The Holy Trinity of Watches: Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin
Three of the most popular luxury watches brands on the market are Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe, and Vacheron Constantin. These big 3 watchmakers make some of the finest watches in the world. Audemars Piguet produces about 20,000 watches a year with an average price tag of $25,500. Patek Philippe also makes around 20,000 pieces per year with an average price tag of $28,400. Vacheron Constantin makes only 10% of its competitors’ production but the average price is $14,700 (though occasionally reaching up to $70K).
Here’s an ultimate guide to the holy trinity of watches that you won’t regret buying. Let’s get all the nuts and bolts on each of these Swiss watch brands.
Audemars Piguet got its name from two brothers, Jules-Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet. The brand has been producing luxury watches since 1875. The average price tag is $25,500. Though you can find some for as little as $11K.
The brothers were only 23 and 21 when they founded the company. At that time they didn’t know their watches would be on almost every celebrity’s wrist.
At the beginning of their business, Audemars and Piguet made around 1,208 watches. The Grande Complication series is the most legendary collection. It featured a chronograph, a perpetual calendar, and a minute repetition.
Audemars is the most expensive Swiss luxury watchmaker brand. It produces less than 20,000 watches each year. This watch brand makes sports, dressy to casual timepieces that include:
- Royal Oak Offshore Watch;
- Jules Audemars Collection;
- Villeret Collections;
- Millenary Watch & Pocket Watch;
- Skeleton Watches;
- Ladies Watches;
- Dress Wristwatches.
Audemars Piguet is still in first place on the market of luxury Swiss watches. Now the brand produces wristwatches, pocket watches, and jewelry. The company has around 800 employees worldwide. They specialize in complicated watchmaking movements like perpetual calendar, split-seconds chronograph, or minute repeater mechanisms.
Audemars Piguet doesn’t produce many pieces for each collection. This makes them even more exclusive than other brands with similar price tags. Lots of accessories are made for such watches to keep you in the frontline. A wide range of bracelets, leather and rubber straps for Audemars Piguet watches can be found on the market.
You can find Audemars Piguet watches everywhere from royal palaces to Hollywood red carpets. But it’s not an easy task since they only produce limited editions yearly. And this number varies between 1000 and 5000 units depending on their design.
All Audemars Piguet watches are made in Switzerland only. This is a guarantee of their quality and precision. It doesn’t matter if you want to buy an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak or an Audemars Piguet Offshore watch, the company will meet all your expectations. Thanks to its excellent service work along with fantastic designs. The last has won appreciation worldwide among both celebrities and regular people who simply admire luxury watches.
Patek Philippe was established in 1839 by Antoni Patek and Adrien Philippe in Geneva, Switzerland. The company was called Patek & Co. It later became known as Patek & Cie.
When Philippe moved to Geneva, he signed an agreement with Antoine Norbert de Patek. As a result, the Patek Philippe company has been established. Their first watch – No. 1181 – featured a keyless winding mechanism. Adrien Philippe once got a bronze medal for such an invention.
Patek Philippe brought to light their first tiny pocket watch in London, in 1851. The company’s product scored a great success. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert purchased those watches. Soon later, a well-known company Tiffany & Co. offered a partnership to Patek Philippe.
In 1863 Patek Philippe revealed its tourbillon-regulated watch for the first time. Later, Adrien Philippe invented the “slipping spring”. It’s horological technology that was implemented in future collections.
Patek Philippe didn’t stop improving its watches and developing new technologies. In 1889 Patek Philippe patented a perpetual calendar for pocket watches. Another patent was related to paired mainspring barrels. They could be wound by the keyless system.
1925 is known for producing the first perpetual calendar wristwatch. It resulted in producing the Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronograph. This legendary luxury watch is known all over the world.
The price tag for Patek Philippe watches is around $44K. Though you can find some that are less than $20K. This Swiss luxury watchmaker brand produces watches with an average yearly production of 45,000 timepieces. This makes them one of the rarest watches on the market.
Patek Philippe is one of those brands that can be found at almost every luxury watch retailer such as Macy’s and Dillard’s, among others.
You can’t go wrong with buying yourself a Patek Philippe watch. Because it will last decades if not generations. This brand has gained an amazing reputation throughout all these years. The volumes speak themselves about the watch’s quality and craftsmanship. And don’t worry about repairs. This company provides after-sale services through authorized dealerships. Thus, it guarantees excellent customer service plus free maintenance. Along with other benefits including a one-year warranty.
One of the most popular models is called Calatrava. The watch was introduced by Patek Philippe in 1932. Its name comes from the Bauhaus school style that emerged during that period. Because it reminded people of one such movement’s distinctive architectural designs. These days there are two versions: white gold or platinum with prices starting at $23,000 – $25,000.
Vacheron Constantin has been labeled as “the oldest surviving Swiss manufacturer of prestigious watches”. There’s no need to say how high the brand stands when compared with other Swiss watchmaker brands. This name represents not only craftsmanship but also the most advanced technology. That’s why Vacheron Constantin is a proud member of the holy trinity of watches. The prices for Vacheron Constantin watches range from $20,000 to $60,000.
The brand was formed in 1755. Which makes it the oldest manufacturer out of the big 3 watchmakers. Actually, the roots trace back to the 16th century. Lots of European Protestants came to Geneva, Switzerland. Many artisans were able to improve their skills and techniques in the watchmaking capital. And Jean-Marc Vacheron was one of those skilled artisans.
