Audemars Piguet is a watch brand with an illustrious history. They’re the last remaining family-owned watch business in the legendary Swiss Vallee de Joux, as well as the oldest family-owned watchmaker in the world. Over their more than 140 years in business, the brand has survived the quartz crisis, world wars, and many market changes to cement their place as a legend in the world fine watchmaking.
Audermars Piguet still manufactures their watches in the same building they started in in 1875 in Le Brauss, though they now have an additional smaller building nearby that they also use to conduct business. Recently, Audemars Piguet gave an inside look at their famous workshop to give the world a closer look at how their illustrious watches are produced.
Inside the Workshop
Inside the Audemars Piguet workshop, many old world techniques are used to create their timepieces. Fine watchmaking is complex and requires an expert hand. While many luxury watchmakers make around one million watches each year, Audemars Piguet chooses to release only 40,000 watches each year to ensure the high quality of their hand assembled watches.
In the workshop, all the workers have strictly defined roles. In fine watchmaking, there are 40 different professions used to create a luxury watch. At Audemars Piguet’s workshop, each employee is an expert at the task they perform, which can be as singular as being the person who replaces the watch’s working screws with the final ones or being the person who positions the watch hands for assembly. This highly specialized work ensures that no mistakes are made when creating an Audemars Piguet; not a single scratch or slightly misplaced movement is overlooked.
While many of the techniques used by Audemars Piguet are old world, they’ve embraced some new technologies. For example, the workroom of Audemars Piguet uses air pressure compensation technology that ensures that no dust can enter their watches.
Tests are constantly ongoing inside the workshop. These tests are done to ensure the quality of a watch after every step of the watchmaking process. Chronographs are checked for split-second accuracy, minute repeaters are monitored, and perpetual calendars are closely observed.
Some Audemars Piguet watches workshop require even more specialized attention than others. All of Audemars Piguet’s “grand complication” models are created only by their five most expert and experienced watchmakers. It takes six to eight months for these experts to create a single timepiece.
The look into Audemars Piguet’s workshop gave a glimpse into the great lengths the company goes to ensure that their watches are of only the finest quality. As Audemars Piguet goes into their 143rd year, they’re more committed to quality than ever and, from what we’ve seen, it’s clear that their illustrious reputation will only continue to grow.