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Ladies First
August 29, 2013 Stories

Ladies First – since 1883

Manufacturing timepieces dedicated to ladies, dates back Audemars Piguet’s foundation in 1875. The very first movement crafted exclusively for ladies in Le Brassus dates back to 1883.


The quest of timekeeping and miniaturisation not only inspired Audemars Piguet’s watchmakers but rapidly spread through the entire industry and took hold of creativity and skills, to the point it became an obsession and this for a good reason – ‘the greater the challenge, the better’. A philosophy that until today drives truly skilled craftsmen.

At the rise of the 20th century, creating accurate movements was not challenging enough anymore. Arranging parts in as little space as possible, making them keep time properly and adding complications of all styles became the new rule of the game.

In a time when timepieces were tucked deep in waistcoat pockets, the watchmakers excelled in concealing their marvels inside jewellery pieces reserved for ladies. Exclusive brooches, pendants, handbag watches and other treasures have survived the test of time and are now part of the Audemars Piguet heritage collection.

  • Ladies First
    1948 Handbag watch - case and dial set with 10 diamonds, 16 baguette-cut emeralds and 21 rubies. 18K yellow gold. 6/7’’’R calibre. Courtesy of Ms. Mariana Castillo Rosano.
  • Ladies First
    1971 Ladies’ wristwatch - case and bracelet in 18K yellow gold and tiger’s eye quartz. 2003 calibre, the world’s thinnest (1.64 mm). Courtesy of Ms. Mariana Castillo Rosano.
  • Ladies First
    1917 Art Deco wristwatch - pt case & bracelet set with diamonds. 8’’’15/12LRB calibre. Courtesy of Ms. Mariana Castillo Rosano
  • Ladies First
    1996 Royal Oak - steel case and bracelet. Guilloché dial, “petite tapisserie” pattern. 2140 calibre. Courtesy of Ms. Mariana Castillo Rosano.
  • Ladies First
    1983 Philosophical Watch - case in 18K yellow & white gold. 2080 calibre. Courtesy of Ms. Mariana Castillo Rosano.

Producing several units of the same model and sorting them in collections was not in fashion yet. Hence most of these early timekeepers were designed as one-of-a-kind piece.

In 1927, Audemars Piguet presented what was then the smallest calibre in the world, designed and used in baguette timepieces. As the race for the tiniest calibre was still at its peak, it didn’t take long before a competitor broke the record in 1929. Audemars Piguet understood it was useless striving for size. Indeed, the smaller the calibre, the less advantage it brings to the wearer to the point where even legibility got seriously jeopardized. From then on, skills and knowledge were channelled on more prolific grounds.

Ladies have been a priority since inception of the company, something which remains true today. In a world where genders get mixed up more and more and men seem to gather all focus, Audemars Piguet will address ladies directly – there are exceptions to every rule.