Known as the ‘gilded age’, the 1890s were a time of rapid change and industrialisation, a setting that suited innovators and entrepreneurs. It is unsurprising then that the first wrist watch, with its state of the art mechanisms and increased portability, was launched by Audemars Piguet in 1891.
The pioneering attitude that made Audemars Piguet’s name supported them through the Great Depression and the Second World War and is visible in technically brilliant designs such as the Skeleton Watch in 1934. It was in the seventies, however, that Audemars Piguet became one of the most sought after brands in the industry. With a steel casing and exposed screws, The Royal Oak was more akin to a diving helmet than a gentleman’s watch, but it was this strikingly taboo design that became the most famous of Audemar Piguet models. Launched in 1972, The Royal Oak was the first luxury sports watch to be released; Audemar Piguet had once again read the mood of the time correctly. Discipline and imagination have ensured that the company has stayed true to its history, with watches made of everything from titanium and 602 alacrite to moss agate, the Audemar Piguet’s position at the forefront of horological design enables it to live up to its slogan ‘to break the rules, you must first master them’.