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Jules Audemars, aged 23, and Edward Piguet, aged 21, founded Audemars Piguet in 1875, in the Vallée de Joux, which is considered by many to be the cradle of prestigious watchmaking. Audemars started producing component parts for movements and Piguet got the job as a repasseur, whose job it is to make the final regulation of the timepiece. They founded a firm later known as Audemars Piguet et Cie. Since 1882, members of the Audemars and Piguet families have always sat at the Board of directors and directly or indirectly run the company.
Audemars managed the production and monitoring the technical part, and Piguet focusing on sales. However, instant success was not to come. The two talented watchmakers focused on the production of accurate watches with sophisticated mechanisms. After the company formation, Audemars Piguet opened its new branch in Geneva. Since 1889, the company has created its own components and assemblies within its manufactory. Quality control has always been strict, and only products of the highest quality are permitted to be launched into the market. Between 1894 and 1899 the company produced about 1,200 timepieces. These included many watch complications. When the founders Jules Audemars and Edward Piguet died, in 1918 and 1919 respectively, the company continued its activity steadily growing and expanding its fame and prestige. Later Audemars Piguet launched several watches such as the world's smallest minute repeater and a jumping second pocket watch. In 1925 Audemars Piguet amazed its supporters with the release of its thinnest pocket watch. Only three years later the company created the world's first skeletonized watch. As the success of the company's business grew, its customer base expanded to include Tiffany & Co, Cartier and Bulgari. During World War II the manufacturer began producing ultra-thin chronographs, the heart of which was Calibre 2003. The sales of Audemars Piguet grew further in the forties and fifties. Together with Jaeger LeCoultre it designed the thinnest automatic movement. The latter included a 21 carat gold rotor placed in the center. In 1972 AP launched a line of mechanical watches with hexagonal screws that fastened a porthole-like bezel. Thus was born the Royal Oak, in honor of the British Royal Navy's line of ships bearing the same name. The Royal Oak is among many of the most specialized and complex watches produced by this famous manufactory, and, designed by Gerald Genta, easily the most recogizable. Today Audemars Piguet maintains one of the leading positions in Swiss watchmaking. Audemars Piguet produces less than 16,000 watches each year, equating to less than 45 for each day of the year. Thus, when one wears an Audemars Piguet wristwatch, one is wearing a rare watch indeed.
Jules Audemars and Edward Piguet were both in their early twenties when they founded Audemars Piguet in 1875. In 1972 AP launched a line of mechanical watches with hexagonal screws that fastened a porthole-like bezel. Thus was born the Royal Oak, in honor of the British Royal Navy's line of ships bearing the same name. The Royal Oak is among many of the most specialized and complex watches produced by this famous manufactory.
Like many other brands of luxury watches, Audemars Piguet has a number of ambassadors, including tennis player Novak Djokovic; Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar; Formula One racecar drivers Sebastien Buemi, Rubens Barrichello, Juan Pablo Montoya and Jarno Trulli; Argentinean footballer Leo Messi; professional basketball player LeBron James; pro golfer Rory McIlroy and Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh.
Audemars Piguet's signature line continues to be the Royal Oak and its sportier offshoot, the Royal Oak Offshore. Each year, AP releases special and limited edition timepieces from these two collections to its adoring collectors, many of whom have more than a few Audemars Piguet Royal Oaks and Royal Oak Offshores in their existing collection.
Limited editions are especially desirable within the Audemars Piguet brand and in recent years have included: Royal Oak Offshore Grand Prix Chronograph in forged carbon & titanium, gold and platinum; Royal Oak Offshore Rubens Barrichello Chronograph in Titanium, Gold and Platinum, Royal Oak Offshore Shaquille O'Neal Chronograph in steel with and without diamonds; Offshore editions celebrating anniversaries of several countries including Mexico (Pride of Mexcio) and Russia (Pride of Russia); and watches with colorful dials and names such as the Volcano, Bumblebee, End of Days, T3, Alinghi, and Survivor; and editions specifically linked to the launch of a new AP boutique, such as the Ginza, Rue St-Honore, Rodeo Drive, Worth Avenue, Orchard Road, and Rhone Fusterie.