Audemars Piguet— a luxury brand synonymous with Haute Horlogerie — is a Swiss watch manufacturer that’s been offering some of the best luxury watches in the world since 1875. The brand’s most famous model, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, paved the way for the rise of luxury sports watches.
Audemars Piguet: An Innovative Pioneer in Watchmaking
Audemars Piguet, or AP to the watch enthusiasts, rests at the pinnacle of Swiss watchmaking alongside other luxury giants, such as Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin. These three brands are considered the “Big 3” of the watchmaking industry. Not to mention, Audemars Piguet boasts being family-run since its establishment.
Patrons of the brand range from sports icons like Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams to singer Jay-Z and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger. For almost a century and a half, the company has been providing classic timepieces that transcend generations. With its heavy affiliation with various sports and creative industries, Audemars Piguet offers designs that flawlessly blend modern and vintage aesthetics.
Unlike other watch brands, Audemars Piguet’s offerings only consist of select models that AP designers put a lot of heart and soul into. However, these are classic models that have their own loyal patrons.
Stainless steel, titanium, gold, platinum
Date, annual calendar, leap year calendar, perpetual calendar, GMT, tourbillon, equation of Time
Royal Oak Offshore
Stainless steel, stainless steel and
gold, gold, ceramic, platinum,
Date, chronograph flyback chronograph, perpetual calendar, minute repeater, tourbillon
Royal Oak Concept
White gold, pink gold, titanium
Tourbillon, chimes, GMT
Pink gold, white gold
Date, chronograph, perpetual calendar, tourbillon, chimes
Stainless steel, titanium, gold, platinum
Date, chronograph, leap year calendar, perpetual calendar, GMT, tourbillon, equation of time
Stainless steel, carbon, gold, titanium, platinum
Date, small seconds, moon phase, perpetual calendar, tourbillon, GMT, minute repeater
Prices for the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak: A Pioneer of Luxury Sports Watches
At the 1972 BaselWorld, Audemars Piguet introduced a classic in the making — the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. It’s a luxury steel watch, featuring an integrated bracelet design. It was launched as AP’s response to the Quartz Crisis that shook the Swiss watchmaking industry. With the idea that the market will collapse if nobody releases a disruptive change, Georges Golay, Audemars Piguet’s managing director at the time, commissioned Genta on the eve of the 1971 Basel fair. The following morning, Genta presented a design that would become the Royal Oak. The watch, as expected, comes in a stainless steel case, featuring the same octagonal bezel with exposed screws that we know and love today. One of its most distinguishable details includes the “tapisserie ” dial that gives the watch even more distinct dimensions.
The Royal Oak has since spawned many iterations, such as the Offshore and the Royal Concept. Each of these collections comes with complications of its own. A 39mm Audemars Piguet Royal Oak costs about $27,700 USD. Its price appears to be on a steady rise. Thus, making the Royal Oak Ref. 15202 a safe investment timepiece.
Vintage Audemars Piguet men’s watches come at a higher price, up to three times more expensive than its retail price. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Ref. 5402 watches can cost up to $29,500 USD. Meanwhile, white gold AP Royal Oak watches cost way higher at $58,700 USD.
The Royal Oak doesn’t only come at 39mm. The 41mm Royal Oak Self-winding is a favorite among collectors for its size. Its price starts at $18,000 USD. It also poses a good investment as its price continues on an upward trend in recent years.
Prices for the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore: The Adventurer’s Sports Watch
Almost two decades since the launch of the Royal Oak, a second-generation designer working for Audemars Piguet introduced a new concept that reimagines its predecessor. Emmanuel Gueit presented a sketch that gives the Royal Oak a sportier appeal, calling it the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore. It is bigger and more rugged with features fit for outdoor adventures. The Royal Oak just became a timepiece for adventurers collectors, further expanding its clientele.
However, its development was no fairy tale. The creator of the Offshore had to work on it alone with little support from his colleagues. Luckily, his superiors found potential on the watch. The management of Audemars Piguet gave Gueit the opportunity not only to head the development of the new watch but to name it as well.
While the Royal Oak remains as the inspiration for this timepiece, the Offshore became a timepiece of its own. It had characteristics that can’t be associated with Genta’s creation. Firstly, it’s way bigger at 42mm. While a lot of people would claim that this is nothing new for a sports watch, in 1993, this was not the norm. At the time of its launch, the Royal Oak Offshore earned the title “The Beast” due to its size.
