Audemars Piguet is one of the world’s most famous and coveted watchmakers… In no small part thanks to the low production numbers and exclusivity of its products. Yet the 147-year-old brand has just unveiled plans to radically step up production, meaning it might become a bit easier to get your hands on one of their watches.
In a recent interview with Swiss publication Luxury Tribune, Audemars Piguet’s maverick CEO François-Henry Bennahmias confirmed that while AP will make at least 50,000 watches in 2022, the family-owned company is currently investing “hundreds of millions” in beefing up its production capacity. He explained:
“The industrial structure that we are currently building could bring us to 70,000 watches per year, long term. In 2022, we will certainly reach 50,000 watches, and in 2023 we may increase by 5%, but we are not in a rush.”
These figures are fascinating as they lift the veil on what’s often a closely-guarded secret in the watch industry – that is, just how many watches a brand makes a year – but also represent a radical expansion for one of the most storied and prestigious watchmakers on the planet.
An extra 20,000 watches a year (i.e. 40% more) going forward sounds like a godsend for watch fans who’ve spent years languishing on long waiting lists for Royal Oaks… Combine that with the fact that much of the heat and insane speculation that’s affected aftermarket AP prices over the last two years is starting to wear off and things are starting to look pretty good for RO hopefuls.
50,000 watches a year already sounds like a lot but for a globally-recognised brand like AP, it’s surprisingly not that much.
For comparison, AP’s biggest rival, Patek Philippe, currently makes around 60,200 watches a year, and Rolex reportedly makes around 800,000 to 1 million watches a year. Yet it’s still almost impossible getting a Submariner at retail…
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