Audemars Piguet Posts 17% Gain

Swiss luxury watchmaker Audemars Piguet in 2001 posted a 17% increase in sales, to $109 million (187 million Swiss francs), says the company. Headquartered in Le Brassus, AP has enjoyed double-digit growth for several years. In the U.S. market, the company’s sales rose 23% to $14 million. AP’s chief executive officer Georges-Henri Meylan noted that despite the events of Sept. 11, U.S. sales were better than planned.

2002 looks to be “extremely promising,” says the company report. Supporting that are some high-profile events, including co-sponsorship of the Alinghi, the Swiss yacht in the America’s Cup 2002, and the limited-edition Royal Oak City of Sails chronograph (starting at $11,800), which celebrates the sponsorship. In addition, a joint project this spring with the popular U.S. band *NSYNC resulted in the sale of 200 limited-edition Royal Oak and Promesse watches ($5,900-$8,500) with the band’s signatures engraved on the back. The watches, sold along with tickets to the group’s 2002 concerts, raised $250,000 for the band’s charity: a scholarship fund for children affected by the World Trade Center attacks.

The company also is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its world-famous Royal Oak watch, the world’s first stainless-steel luxury watch. A reimagining of the design of the Royal Oak was slated to be unveiled in April at the Salon International de la Haute Horologerie (SIHH) in Geneva, Switzerland. Earlier this year, AP introduced the collectible Edward Piguet Sapphire Tourbillon in a platinum case.

A highlight of 2001 was a traveling exhibition that visited 60 cities around the world to present a range of prestigious AP timepieces.