To add to the increased case size, it also comes with a chronograph complication. This is one of the defining characteristics of the Royal Oak Offshore. It also comes with a huge black gasket on the bezel as well as silicon caps for the chronograph pushers and crown. To increase the watch’s durability, it also comes with an anti-magnetic cover. Generally, the Royal Oak Offshore is the Royal Oak’s sportier big brother, size-wise.
Today, the Royal Oak Offshore comes with a tachymeter scale that proves even more useful for sports advantages.
So, how much are the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore watches? Well, a brand new Royal Oak Offshore costs about $21,100 USD in retail. However, you can get a pre-owned version for a few thousand less. Some may increase in prices depending on its production year. This further proves that vintage Audemars Piguet men’s watches remain a top choice among collectors.
For approximately $35,000 USD, you can purchase the special-edition Royal Oak Offshore launched in 2018. The timepiece with reference 26237ST takes inspiration directly from the original 1993 Offshore. At a similar price, you may covet a rose gold iteration of the Royal Oak Offshore.
The collection continues to expand to this day, including more complications such as a minute repeater and a perpetual calendar. The most expensive Royal Oak Offshore comes at a whopping $892,000 USD. It’s the 44mm Royal Oak Offshore Grande Complication with a rose gold case and a skeletonized design.
Prices for the Audemars Piguet Code 11.59: AP’s Most Controversial Watch
When the brand launched the Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 in 2019, it was met with criticisms. AP made a huge deal of its launch which made people a tad upset with the outcome. It’s quite a marvel, however, with a case that’s round and octagonal at the same time. If you’re looking at it from the top of the dial, you can see a classic timepiece. However, the details of the dial appear to give it an octagonal shape.
By the looks of the watch, Audemars Piguet gave this timepiece a lot of thought. It shows gold details that make it one of the showiest timepieces from the brand. AP came up with the gold logo on the watch through a process called galvanic growth. This process appears to be similar to 3D printing.
With 13 models launched on its debut, the Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 didn’t meet quite the hype AP expected it to have. However, just like most modern classics, the criticisms were only part of the parade. Today, it’s one of the best-selling timepieces from the brand. With its masterful design, many people learned to appreciate this watch’s merits.
Just like the Royal Oak collection, the Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 comes with various iterations. Among those include a tourbillon and a minute repeater. With that, the price of this timepiece can only be defined in ranges. It goes from $27,000 USD to $300,000 USD, depending on its complication, material, and design.
Prices for the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept: The More Complex Royal Oak
At the 30th anniversary of the Royal Oak, Audemars Piguet launched the Royal Oak concept. It’s a tribute to the original timepiece that changed the course of watchmaking history through the years. The Royal Oak concept features the foundations of a Royal Oak watch — the octagonal bezel and exposed screws. AP built upon this by adding a certain flair to each of its offerings. It boasts a certain flair as well as engineering marvels that prove useful in the modern era.
Firstly, it comes with a case made from Alacrite 602. This alloy — or superalloy — comes from the aeronautical industry. At the time of its creation, it’s the hardest material anyone can find. It also comes with various complications that make them even more special. Among those include a flying tourbillon GMT, a minute-repeater, and a supersonnerie.
The Royal Oak Concept also comes with a stunning open-heart design that gives its wearer an in-depth view of its makings. It can also come bejewelled, making it one of the most expensive Royal Oak iterations yet. So, how much is this Audemars Piguet watch?
With its state-of-the-art technology, it’s safe to say that the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept rests on the more expensive scale. As a watch that’s more defined as Haute Horlogerie, it goes beyond function as its aesthetic is more on display. The Royal Oak Concept Supersonnerie comes with a $560,000 USD price tag in retail. It can cost even more depending on the dial material. Meanwhile, the Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon Chronograph is the most expensive yet at about $250,000 USD.
The prices of the Audemars Piguet timepieces will no doubt be higher over the years. This is mostly due to the materials where they’re made of as well as diamond studs they may come with.
Prices for the Audemars Piguet Jules Audemars: An Elegant Dress Watch
The Audemars Piguet Jules Audemars collection, as its name suggests, pays tribute to its founder. It offers a line of elegant timepieces, perfect as dress watches. These are three-hand timepieces usually with a small seconds sub-dial. The collection also comes with other configurations like chimes, tourbillons, and minute repeater. As expected, it also comes with a perpetual calendar iteration.
