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Audemars Piguet to Boost Production as Brand Vies With Patek Philippe

Audemars Piguet watch
Family-owned and controlled, Audemars Piguet is one of the biggest three independent Swiss watch brands, along with Patek Philippe and Rolex. (Audemars Piguet)

Audemars Piguet, the luxury Swiss watchmaker best known for its Royal Oak model, will increase production in 2022 as its annual revenue approaches the level of rival Patek Philippe.

The company expects to make 50,000 watches this year, up from 45,000 sold in 2021, it said in an emailed response to questions.

Audemars Piguet’s revenue rose by about a third to 1.5 billion francs ($1.6 billion) last year. Morgan Stanley and Bank Vontobel have estimated high-end rival Patek Philippe had sales of about 1.2 billion francs in 2020.

Deep-pocketed buyers who saved cash canceling travel plans during the pandemic have been driving a rebound in sales of high-end Swiss timepieces, including the nearly 150-year-old brand.

Family-owned and controlled, Audemars Piguet is one of the biggest three independent Swiss watch brands, along with Patek Philippe and Rolex.

The company, based in Le Brassus, Switzerland in the canton of Vaud near Geneva, is bouncing back from a drop of sales in 2020 due to the pandemic.

A report by Morgan Stanley has estimated that Audemars Piguet was the sixth-largest Swiss watchmaker in 2020 by revenue. Patek Philippe and Rolex don’t publish revenue figures.

Production Halts

The company said last year it would stop producing its popular Royal Oak Reference 15202ST and replace the steel watch with a new model. That followed rival Patek Philippe saying it would stop producing its Nautilus Reference 5711, its most sought after steel watch.

Hopeful buyers of both models had been subjected to long waiting lists and soaring values in the second-hand market that only increased with news of the end of production.

By Andy Hoffman

Learn more:

Audemars Piguet: Preserving Scarcity at Any Cost

From the pre-owned market to China, outspoken CEO François-Henry Bennahmias reveals what he thinks his competitors are doing wrong and why he plans on taking a different approach to some of the coming decade’s biggest opportunities.

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