Jean-Marc Vacheron was manufacturing silver pocket watches. That was the starting point to get his product popular. His craft has been brought through generations. Jaques-Barthelemy – Jean-Marc Vacheron’s grandson – expanded the horizons of the watchmaking company. He made the Swiss watch brand popular outside of Switzerland. Jaques-Barthelemy exported watches to Italy and France.
Since watches have become popular worldwide, Jaques-Barthelemy decided to find a partner. This was François Constantin – a trusted business strategist. As a result, the Vacheron Constantin company was established.
In 1839 a pantograph was invented. The company hired Georges-Aguste Leschot to make parts of the watches. The invention of the pantograph led to interchangeable details creation. It brought craftsmanship to the next level. In 1844, Leschot and Vacheron Constantin were awarded with the Rive Prize’s gold medal for such technology.
The company’s logo is an anchor with the letters “VC” on it. This logo was placed first in 1858, and later – in 1875. Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe have similar logos with the initials “AP,” “PP,” respectively.
The first Vacheron Constantin pocket chronometer was introduced in 1869. The company has participated in various competitions and broken many records with their watches. In 1931, a new factory was established in Geneva. It still remains the main center for work.
1955 is known for the company’s 200th anniversary. That year, Vacheron Constantin introduced the Caliber 1003 to the world. It was the thinnest hand-wind watch. The product is deemed the precursor of modern ultra-thin watch movements.
In 1969, Vacheron Constantin opened another building to manufacture movements close to their headquarters. Also, they have branches in Canada and Thailand that produce dials and cases of watches made elsewhere.
Vacheron Constantin is still pampering their customers with new technology. In 2019, an ultra-thin perpetual calendar and a tourbillon were added to the watches. The Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual calendar was also released. It features a power reserve that lasts for 65 days, which is impressive.
Vacheron Constantin is known worldwide for its high-end watches. They are expensive but they also offer great value for the money. The company is among the top three luxury watch brands in 2019. And it will probably remain there forever due to their excellent quality.
Interesting fact: the company has only created about 20 different movements since 1833 that were used in more than 600 variations of timepieces until today.
Another significant collection to point out is Vacheron Constantin Patrimony. It is a perfect choice for those who love classical watches. The company stated it was inspired by the 1950s Vacheron Constantin models. Vacheron Constantin has created this collection to combine its old traditions with new technologies and contemporary design. A minimalist approach was chosen for such watches. It makes them quite versatile no matter on what occasion you want to put them on.
If you’d like to buy one of the Swiss luxury watches, you might be wondering which one is better. Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe, and Vacheron Constantin are the top three luxury watchmakers in Switzerland starting from the 18th century. They have produced some of the most expensive watches on the market today. This makes them a dream for any person who wants to buy them. And we bet you want to compare these watch titans to pick the best one.
If you compare the appearance of the watches, Audemars Piguet has more classic designs. The brand’s products feature 18k gold cases and diamond-studded bezels. Most Vacheron Constantin watches are made of steel, though some models have white or rose gold cases. On the other hand, Patek Philippe is known for its modernist styles. It often uses stainless steel instead of platinum or gold.
Audemars Piguet tends to cost less than both Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin. Audemars Piguet is a relatively young company compared to its Swiss competitors. But of course, it is definitely a brand that does not compromise on quality. That would be an ideal gift for watch collectors.
Patek Philippe watches are moderately priced. They are often more affordable than Vacheron Constantin. But the latter boasts of having some of the most expensive wristwatches for sale in its collection.
When it comes to complicated watchmaking, Patek Philippe has had both Audemars and Vacherons beat since the 18th century. They were the first who created perpetual calendars as well as tourbillons. Which even Audemars Piguet didn’t start creating until 1989!
However, Audemar is considered the best at complicated movement timepieces that go just ahead. When we’re speaking about overall quality, Audemars Piguet has no equal.
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak is one of the most complicated watches ever created by AP. It’s considered to have the best design with its octagon-shaped case and rubber strap.
The Patek Philippe Calatrava has been around since 1932. In modern times it remains relevant if not more. What a great mix of classic style and modern technologies.
Vacheron Constantin Overseas line is one of the very best watches in the world, hands down. You may spot some similarities in design with the Royal Oak. The collection is loved for its distinguishing case shape and the shape of the bracelet links.
Rolex is another popular brand worldwide. Perhaps, the most famous luxury watch brand. But it can’t compete with Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe, or even Vacheron when we speak about luxury watches. The watches that become the true collectors’ items over time. Why? These three companies have been around for centuries. They are recognized for their quality and craftsmanship. Thus, they have many things in common.
Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe, and Vacheron Constantin have been around much longer than their competitors. Audemars Piguet was founded in 1875, Patek Philippe emerged in 1839 and Vacheron Constantin is almost 250 years old. Also, the following brands have been making only haut de gamme exceptional luxury watches. Some movements have been hand-finished with traditional tools and methods.
These big 3 watchmakers use only top-notch materials. They pay attention to every detail, from cases to hands. The Trinity’s collections are often limited so not everybody has a chance to try them out.
On the other hand, Rolex creates outstanding watches. But they are typically made for a wider audience. The quality of the Holy Trinity watches is considered higher than Rolex. Rolex is a reliable watch but no haut de gamme techniques are used here. Nevertheless, this brand is trusted and loved by many people. Rolex watches are functional and versatile.
Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe, and Vacheron Constantin are some of the most famous watchmakers in the world. Audemars is known for its stylish watches with strong character. While Patek Philippe stands out with its simplicity and high level of functionality. People love Vacheron’s classic design combined with modern technologies. Their versatile collections will please the eye of the owner for sure.