Renowned Swiss fine timepiece manufacturer Audemars Piguet has debuted its South Coast Plaza boutique, an Orange County exclusive. Inspired by the brand’s home in the Swiss Jura Mountains, the 1,200 sq.-ft. boutique has an understated and handsome contemporary aesthetic accented by curated sculptures and a dramatic photograph of alpine trees rising above rolling fog.
Among the men’s and women’s timepieces on display are the new Royal Oak Offshore models and the latest women’s novelties such as the Royal Oak Frosted Gold Selfwinding in 34mm, available for the first time with a light blue tapisserie dial.
The origins of Audemars Piguet date back to the 1800s, when Jules Louis Audemars (1851–1918) and Edward Auguste Piguet (1853–1919), two young and ambitious watchmakers, established their workshop in 1875 in their home village of Le Brassus. Believing in the power of the Vallée de Joux’s network of artisanship and following their firm convictions, they set on crafting unique complicated mechanisms by hand at a time when serial production was looming with the rise of industrialization.
Refined chiming, chronograph and astronomical watches, assembled and finished by hand, have remained the beating heart of Audemars Piguet ever since.
Among the watches in the Swiss maison’s history, the Royal Oak remains the most iconic. Designed by Gérald Genta and introduced in 1972, the Royal Oak was unexpected, with its large 39 mm tonneau-shaped case, octagonal bezel with eight exposed hexagonal screws, engine-turned “Tapisserie” dial, faceted bracelet and body of hand-finished steel. This watch broke the mold of design codes at a time when most dress watches for men were round, smaller in size, classic in design and made of precious metals. Genta’s idea was to protect the world’s thinnest self-winding movement with tough armor: stainless steel. An unconventional material in haute horlogerie then and much harder to work with than gold, steel was elevated for the first time to the same status as gold.
THE ROYAL OAK WOMENS NOVELTIES
ROYAL OAK OFFSHORE SELF-WINDING CHRONOGRAPH 42MM PETITE
ROYAL OAK OFFSHORE SELF-WINDING CHRONOGRAPH 42MM MEGA
ROYAL OAK OFFSHORE SELF-WINDING CHRONOGRAPH 43 MM
The Royal Oak has since grown to become a series prized by horological connoisseurs, along with other notable timepieces in the Audemars Piguet collection, including the Millenary and the Jules Audemars Grande Complication. As for Audemars Piguet, the company has become one of the world’s most esteemed Swiss timepiece maisons, while remaining independent, family-owned and still rooted where it all began – in Le Brassus.