One of its most popular models is the Grande Complication that comes with a perpetual calendar. It also features a moon phase display, a chronograph, as well as a minute repeater. It also comes with Extra-Thin iterations with a minute and hour hand. At 6.7 mm, it’s a dress watch perfect for tucking under shirt cuffs.
Audemars Piguet men’s dress watches come at a pretty reasonable price especially for the simple two or three-hand versions. You can get one for as low as $23,500 USD. A vintage Audemars Piguet Jules Audemars can be a couple of thousand dollars cheaper as well. However, Jules Audemars watches can still be expensive, depending on the complication and even material. The Jules Audemars Tourbillon Chronograph in Platinum comes with a $260,000 USD price tag.
The most expensive Audemars Piguet watch from the Jules Audemars Collection is the Jules Audemars Grande Complication in platinum. It’s priced at a whopping $700,000 USD.
Prices for the Audemars Piguet Millenary: A Conversation Starter Timepiece
Any experienced collector will be able to identify the Audemars Piguet Millenary collection at a glance. It features a unique oval case with decentralized dials. It also provides a great view of the calibre it comes with. As people know, AP goes in-depth when it comes to decorating its timepieces. Even its movements have intricacies on their own.
Launched 1995, this timepiece is one of the steady sellers from the brand. This unique dress watch is more than just a fashion accessory but a conversation starter timepiece. The Audemars Piguet Millenary collection comes with many configurations, including an array of case sizes that range from 39.5 mm to 47mm. Millenary men’s watches also come with various designs like diamond-studded cases. The complications that may come in these watches include a minute repeater and tourbillon. Some models include a semi-perpetual calendar that has to be manually corrected every four years.
As one of the cheapest Audemars Piguet men’s watches, the Millenary watch can only cost $17,000 USD. The pre-owned marker also comes with even more affordable price tags. If you’re looking for a more refined case that comes in 18K rose gold, you may avail one at about $28,500 USD.
Audemars Piguet’s Colourful History
The company’s history is a rich story of watchmaking excellence. In 1875, Jules-Louis Audemars launched the company after completing his repasseur education. The repasseur (inspector in English) checks the watch’s quality and function before it leaves the manufacture. The repasseur, then, logs and corrects any mistakes made during the assembly and then puts together the timepiece themselves. The company headquartered in Le Brassus, Switzerland, a Swiss valley that witnessed the launch of other Swiss giants such as Blancpain, Jaeger-LeCoultre, and Breguet.
During the foundation of the company, Audemar’s childhood friend Edward-Auguste Piguet supported his pursuit. Piguet, like Audemars, also trained as an inspector. By 1881, Audemars Piguet & Cie was born, which was later renamed as “Audemars Piguet”. The company produced high-quality complicated pocket watches that featured complications like perpetual calendars, minute repeaters, as well as chronographs. The company found huge success with the Grande Complication pocket watch by winning the 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris. Since then, Audemars Piguet only moved up the ladder in the field of horology.
Audemars Piguet has a long history of breaking with convention, introducing their first wristwatches towards the end of the 19th century when pocket watches were still the norm.
Audemars Piguet’s Milestones and Innovations
Audemars Piguet served as an innovator in the industry. Back when pocket watches were still common in the market, AP crafted one of the world’s first wristwatches. During the end of the 19th century, only a few manufactures did this. Aside from this, they also released an 18mm movement that features a minute repeater function. This remains to be the smallest movement with such complication to date.
Audemars Piguet takes horology beyond engineering, crossing into the world of Haute Horlogerie. The astonishing beauty of its timepieces became one of the reasons why they’ve become so valuable over the years. Vintage Audemars Piguet men’s watches cost millions as they served as a gateway to innovation in their field.
For instance, the Royal Oak remains to this day the most popular watch from the brand. AP, together with the visionary mind of Gérald Genta, crafted a timepiece that fought through a crisis, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. It’s a distinct piece that’s more than just a steel sports watch but also a pioneer in a genre of watches that will later include the likes of the Patek Philippe Nautilus — also a Genta masterpiece. It’s a reminder of how Audemars Piguet started the ever-thriving business of luxury sports men’s watches.
But the Royal Oak is only the beginning of many feats to follow. Another Royal Oak that made headlines is the Royal Oak RD#2, a 6.3 mm tall watch with an automatic calibre and a perpetual calendar. It’s the world’s flattest with such a complication that it’s thinner than the 8.3 mm Royal Oak "Jumbo" Extra-Thin.
