Audemars Piguet a unique design

The Audemars repeats the unique design and the exceptional quality of the mecanism fully consistent with the authentic product.

Audemars Piguet. Independence, stability, controlled growth

AP is not satisfied with the famous Royal Oak manufacturer’s laurels; it tends to rank of a high-grade manufacture and conquest of world markets.
Taking Royal Oak Carbon Concept Tourbillon and Chronograph in one’s hands, it’s hard to believe once all or almost all watches will be so.
They are too unusual, unusually light, and almost weightless.
Such little weight does not fit the notion of “complicated watches” in our minds.
However, this is Audemars Piguet’s difference from the latest brands: it never produces anything just to impress the audience.
Every idea of its watch concept eventually turns into an element of normal, regular models, and even a trend.
So it happened with the famous Royal Oak octagon, which can be found in most companies’ collections in different variations.
So it was with a combination of “red gold – rubber”, which have now become a trend.
Even a new escapement shown two years ago did not remain just a collector’s toy.
The first series of watches with this escapement successfully passed all tests and are available for sale.
And in the coming years, most AP models will be equipped with it.
The company’s CEO says Audemars Piguet is planning to reduce prices of these mechanisms to normal levels with the increasing production.
So one should take a closer look to this year’s Royal Oak Carbon Concept Tourbillon and Chronograph, moreover, it opens a new direction in watchmaking.
Audemars Piguet a unique design
The title of the lightest watch in the world completely justifies itself: the first time not only case, but also mechanism’s platinum are made of carbon – almost weightless, but very durable material.
Some bridges are made of a special aluminum-based alloy and elements of the case most prone to deterioration, such as bezel, buttons and crown, – from ceramics.
Steel linear minute counter and a crown’s pointer (winding – adjustment of time – “neutral”), at the bottom of the dial became interesting design decisions that will certainly be picked up by other manufacturers.
We will not be surprised, if green color of aluminum bridges, coupled with black carbon fiber will be a season-2009 hit.

Audemars Piguet is one of those companies, which sacredly guards its independence and autonomy and belongs to the descendants of its founders to this day – Jasmine Audemars and Paulette Piguet.
True independence is impossible without own mechanisms.
And AP, in addition to assembly and manufacture of exclusive models, produces mechanisms for the greater part of its production watches, as well as other brands – for example, Chanel.
Since the early 2000’s, the company invests heavily in production.
Now most of the brand’s watches are equipped with their own AR3120 caliber.
This ultra-thin automatic mechanism was developed on the basis of one of the most common Jaeger-LeCoultre calibers.

Unlike most newly fledged factories, AP manufacturers consider their duty not only mechanism’s assembly work, but also creating a truly complete production cycle.
“What is the proper mechanism, if most details for it have to be purchased from suppliers? – CEO explains. –
We want to make our own mechanism from details we manufacture ourselves”.

For 2008, they planned an expansion of production facilities in Le Brasus, the total area of the factory should be increased by half times.
Perhaps, then, they will be able to fulfill the dream to equip all Audemars Piguet watches with their own “engines”.
In the meantime, it is not possible.
Demand is growing so fast, that production does not have time to adjust to changing orders.
The number of produced watches increased from 16 500 in 2000 to 27 400 units in the past year, the circulation changed even more: from 160 to 530 million francs.
Explaining these figures only with a general increase in interest to watch is not enough: the main company’s indicators are growing significantly faster, than the market as a whole.
2007 turned to be the most successful year, for which the company made more than 30 per cent leap in revenue.
Average price for Audemars Piguet watch increased more than twice over the years, what reflects an increase in the proportion of complex models in stock.
Audemars Piguet now has approximately 3% of the whole Swiss watchmaking proceeds – the industry will hardly get more than a dozen companies with such volume.

However, due to unstable global economic situation, experts expect a drop in demand for watches.
Stagnation in major markets forces watch companies’ managers revising the strategy.
This year AP declared a “controlled growth” as the main aim.
It is planned that in the near future it will be about 8% per year.
And the main efforts will be directed not to develop and capture new markets, but to ensure the company’s long-term sustainability.

AP earned its fame due to creation of complex watches – such as, for example, the world’s smallest mechanism with repeater in 1891.
But today Royal Oak is the brand’s face.
This model can be called the first watch of “sport plus glamor” style.
This collection that is wildly popular in many countries accounts for 75% of sales.
Such dependence on one model is fraught with danger (eg, an increase of Royal Oak clones in the market), and the company decided to strengthen other lines, first of all – classic and woman’s collections.
The result – the issue of Millenary models in 2007 that showed good sales.
Novelties presented at the SIHH-2008 again accounted for women’s models; an advertising campaign will also be devoted to them.
By 2010, the proportion of Royal Oak will be reduced to 62%.

Interesting fact: at the end of the last century, AP with InvestCorp owned major shareholder of several well-known and respected watch brands.
The company sold these assets to free up additional resources for production.
Looking at today’s successes of brands they once owned, Audemars Piguet owners sometimes expresses regret they once parted with such interesting brands.
But the step’s correctness in terms of basic company’s values – independence and autonomy – is proved with time and brilliant results achieved in recent years.