Matchtime: Audemars Piguet vs Breitling. Which is the Best Watch Brand?
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Matchtime: Audemars Piguet vs Breitling. Which is the Best Watch Brand?

Matchtime: Audemars Piguet vs Breitling. Which is the Best Watch Brand?


Well, time peeps, it’s Matchtime and today we have a belter. In the red corner, established in 1875 and hailing from Le Brassus is the Swiss powerhouse, Audemars Piguet. In the blue corner delivering knockout pieces since 1884, hailing from Saint-Imier, Switzerland is none other than Breitling. But who will emerge as the best watch brand? 

Audemars Piguet has resided in the upper echelons of Haute Horlogerie, first-class design and breakthrough movements such as the legendary Royal Oak collection. 

Established in 1884, Breitling similarly soirees amongst the horological elite with its rich history, modern precision and iconic chronograph models such as the Navitimer. 

However, there are numerous factors to take into consideration when people decide to buy a watch. Looks, design, craftsmanship, brand, legacy, limited edition models…the list goes on. Let’s drill down deeper as ChronoHunter leaves no crown unturned in the pursuit of today’s horological champion. Will it be Audemars Piguet or Breitling?


Seconds out!


History and Brand Reputation of Audemars Piguet vs Breitling


Audemars Piguet was founded in 1875 by Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet, acquiring the name ‘Audemars Piguet & Cie’ in 1881. This family owned company allows them to experiment, making Audemars Piguet one of the most adventurous and contemporary watch brands.

Breitling was created some nine years later by Leon Breitling in 1884. Breitling’s first release was in 1915 wherein they released a wristwatch featuring a chronograph complication. Both luxury watch brands have enjoyed dealing with complications, namely Audemars Piguet’s “Grande Complication” pocket watch from 1899 and Breitling’s 2003 collection entitled ‘Breitling Masterpieces’.

Commemorating a century of aviation, Breitling unveiled four solid 18K gold cased, astronomical grand complication pocket watches, proving they can put a hand to any timepiece complication. 

   Source: Breitling Grande Complication - MasterHorologer

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Audemars is constantly setting the bar high, championing pioneering watchmaking. They released the first ever minute repeater wristwatch in 1892, the jumping hour wristwatch in 1921 and the first skeletonised pocket watch in 1934.


        Source - Chronomat B01 - Breitling 

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Breitling evolved in a similar time span to Audemars Piguet creating the first ever wrist chronograph in 1915. From the original which had a crown and one pusher at 2 o’clock to independently operate the stopwatch to adding an additional pusher at 4 o’clock to reset it, Breitling inspired a new style which brands like Tudor and Blancpain now adopt.

Gerald Genta, a Swiss watch designer and Audemars Piguet introduced the highly successful Royal Oak which would eventually lead to being their most sought after collection. While we’ll explore Royal Oak further later on, it symbolised a tremendous shift from previous highly complicated designs. 

While Audemars Piguet shifted to simplicity for success, Breitling’s Navitimer collection represented a major change for the aviation watch world. 1952 saw the birth of The Breitling Navitimer, crafted out of request by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. 

The Navitimer contained everything pilots would need to work out flight calculations such as average speed, distance travelled and fuel consumption through an adapted logarithmic slide rule inspired by the 1940s Chronomat. Oozing aviation heritage, The Navitmer is now Breitling’s most desired collection.

We hand the brand history award to Audemars Piguet. 


Design and Craftsmanship of Audemars Piguet vs Breitling 

Utilising unorthodox materials like black ceramic and highly complicated techniques such as satin finishing, Audemars Piguet’s craftsmanship is extremely innovative and intricate.


Source - Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar - Audemars Piguet 

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They sometimes swap black ceramic for stainless steel as displayed in The Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar 15416CE.OO.1225CE.01. They then use a machine and hand finish to glean the best of both worlds in the form of satin and polished finish. The option of a Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar is a must for those looking to buy an Audemars Piguet.

If you want to buy a Breitling watch, you’ll see they physically stamp their quality with a ‘Made by Breitling’ label. It’s a tribute to the exceptional quality and precision gone into their rigorous testing and final product. Like Audemars Piguet, the devil is certainly in the details. 

We hand the design and craftsmanship award to Audemars Piguet. 