Audemars Piguet Chronographs
Since it launched, Audemars Piguet has been putting out excellent timepieces one after another. Given that, the brand also proves itself an expert when it comes to chronographs. As early as 1844, chronographs have been on the works by Charles Adolphe Nicole. However, AP pioneered pocket watches with a zeroing mechanism. Henri Férréol Piguet gave birth to the chronograph as we know it today.
Audemars Piguet and its founders found great value in this complication. Proven by its records, the company invested a lot on chronographs. For a decade from the 1880s to the 1990s, out of 1,625 pocket watches, AP produced 627 chronographs. Among these, 299 feature a fly-back function and 6 with jumping seconds.
From large productions of chronographs, AP witnesses a decline as three-hand and two-hand wristwatches become the norm. In fact, when everyone else was making chronographs after the second world war, Audemars Piguet altogether abandoned the complication. Then came the 1980s when AP started rolling out small batches of chronographs.
The company only went all out with chronographs at the launch of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore. This even sportier version of the Royal Oak comes with a chronograph that many people patronized. Since the launch of the Offshore, AP continues to introduce chronograph complications on its collections. Some chronographs even come with a calendar, minute repeaters, or even a tourbillon.
Vintage Audemars Piguet Watches
While AP sits at the top of Swiss luxury watchmakers alongside Vacheron Constantin and Patek Philippe, vintage Audemars Piguet men’s watches rank number 1 as the rarest. Not everyone can find a good quality vintage on a seller without encountering fakes or altered ones. Some auctions hold really great vintage Audemars Piguet watches but they, of course, come at extreme costs. The most popular vintages you can find on the market would obviously be the early Royal Oaks or pre-war chronographs. The price of vintage Audemars Piguet men’s watches can start from $90,000 USD to millions of dollars.
Famous People and Audemars Piguet
As an avid collector, it’s impossible for John Mayer not to have an AP watch. Mayer has been open about his collections. However, the collectors’ world was disrupted when Mayer sported a vintage Royal Oak during a self-styled shoot with GQ Magazine. And just like that, Mayer became the man who made dealers and collectors stock up on the very model he wore.
Audemars Piguet never runs out of watches for athletes. One of its most prominent patrons is basketball living legend, Steph Curry. The NBA superstar has been seen with two AP watches, a Royal Oak and a Royal Oak Offshore. The athlete has been seen with these timepieces on several occasions, most prominently when he swept all the NBA awards in 2016.
Drake has been known to collect timepieces himself. Most of his collection include customized watches by famous designers like Virgil Abloh who bejewelled his Nautilus. Drake, too, owns a Royal Oak. You can’t expect the hip-hop icon to miss out on this timepiece. His Royal Oak, as usual, comes with unique customization by Alyx and Givenchy designer Matthew Williams. Instead of a tapisserie dial, Drake’s Royal Oak comes clean with a brushed dial.
Audemars Piguet boasts its heavy affiliation with the sports. It’s no wonder why icons from various sports don the watch. Another athlete on our list, tennis legend Serena Williams wears her Royal Oak during games. She even wore it on that one image printed on Wheaties boxes. Her Royal Oak is no typical one either. It’s a custom-made Royal Oak with the pushers placed on the left rather than the right so it’s easier to wear during games.
If you’re a fan of late-night talk shows or casually surfs the web for entertaining YouTube videos, then you’ve probably come across a Carpool Karaoke video. These videos have gained popularity since late-night host James Corden made it a permanent segment of his show. In the segment, celebrities accompany Corden on his ride on the way to work. As a watch enthusiast, it’s hard to ignore the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Self-winding on his wrist. It’s a constant on his rides — as frequent as the times the segment has been viewed on YouTube!
Audemars Piguet: Luxury and Innovation on the Wrist
With Audemars Piguet’s heritage and achievements in the industry, owning a watch from the brand becomes a dream by many watch enthusiasts. And the fact that it is one of the ‘Big 3’ in the Swiss watchmaking industry alongside Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin truly makes Audemars Piguet a coveted watch brand.
Audemars Piguet Watches
Audemars Piguet stepped up the what it meant to be a watch manufacturer with their beautiful, complicated watches. When you’re looking for a sophisticated, durable, but still bold statement piece - Audemars Piguet has got it with two of their most popular collections between their Royal Oak and their Royal Oak Offshore.