|Founder(s)||Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet|
|Headquarters||Le Brassus, Switzerland|
|Revenue||CHF195 million (2002)|
|Owner(s)||Audemars, Piguet and three other families|
The roots of Audemars Piguet date back to 1874, when the 23-year-old Jules Louis Audemars met Edward Auguste Piguet, then only 21, at Vallée de Joux, they were both born in Le Brassus. When they graduated from school, they went to Vallée de Joux to start working together in watch manufacturing.
Thus Audemars started producing component parts for movements and Piguet got the job of a repasseur, maker the final regulation of the timepiece. In 1875, they founded a firm later known as Audemars, Piguet et Cie.
Since 1882, members of the Audemars and Piguet families have always been on the board of directors and have, therefore, directly or indirectly run the company.
The business started with Audemars managing the production and technical part, and Piguet focusing on sales, and success was not immediate. The Audemars Piguet trademark was registered in 1882; however, it would be seven years later that the company was officially founded. At this point, Audemars Piguet et Cie became one of the largest employers for watch-making in the whole of Vaud, southwestern Switzerland.
Between 1894 and 1899, the company produced about 1,200 timepieces, including some very complex watches. When Audemars and Piguet died, in 1918 and 1919 respectively, the company steadily grew and became more famous. As the success of the company's business was rising, its customers became Tiffany & Co, Cartier, and Bulgari, who rebranded and sold Audemars Piguet watches under their own house names. Today, these watches are only identifiable as Audemars Piguet products by their serial numbers.
Later, Audemars Piguet launched several watches like the smallest minute repeater in the world and a jumping second hand (i.e. the second hand jumps from second to second in quanta rather than progressively) pocket watch. In 1925, Audemars Piguet introduced the world's thinnest pocket watch, at 1.32 millimeters. Only three years later the company created the first skeleton watch.
At the end of 1920s and the beginning of 1930s the success of Audemars Piguet started dimming. The crash of the stock market as well as the Depression slowed the development of many Swiss companies.
During World War II the manufacturer was able to come back on the market by producing a range of ultra-thin chronograph models, notably the Calibre 2003. The sales of Audemars Piguet started growing in the 1940s and 1950s. Together with Jaeger-LeCoultre it designed the thinnest automatic movement. The latter included a 21 carat gold rotor placed in the center. Their "Royal Oak", which uses a custom Jaeger-leCoultre movement, was produced in 1972 and is considered to have created the market for the stainless steel luxury watch. It was designed by Gerald Genta.
Today, the company, along with Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin & Jaeger-LeCoultre, is sometimes claimed to be one of the "big four" Swiss watchmakers. Every timepiece manufactured in-house is still made using the old-fashioned hand-made technique.
The Audemars Piguet watch group is composed of 1,100 employees, fourteen distribution subsidiaries and sixteen boutiques around the world. It comprises three production sites: Le Brassus (SA de la Manufacture d'Horlogerie Audemars Piguet & Cie), LeLocle (Audemars Piguet: Renaud et Papi SA), and Meyrin (Centror SA).
The manufacture Audemars Piguet produces 26,000 timepieces per year.
In 2007, Audemars Piguet offered its support to the Clinton Foundation. The Foundation works around the world on global issues, including education, health, poverty issues, and fight against HIV/AIDS. The company created the Jules Audemars Clinton Foundation Equation of Time watch in a limited edition of 126 pieces. The watch incorporated complex astronomical features. It shows sunrise and sunset times, perpetual calendar, and astronomical moon.
Audemars Piguet was a sponsor of Team Alinghi, winners of the America's Cup in 2003, making a series of Alinghi limited edition watches.
Like many other brands of luxury watches, Audemars Piguet has a number of ambassadors, including: Novak Djokovic, Sachin Tendulkar, Michael Schumacher, Lionel Messi, Sebastien Buemi, LeBron James, Michelle Yeoh, Diamant Lulaj, among many other personalities and athletes.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (January 2012)|
Audemars Piguet has made a number of special and limited edition watches for celebrities and athletes. They include Sachin Tendulkar, Rubens Barrichello, Jarno Trulli, Quincy Jones, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sebastien Buemi, Shaquille O'Neal, Lionel Messi, LeBron James, Rory McIlroy and Jay-Z.
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- Audemars Piguet (2008). "Partnerships". Archived from the original on 2008-02-11. Retrieved 2008-05-29.
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