Have you ever heard the term “Holy Trinity of Watch Making?” Well, it’s a term used when referring to the top three watchmakers that represent the modern legend of the industry. Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe are two of these three brands—Vacheron Constantin is the third.
In today’s world of watches where there are not one, two, or three, but many watchmakers and a few of these brands have, in all honesty, worked their way into the top echelon of horology. These three brands stand out. They got the name “Holy Trinity of watches” back in 1970. Each of these Swiss watch brands keeps seeking to outdo the other and, therefore, they set standards in style and innovative competition in the industry. That makes the Audemars Piguet vs Patek Philippe debate tough to analyze.
Reputation and quality are everything in the world of horology. As each brand keeps fighting for a legacy of greatness, users are more concerned about deciding which one is best. That’s why in the following paragraphs of this article, we will do a head-to-head analysis of the Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe brands. By the time you’re done reading, we hope you will be able to make an informed decision.
- Audemars Piguet History—Origin, Development, and Evolution Till Date
- Patek Philippe History—Origin, Development, and Evolution Till Date
- Audemars Piguet vs Patek Philippe—Head to Head Comparison
- Audemars Piguet vs Patek Philippe—which is the Best Brand to Buy?
Audemars Piguet History—Origin, Development, and Evolution Till Date
Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet are the founders of the Audemars Piguet brand. The two being childhood friends, reconnected in 1874. One year later, they decided to establish the business of making watches together. That’s the business we know today to be one of the top companies in the watchmaking industry.
Both Audemars and Piguet came from Vallee de Joux—a region known for its immersed root in horology. They were both from a generation of watchmakers and have learned the art from a young age. Therefore, the business has a combined strength for success. Audemars, being the technical person, handled the production aspect of the company, while Piguet was the master watchmaker who performed the regulatory aspect. He inspects each watch component and makes all needed adjustments, assembles the watch, and brings it to life.
Watch Innovation and Development
In 1892, the brand made its first groundbreaking creation through its minute repeater wristwatch. A few years later, they developed the “Grande Complication” pocket watch, which exploded into seven unique complications to include the grand and small strike, alarm, minute repeater, perpetual calendar, chronograph with jumping seconds, deadbeat seconds, and split-seconds hands.
But, things took a new turn when Audemars and Piguet died one year apart. However, the company continued to exist with Paul Louis Audemars and Paul Edward Piguet—the founder’s sons. Together they formed a business partnership like their father and took the business to a new level through the debut of the thinnest wristwatch. That was in 1946. In what seems to be another act of genius, together with the legendary Gerald Genta, they designed and invented the iconic Royal Oak in 1972.
Audemars Piguet Today
After over 125 years of existence, the brand has never stopped innovating. Though the Royal Oak has ultimately come to define the brand, and we have seen several of its flagships, the company continues to unveil a highly complicated model. So, today, if you choose one of the brand’s popular models or you choose any of their complex complications, you are sure that you are in for the best experience.
Patek Philippe History—Origin, Development, and Evolution Till Date
Patek Philippe’s story began from creating pocket watches in 1839 with Antoine Patek and François Czapek’s partnership. Their business model focused on making watches for royalties and the elite members of the society. However, in 1844, when Patek attended the Exposition Nationale des Produits de L’Industrie in Paris, he met Adrien Philippe, who received a bronze medal for his innovative keyless winding hand-setting system.
In the space of one year, Patek and Philippe became business partners—that was the origin and beginning of the brand we know today as Patek Philippe. They continued to provide their high-end clientele with top-notch watches for several years. In 1845, the partners produced their first pocket watch leveraging Philippe’s keyless winding and hand-setting system.
Watch Innovation and Development
Patek saw the need to grow the company and create an international reputation. So, in 1851, he traveled to the United States and entered into a partnership with Tiffany & Co—their partnership continues till this day. The aspiration paid off quickly, and the brand took part in the Exhibition of the Industry of all Nations in New York City, where they got a silver medal. They also got the silver medal at the World’s Fair in New York City two years later.
The company continued to grow, and Patek wanted to keep the speed, so he worked hard to maintain his partnership with Tiffany & Co. He also traveled through several cities of the United States and accumulated several orders for the brand’s watches. During Patek’s travels, Philippe developed the brand’s watches, and finally, in 1861, he took a patent of his keyless stem-winding and setting mechanism. Two years later, he created the tourbillon—their first pocket watch and invented the “slipping spring.” In 1868, the brand developed its first wristwatch, including a perpetual calendar, chronograph, split-seconds hand, and minute repeater.