Top Models of Audemars Piguet and Breitling

Since its launch in 1972, The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Collection has defined the luxury watch brand in many ways. Utilising octagonal dials and tapisserie patterns, the greats such as Jay Z and Lil Wayne have been known to wear Royal Oak watches extensively. 

Not all the icons flock to Audemars Piguet however. Breitling brand ambassadors include Manchester City striker Erling Haaland and dirty dancer John Travolta. The Navitimer holds the title for being Breitling's top performer since its release in 1956 and arguably holds the title of the most popular aviation watch to grace the horological scene. 


Source - Royal Oak Concept - GQ 

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If you choose to buy an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon GMT, you are buying the intricacies and exquisiteness of the brand. This is clearly visible in this case, fitted with crystal clear sapphire on the caseback and dial.

The Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon GMT isn't filled with complications but carries more than enough in movement quality and design. Its simple elegance is something that Breitling’s ‘utility’ models cannot compete with. 

Source - Navitmer 01 - Breitling 

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Easily the most recognizable Breitling design, the Navitimer is jam packed with innovative functions including the very famous slide rule bezel which allows a pilot to carry out multiple calculations within the cockpit. 

Whilst The Breitling Navitimer is a very nice watch with outstanding movement, it doesn't touch the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak in terms of architecture or innovation. 

It’s another Audemars Piguet win here.


Prices of Audemars Piguet vs Breitling Watches


Audemars Piguet’s pricing has some variance. However, the usual deals tend to be way out of the common man's pay grade. This is not the case with Breitling however who offer an affordable step into luxury watches. 

   Source - Royal Oak - Audemars Piguet 

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The Royal Oak collection has a retail price of £22,900 for the Reference 15400ST. The retail price for the 26331OR is £58,200. There are of course some wilder figures out there such as the Grande complication in the Jules Audemars collection with an astonishing secondary market price of £650,000. 

You can buy a Breitling watch for significantly less than an Audemars Piguet. Their main collection, The Navitimer, has a retail price of £7,300 for the Navitimer 1 B01 Chronograph Limited 43mm to a retail price of £3,800 for the Navitimer Automatic 38mm. For other models such as the Superocean Heritage B20 Automatic 46, it retails at £4,100.

While Breitling similarly produces high quality works, there's a reason why Audemars Piguet are part of the ‘holy trinity’ with Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin. 

We give this round to Audemars Piguet.


Accuracy of Audemars Piguet Watches vs Breitling Watches


Audemars Piguet employs various techniques to combat the general interruptions a wristwatch movement faces in day to day life. 

Problems like gravity, shock and temperature changes are combated by using a double balance wheel escapement to oscillate two balance wheels and springs, achieving precision timekeeping. 

Breitling’s Accuracy is phenomenal. All the watches nowadays are released on the basis that they qualify for the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute. In order to be classified as an official chronometer, the watch must not shift between -4/+6 seconds daily for mechanical watches. 

To achieve this is an incredible feat. Even more, only 5% of watches in Switzerland are certified. Although Breitling has the COSC certification, Audemars Piguet does still operate within the framework of this specific criteria.

This time, the accuracy award goes to Breitling.


Best Audemars Piguet and Breitling Watches For Investment


The majority of Audemars Piguet models not just hold their value but increase over a period due to their strong reputation and top-notch craftsmanship. The Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph Volcano takes the design a step further. 


Source - Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph Volcano - Audemars Piguet 

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The preferred watch choice of basketball player LeBron James, it compliments the iconic octagonal Royal Oak bezel with clean orange accents. Unavailable on the Audemars Piguet website, it is priced from £16,000. It could be a little marmite for some people due to the very unorthodox orange colour. It must be noted, this isn't something Breitling is innocent of either. 

You could buy a watch like Breitling as they offer more affordable models while still maintaining a very high standard. They also have every opportunity to increase in value if demand outstrips supply as is the case with limited edition models.

The Breitling Cockpit B50 Orbiter is one of those limited edition models. This model retails at £6,740. In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the round-the-world balloon quest, only 213 of these watches were produced meaning a limited supply and keen collectors and fans vying for its possession. 

Source - Breitling Cockpit B50 Orbiter - Breitling 

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It’s a solid instrument watch with a built in micro transmitter broadcasting on the aircraft emergency frequency, supporting the aircraft's own distress signal. In terms of collectability, we rate this piece extremely high, boosting the chances of it being a potential investment. 

