It is perhaps not uncommon for a watch brand to be known primarily for a single model, but there are few that conjure a stronger mental image of what a brand stands for than the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. For this reason, it will be the focus of answering the question, are Audemars Piguet watches a good investment?
Designed by the legendary Gérald Genta in 1970, the Royal Oak and its Off Shore offshoots are so central to the company’s offering that the model name almost slips off the tongue automatically when discussing the brand. Genta designed watches for several marques during a period of practically peerless prolificacy between 1959 and 1985. His most famous works are arguably the Royal Oak and the Nautilus, designed for Patek Philippe, placing AP’s flagship model in very esteemed company from a stylistic and collectability perspective. Rightly so, Audemars Piguet are frequently mentioned as one of the most collectible brands available today.
By Designer or Design?
But does this epoch-spanning desirability translate into brand-wide collectability, making all Audemars Piguet watches a good investment or is it specific to the Royal Oak family? And more to the point, is the Royal Oak collectible because it is an AP watch, or because it is a watch designed by Genta?
The bare bones truth of the matter is simple: If you want to buy an AP watch that will hold its value or appreciate over time, a Royal Oak is a safe bet because of its cross-appeal: Watch collectors and design aficionados alike will be attracted to the piece. However, none of the most expensive watches sold at auction are from the Royal Oak collection, proving that despite the ever-relevant touchstone that is Genta’s masterstroke, the brand is producing other models of imperious quality that make Audemars Piguet watches a good investment.
If your pockets are very deep, one of the extremely high-end limited series concept watches is based heavily on the Genta-inspired DNA. In this Author’s opinion, this range of super-complicated fever dreams includes some of the finest pieces on the market today. Their retail value is relatively stratospheric, often priced well into the six-figure region, but in the absence of diamonds and unnecessary decoration, you can be sure that you’re paying for one of shining technological lights the industry has to offer.
If you have an investment level Audemars Piguet, learn about your options for borrowing against it.
About the Author: Fell Jensen is a Swiss-trained watchmaker working as an industry analyst.