Mon-Fri, 10am-6pm; Sat, noon-6pm; Sun, closed
E, M at Fifth Ave.-53rd St.; 4, 5, 6 at 59th St.; N, Q, R at Lexington Ave.-59th St.; F at 57th St.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard
In 1875, Jules-Louis Audemars and Edward-Auguste Piguet, both in their early twenties at the time, founded this company in Switzerland to make complex, elegant, and innovative timepieces. Today the Piguet and Audemars families continue the tradition, matching fine materials like rose gold, platinum, and diamonds with inventive designs. Each watch is a handmade work of art (unlike larger companies like Rolex, Audemars Piguet produces only 26,000 pieces a year) that typically carries a proportionally magnificent price tag. The New York store has the feel of a velvet-lined bank vault, with double-entry security doors, ear-pieced guardsmen, and rows of glass cases containing watches mounted on pedestals or wrapped around tiny pillows. All lines are available in men’s and women’s designs, from the Millenary, whose oval shape and Roman-numeral motif evokes a New Year’s ball-drop, to the tough-looking Royal Oak Offshore series, whose stainless steel casing is resistant to both water and magnetic fields. Many designs are available with a “skeletonized” or cut-away, face, so that one can see the intricate, microscopic mechanisms churning inside. For a fee, customers can work with consultants to have a watch custom-designed, and a staff of onsite technicians can perform minor repairs or send pieces to a Florida facility for serious surgery.