Audemars Piguet's ‘Volcano’ unfortunately doesn't have that excuse. Breitling’s Cockpit B50 Orbiter is also very unique in its function while the ‘Volcano’ seems to verge on being gimmicky. 

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo Reference 16202 similarly follows the design structure of the Chronograph Volcano (without the blinding fluorescence). The Royal Oak Jumbo Reference 16202 was released as a 50th anniversary celebration in 2022 and replaces the successful 15202 calibre keeping the authenticity of its predecessor with the time and date. 

Breitling does have relevant sought after models which follow The ‘Jumbo’ such as The Breitling Navitimer Reference 806 1959 Re-edition staying true to its original roots. Both models have contemporized calibres while still maintaining the classic shape. 

It’s a tough one, but the Audemars Piguet ‘Jumbo’ and even the ‘Volcano’ will consistently hold their value. Breitling is too unpredictable with their value and the secondary market responds to that. 

And the best watch for investment is…Audemars Piguet, hands down


Which Audemars Piguet and Breitling Watches Don’t Hold Their Value? 


With lower retail prices, Breitling can be expected to use lower quality materials. While Breitling and Audemars both use 316L stainless steel, Audemars utilises other materials such as forged carbon fibre in their Royal Oak Offshore Alinghi Team Chronograph and black ceramic. 

Yet, The Breitling Emergency Orbiter 3 is limited to less than 2000 pieces making an exception to its usual supply standards. It's noted that the second you buy a Breitling watch, you will automatically stand to lose around 25% of its value. The Orbiter 3 retains its value due to high demand and low supply, a concept Audemars Piguet has mastered throughout its glorious reign. 

This isn’t the case for all Breitling models. Don't get us, wrong time lords, they are very precise and consistent. Just don't be shocked when it starts to depreciate. Breitling is respected, just not worth investing in if you wish to sell a watch like this. 

Limited production models have a good chance of appreciating in value but the standard models do not. Breitlings Endurance Pro retails at £2,750 but currently retails on the secondary market at £2,000 at the time of writing. It’s best you hunt for the rarer models or buy and sell quickly in order to not lose too much capital. 

We give the best watch brand to hold their value to Audemars Piguet…hands down.


5 Reasons to Buy an Audemars Piguet Watch


  1. You are buying a heritage that has seen plenty of success for more than 140 years.
  2. It's very well known, so much so that even with low supply and high prices, it still maintains constant demand.
  3. They use very high quality materials such as black ceramic and forged carbon.
  4. They offer impressive complications such as The AP Royal Oak Self Winding Tourbillon.
  5. A timeless, effortless and sophisticated style that any watch enthusiast worth their salt will understand and appreciate. 


5 Reasons to Buy a Breitling Watch


  1. COSC certified, Breitling guarantees the finest precision. 
  2. As a luxury watch brand player, Breitling tends to offer affordable models for those starting out a collection.
  3. Breitling is renowned for producing incredibly accurate chronographs like the Aviator 8 or Transocean Ultimate Pilot.
  4. The superb quality which is stamped with a ‘made by Breitling’ label
  5. There are special edition models available including The Breitling Chronomat Tomcat Limited (250 pcs) and The Breitling Top Time Deus Limited Edition in conjunction with bespoke motorcycle and surf outfitter Deus Ex Machina.




There can only be one victor. 

Loyal watch fans, it’s time to raise our champion’s hand aloft. And this time, the best watch brand goes to…(drumroll) Audemars Piguet. 

Epitomising the creme de la creme of watchmaking, complications and precision, its revolutionary use of materials and steadfast investment prices always makes the Beast from Le in high demand.

Furthermore, The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak celebrity clientele of Kim Kardashian, John Mayer and Drake among others make this watch one of the most revered among Hollywood’s elite.

Have we got you raring to buy an Audemars Piguet? Feeling the temptation to sell your Breitling? Investing in watches has never been easier when using ChronoHunter.

Your go-to source if you want to buy a watch or sell a watch, our impeccable service will guide you through the entire transaction from start to finish. Save money on your next watch purchase or enjoy the most competitive offers thanks to our handpicked selection of luxury watch retailers. 

There has never been a better time to contact us.


Further Reading: 

Audemars Piguet 25721ST.00.1000ST.09.A Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph 


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