between power and elegance.
Not content to rest on its laurels, Audemars Piquet then set out to create the most complicated watch in history. The result was the Triple Complication, featuring 12 different functions and 600 parts which activate a perpetual calendar allowing for self-adjusting leap years. Housed in a case only 8.55mm thick, the automatic movement with 52 jewels and a rotor of 18K gold is entirely handmade. Requiring four months of setting and adjustment, only five are completed each year. Today, the Audemars Piguet collection of Complications include such contemporary designs as the Automatic Tourbillon, the Grande Sonniere and the Starwheel.The launch of the Millenary line introduced a horizontal oval case design and such novel features as an "inertia-block" balance that prevents disturbances due to internal phenomena. The Millenary collection is available in a broad range of technical models including the Chronograph, the Dual Time, the ultra-flat Automatic Perpetual Calendar, the Aviateur, the Day Date, and the Day Date Month. Audemars Piguet women's watches include the Carnegie featuring the barrel-shaped design preferred by Andrew Carnegie, the Opera, the Grande Dame and the Roberta lines.
Audemars Piguet Watches at Ashford