They continued to grow until 1877 when Patek passed away. Philippe had to bring in his son Emile Joseph into the business. He trained his son to be his successor and passed away in 1894. Emile took up the challenge to save his father’s legacy and partnered with Henry Graves—a wealthy American banker. The latter amassed a collection of the brand’s most complex timepieces. The partnership gave the brand the name and recognition it needs to stay afloat.
Patek Philippe Piguet Today
Today, after over 180 years in business, Patek Philippe has almost one hundred patents to its name. The brand has made timepieces for iconic figures, queens, and kings from all over the world, such as Prince Albert and Queen Victoria. The fact that the watches are scarce makes them more desirable, and that’s because of the amount of work that goes into making them. Some can take up to a year, while others can take almost two years. They produce only a few models; therefore, only a few people can own one of the brand’s products.
Audemars Piguet vs Patek Philippe—Head to Head Comparison
These two Swiss watchmakers go head to head at almost everything. Here is how these two prestigious watchmaking brands perform when we compare them heads-on;
Audemars Piguet vs Patek Philippe—Price
Both Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe have entry-level watches. The price list is almost similar, with both brands’ entry-level pieces costing as low as $12,000. However, AP’s entry-level watches cost less than Patek Philippe’s, a few hundred dollars.
Audemars Piguet vs Patek Philippe—Resale Value
Audemars Piguet has an excellent resale value compared to other watch brands. On the other hand, Patek Philippe watches have a very high resale value compared to most other watches. However, some Audemars Piguet watches have higher resale value than Patek Philippe and vice versa.
However, the resale value of a watch is dependent on several factors such as the condition of the watch, if it is still under the brand’s warranty period, if you have the original OEM case or box available, and if you have the papers such as the manual, warranty, and original documents available. There are others, but these things usually determine the resale value of any luxury watch.
Audemars Piguet vs Patek Philippe—Selection
Audemars Piguet has an extensive selection of watches in production and many more on the open market. A considerable amount of the still trending Audemars Piguet Royal Oak watches can be found compared to other models from different AP collections. An AP is also (in most cases) slightly easier to come by than a Patek Philippe. Of course, availability also highly depends on the model of the watch, the season, and supply and demand.
Audemars Piguet vs Patek Philippe—Brand Recognition
Audemars Piguet ranks seventh among the world’s most recognized Swiss luxury watch brands. Patek Philippe has more recognition than Audemars vs Piguet because it ranks third among the most recognized Swiss luxury brands. The brand’s marketing slogan—“You never actually own a Patek Philippe, you merely look after it for the next generation”—used since 1966 is considered in the watchmaking industry as the most memorable.
Audemars Piguet vs Patek Philippe—Prestige
As mentioned earlier, Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe are two notable “holy trinity” of watchmaking. They are older; they have several unique watchmaking landmarks and achievements; that’s the company that invented the wristwatch, they have several museum pieces and horological innovations to their name. They have produced one of the world’s most complicated watches. That’s to mention only a few! Therefore they are both highly prestigious, but Patek Philippe is considered more prestigious than Audemars Piguet for apparent reasons.
Audemars Piguet vs Patek Philippe—which is the Best Brand to Buy?
If you are looking for an unusual and uncommon watch, Audemars Piquet has them in an extensive collection. They have a different look from the traditional look of Patek Philippe watches. They usually have a dynamic shape that gives a distinctive aesthetic. Though they can become easily accessible, their unique design makes them special. So if you’re only concerned about luxury and aesthetics, AP is the brand for you.
On the other hand, Patek Philippe is the master of innovation. It’s a name associated with finesse in the holographic world. So if you are in search of a watch piece that makes a clear-cut statement, Patek Philippe is the right watch for you.
Choosing which wristwatch to buy between these two top-notch brands can be tricky. They are almost at par with each other. The quality one has a disadvantage the other has as an advantage. In most cases, they have similar benefits. This little to no disparity gives a lot of headaches when users try to choose. However, the secret in choosing is to look through the qualities of each product and determine which one best suits your needs, desire, and taste. Then it’ll be easy to make a significant choice.