It was a classic example of having too much effort and never enough time to take action that resulted in Jules-Louis Audemars teaming up with Edward Piguet. Audemars hired Piguet to deal with increased demand for his exceptionally complicated watches, a passion Piguet shared.
The two became friends and, in 1875, created their own brand in Le Brassus, where Audemars Piguet remains now producing about 40,000 watches a year. Complicated watches are still a speciality, thanks in part to getting renowned movement makers Renaud et Papi as an AP subsidiary, however, the brand is best known for kickstarting the luxury steel watch trend with the launch, in 1972, of the Gerald Genta-designed Royal Oak.
There are other iterations, such as the Royal Oak Offshore, and models featuring perpetual calendars and chronograph functions but the straight-up two-hand Royal Oak remains Audemars Piguet’s legendary calling card.
The best-known luxury watch brand in the world was started in 1905 by Hans Wilsdorf while he was living in London. Apparently, the title comes from a suggestion from a Hispanic employee that they call that the new trademark Relex which was an abbreviation of”relojes excellentes”. Relex didn’t cut it so Wilsdorf altered the”e” to an”o” and history was made.
As well as producing around 2,000 watches each day, Rolex is a new firsts.
It’s made a reputation for making highly desired, watches that were exceptionally pliable. No wonder that a gold Rolex can supposedly be used as currency anywhere in the world.
Despite appearances, the present incarnation of Lange & Sohne has just been making watches since 1994 as it established the Lange 1. There was a pre-war company in Glashutte but that was nationalised by the postwar Soviet administration. He refused and set up Lange 2.0 down the road.
Lange is renowned for the complexity and end of its movements. Every version is mechanical, with motions made from a metal called German silver and a hand-engraved balance cock. It’s also famous for its outsize numerals of its date indicator, a style it translated into jumping hours for its 2014 Zeitwerk, and for positioning the screens on the dial based on the principles of the golden ratio (approximately equal to some 1:1.61 ratio).
This can be precision German watchmaking at its best.