Audemars Piguet vs Rolex – The Holy Trinity In Watchmaking

Rolex is known as a top-of-the-line luxury watch. Only a few watch brands can topple this king of the hill in terms of prestige and exclusivity. One of them is Audemars Piguet.
Audemars Piguet is one of the most exclusive and elusive watch brands in the world. It belongs to a class of its own even in the top-tier watch brands in the market.

Rolex and AP are often compared because they’re both luxury brands and have a long history in the industry. Each has made a name for themselves by achieving milestones that no other watch brand has made.

So, which of the two is better? Will the AP be a better buy for the long-term? Or will Rolex be the more practical option between the two?
By comparing major factors that define each brand’s identity, you’ll have an easier time deciding which of the two watchmakers will suit your wrist.

Audemars Piguet

Audemars Piguet was established in 1875 and is one of the oldest watchmakers in the world that’s still surviving to this day. Aside from its long history, AP is more known because of its horological achievements in making complications, chronographs, and exclusive mechanisms.

AP released the world’s first-minute repeater, the first perpetual calendar wristwatch with a leap year display, and the first automatic tourbillon. They also made an ultra-complicated “Universelle” pocket watch which was way ahead of its time.
But what took AP to new heights is the release of the infamous Royal Oak model. With its robust and sporty look, it gave new meaning to what a dress watch should look like.

Departing from the classic look with several complications, the Royal Oak presented the usual time and date complication in a special package that became a major hit.

Pros:

  • AP is on a different league from your average luxury brand in terms of prestige and notoriety
  • Highly exclusive brand that belongs to the Holy Trinity of watchmakers in the horological industry
  • Impeccable craftsmanship and artistry in every timepiece
  • Can serve as a family heirloom that will hold its value for years to come
  • Several models with sophisticated complications

Cons:

  • Highly expensive compared to its peers
  • Less accurate compared to Rolex
  • Not as popular as Rolex

Rolex

Rolex was founded in 1905 and has since been making a name for itself by beating several records and releasing several ‘firsts’ in the history of watchmaking. Rolex is responsible for making the first dust and water-resistant watch, the first self-winding chronometer, and the first diver’s watch that can withstand water pressure up to 100 meters.

In terms of durability and accuracy, Rolex is hailed as one of the best among high-end brands. Rolex watches have survived countless journeys like the hike to Mount Everest and the dive into the Mariana Trench. Putting Rolex products in extreme conditions has earned people’s respect for what their watches can do aside from being luxury timepieces.

Rolex Submariner homage watches

Pros:

  • Renowned brand that’s synonymous to luxury to many people
  • Holds its value even after several years
  • Has numerous collections to choose from
  • Durable and reliable even under pressure
  • Highly accurate movements

Cons:

Comparison of the Audemars Piguet vs Rolex

Here’s a comparison of the major features between AP and Rolex.

Movements and Quality

There’s nothing bad to say about the two brands’ craftsmanship. There’s a reason these two luxury brands managed to preserve their existence for over a century and it’s rooted in the principle of providing only the highest quality products to their customers.
Rolex is at the top of the food chain when it comes to movement precision. Their

Superlative Chronometers have been tested and certified to provide an accuracy of -2/+2 seconds per day.

Audemars Piguet, on the other hand, doesn’t aim for the same standard as Rolex does for its movements. The accuracy of AP watches depends on several factors like model, age, maintenance, and usage.

Audemars Piguet doesn’t delve much on the precision of their watches but focuses instead on the artistic value of their products. They’re very meticulous in ensuring every tiny detail on the watch is perfect. Their dedication to this aspect doesn’t even compare to Rolex’s quality checks.

Although Rolex is a respected luxury watchmaker, they lack the outstanding finish that AP gives to its watches. Tiny details like motifs, engravings, and exhibition case backs make AP a more prestigious manufacturer than Rolex.

Style and Variety

Both AP and Rolex are brands you wear when you want to dress to impress. But each luxury brand has its target audience that will appreciate them.
Rolex has watch styles designed for different purposes. There’s the Sky-Dweller for pilots, the Cosmograph Daytona for race sports, the Yacht-Master for marine professionals, the Explorer for hikers, the Oyster Perpetual for formal and casual occasions, and the Day-Date and Datejust for business and dress wear, to name a few. Of course, there’s also the iconic Submariner which is designed for divers.

AP has three collections based on the Royal Oak collection, namely the Royal Oak, Royal Oak Offshore, and Royal Oak Concept. They all retain the sporty, solid look of the original Royal Oak but they differ in watch face and complications.

They also have classic dress watches under the Millenary and Jules Audemars collections. If you fancy the exotic mix of jewelry and wristwatch, Audemars Piguet has the Haute Joaillerie collection.

Popularity

Rolex is by far the most popular watch brand in the world. It’s easily recognizable compared to AP that has a more exclusive market.
Rolex is well-known for highly accurate, COSC-certified timepieces. Their reputation as a manufacturer of gorgeous and durable watches is so widespread that the brand name is synonymous with the word “luxury watch” to the average person.

Audemars Piguet is a more exclusive brand that belongs to the so-called “Holy Trinity of Watchmaking”. It doesn’t have the same brand recognition that Rolex enjoys. But even though Rolex is a more popular luxury brand, it can’t compete with AP’s prestige.

Warranty

Audemars Piguet provides a 5-year international warranty to their products. Normally, you’ll get a 2-year warranty, but this can be extended by 3 years if you register your watch on their website.
Rolex also offers a 5-year international warranty on all their creations.

Price

You can get your hands on a Rolex Oyster Date for $2,500. On the other hand, the cheapest Audemars Piguet under the Royal Oak collection will cost you at least $17,000.

Conclusion

Although Rolex is more popular, Audemars Piguet is more prestigious and exclusive. You can say that the rich wear Rolex watches but the extremely wealthy wear Audemars Piguet timepieces.
If you want a luxury watch that focuses on high precision, extreme durability, and absolute reliability, Rolex is the better choice. But if you’re looking for a prestigious, artistic, sophisticated, and exclusive heirloom timepiece, go with Audemars Piguet.

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