The makers of the Audemars Piguet watch and watch products have origins back in 1875 in the form of two men in their early twenties. Jules-Louis Audemars met Edward-Auguste Piguet at Vallee de Joux, Switzerland. As luxury watch enthusiasts are no doubt aware, the Vallee de Joux is considered by many to be the heart of prestigious watch-making.
The company grew from there, gaining customers in Tiffany & Co., Cartier, and Bulgari, all of which sold Audemars Piguet watches under their own names during the first half of the 20th century. In 1925, Audemars Piguet created the world’s thinnest pocket watch, being measured at exactly 1.32 millimeters. Just a handful of years later they created the first skeleton watch.
Perhaps ironically, the world-wide success of the Audemars Piguet watch company didn’t occur until after the deaths of the company’s founders. Jules-Louis Audemars passed away in 1918, and Edward-Auguste Piguet died a little under a year later. But their company lived on and flourished, and since its creation a member of both the Audemars and Piguet family has always been on the board of directions, ensuring that a descendant of Jules-Louis Audemars and Edward-Auguste Piguet always has some sort of control in the direction of the company.
Which means that one of there descendants was in charge of the recent endorsement of Formula One racing car driver Michael Schumacher.
It was over one year ago that the German-born Schumacher announced he would return to professional racing as the frontman of the Mercedes GP Petronas Formula One Team. Joined by long time partner Ross Brawn (the pair have won seven world championship title together), Schumacher and his team not only became endorsed by the Audemars Piguet watch company, they became the main icon.
So what is the connection between a hundred-year-old luxury watch making company and a world champion race car driver? Well, as Schumacher says, “two minutes are an eternity for those of us who are accustomed to fighting for tenths of a second.”
Schumacher is allegedly a watch fanatic who has been collecting designer timepieces for a number of years. He was quoted as saying “(I) was introduced to fine mechanical watches from Audemars Piguet, which I like to compare with racing cars because of their numerous common denominators including high-tech materials, cutting-edge R&D developments, and optimized mechanical performance. I admire the incredible work of the teams in Le Brassus and Le Locle who give shape to magnificent watches featuring ingenious technology and daring designs, yet without ever losing sight of horological traditions.”
A spokesperson from the watch company also claimed the connection between themselves and Schumacher went beyond “craftsmanship and expertise.” Both parties are involved in a series of similar charitable causes as well.
However, the two are now linked through this major endorsement. And the next time Schumacher finds himself at the top of a Formula One podium, you can bet he’ll be wearing an Audermars Piguet watch.
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