The company Audemars Piguet & Cie., Manufacture d’Horlogerie was jointly founded in 1881 by 24-year-old Jules-Louis Audemars and his friend, the 22-year-old Edward-Auguste Piguet in the Swiss Jura village of Le Brassus. They both shared a strong passion for building unique and special watches and before founding the company worked from their own homes as was the tradition with watchmakers during this era.
The modern luxury watch Royal Oak, designed by Gérald Genta, has become the company’s best known timepiece. Its bold design drew great attention to its appearance as the first luxury steel watch in the year 1972 and can now be regarded as a timeless icon of watch history.
The masculine sports version of the Royal Oak, known as "Royal Oak Offshore“, was also a success. The company used limited or special editions of this model to gain publicity with well planned product placements and sponsorships such as in movies (Arnold Schwarzenegger wore them in the movies "End of Days" and "Terminator 3"), in racing ("Juan Pablo Montoya“), as well as being the sponsor of the team of the America's Cup champion Alinghi with the specially-built models ("Alinghi“, "Alinghi Polaris“, "Alinghi Team“).
The numerous special editions of both the Royal Oak and the Royal Oak Offshore are the two most popular and best selling models amongst watch fans as well as watch connoisseurs. There are sportier versions and different designs of the basic models. The Royal Oak has always been known for its complications as well. The Royal Oak Grande Complication, for instance, has a considerable number of additional functions such as: flyback chronograph, week display, minute repeater and perpetual calendar with moon phase.
And the Royal Oak Chronograph Tourbillon even introduced a tourbillon version. The Audemars Piguet cases offer a wide range of possibilities, from the stainless steel of the original model to yellow gold, rose gold and white gold, to platinum, but also to new experimental materials such as carbon.