In Kanye and Jay-Z’s hit new song “Paris” off the album Watch the Throne, Jay-Z raps, “Audemars that’s losin’ time, hidden behind all these big rocks.” While this line may go over most of their audience’s head, it’s an instant recognizer to any watch enthusiast.
The history of the Audemars Piguet watches began over a hundred years ago in Geneva, Switzerland in 1889. The company was known early on for producing very complex watches for the time, such as creating the world’s thinnest pocket-watch in 1925 and the world’s first skeleton watch in 1928. In fact, AP is one of top three original Swiss watchmakers along with Patek Phillipe and Vacheron Constantin.
Though the Depression era slowed the luxury watch company down, for obvious reasons, the brand was able to make a comeback during the World War II era. It did this by producing one of its most well known models, an ultra-thin display watch that can be used as a stopwatch called a chronograph. This watch caused the sales of Audemars Piguet to expand worldwide throughout the 1940s and 50s. Through the following decades, the brand designed the thinnest automatic movement watch, the world’s thinnest wristwatch, and their famous “Royal Oak” watch, which is considered to have created the market for the stainless steel luxury watch.
Audemars Piguet also gained a reputation over the years for producing high-quality watches for Tiffany & Co and Bulgari to be re-banded under their own names. Though the name Audemars Piguet is generally not as recognizable as Rolex, their company produces watches of a much higher quality. The AP website boasts that much of their watch-making is done by hand and can take months to complete, and that each timepiece manufactured in-house is still made using old-fashioned tools.
These watches are still now made and tested thoroughly; the movement components inside each watch is highly complex and involves thousands of millimeter precision, while more common brands such as Rolex are almost all machine made and not nearly as accurate. But there is a price to be paid for such luxury. Depending on model and special features, an Audemars Piguet watch can go anywhere from five thousand to a hundred thousand dollars. So, it’s no wonder Jay-Z has one.
The brand is also keeping with the modern times. Audemars Piguet has several celebrity “ambassadors” they sponsor, such as top of the line athletes LeBron James and Lionel Messi.
Click here to view a selection of Audemars Piguet Watches on WatchesOnNet.com.