How to Authenticate an Audemars Piguet

How to Authenticate an Audemars Piguet

Since 1875, Audemars Piguet has grown a reputation for creating some of the world’s most coveted and timeless watches. 

The incredible craftsmanship has put Audemars Piguet timepieces in consistently high demand. When its founders died in 1918 and 1919, the quality of an Audemars Piguet watch only continued to grow. Today, a limited number of models are made, which increases desirability and, unfortunately, is one reason why the market is filled with fakes.

If you’ve purchased, or are thinking of buying, a second-hand AP, make sure it’s real. This guide will show you how to authenticate an Audemars Piguet watch,  from the physical checks to those all-important documents.

Audemars Piguet authenticity check: What to look for

Here’s the problem: Counterfeit AP watches can be convincing - even to a trained eye.

Every Audemars Piguet authenticity check has to be thorough or it’s too easy for fakes to slip through the net. Start with our guide to make sure you’re not wasting your money on a shoddy watch and supporting the counterfeit market in the process.

Grab the watch and work your way through the following checks.


Check the weight

AP watches are heavier than cheaper, high-street or rip-off timepieces. That’s because they’re constructed with high-quality gold and steel, their mechanical movements are heavier than quartz, and lots of complications can weigh down a watch.

 Counterfeiters use cheaper materials that considerably lighten the load.


Look at the dial

A real AP watch should have a dial that features lines like vinyl plates. These lines are super hard to copy, so look closely for them.

All markings, including the logo, should be crisp and clear with consistent measurements and spacing. They’ll never wear or fade away.


Zone in on the dial pattern

Take a closer look at the dial. Does it contain the right tapisserie pattern? Forgers often mess this up or forget to replicate the design altogether.

Watchmaker Gerald Genta went to great lengths to prepare the first sketch of the Royal Oak, creating its one-of-a-kind dial by working with one of the most prestigious dial manufacturers of the 20th century, Stern Frères. They used old engraving machines and a skill that’s no longer taught to create the tapisserie pattern.

That’s great when you want to know how to authenticate an Audemars Piguet watch, because no counterfeiters can recreate the iconic design.

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Look at the watch’s movement

Forged watches, however impressive, will never contain the sophisticated internal mechanisms of a real Audemars Piguet.

Inspect the direction of the watch for sub-standard movements. Details like shoddy polishings, engravings and assembly are a sure sign of a fake.


Does the stamp look right?

The AP stamp is hard to reproduce. Make sure it’s in the centre and looks straight (not tilted). It should be crisp and clear - a stamp on a genuine Audemars Piguet is never blurred, off-centre or otherwise imperfect.


Does it use high-quality materials?

This sounds like a vague Audemars Piguet authenticity check, and might be hard to verify unless you’re an expert. But take a look at the metal. It should have an exceptional finish and glaze, and be resistant to wear and tear.

Examining a Royal Oak? All genuine Royal Oaks feature a fine brush finish that runs vertically throughout the watch. Confirm it’s there before you buy a Royal Oak.


Examine the case finish

Real AP watches are smoothly polished with sharp edges. It’s difficult for counterfeiters to match these levels of refinement, so if the case has an uneven finish and rough or blunt edges, you’re dealing with a fake.


Look at the bracelet

Check that it’s crafted with quality, heavy materials and that all links are aligned. The clasp should be firm and secure, and the AP logo may be engraved at the tip.

A light or tarnished watch with unaligned links isn’t a genuine Audemars Piguet.


Check the watch bezel

Every Audemars Piguet Royal Oak has an iconic bezel that contains eight hexagonal screws. Each screw should be well-finished, identical in shape and perfectly set. All screws should be evenly spaced.

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Look at the logo

Take a moment to get familiar with the real Audemars Piguet logo. It’s clear, well-polished and made from raised gold letters.

Check your timepiece for design inconsistencies, a flat logo that’s printed or stamped, and any blurriness in the logo.

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5 quick ways to spot a fake Audemars Piguet

There are some more dead giveaways to look out for in your Audemars Piguet watch authenticity checks. Beyond the timepiece’s physical appearance, here are 5 ways to spot a counterfeit AP watch:

  • Price: Maybe the most obvious of all counterfeit signs, if the price seems too good to be true, that’s because it is. Check the market value and compare the watch against that.
  • Seller: Watch out for scams. Never buy an Audemars Piguet from a social media advert or a website that doesn’t look legit. Verify the URL and always buy from reputable dealers. It always helps if an online store has a physical store, too.
  • Ticking sound: Can you hear the seconds hand ticking away? If so, the watch is probably not genuine. AP watches, and other high-end Swiss watches, are almost impossible to hear. 
  • Box and paperwork: If the timepiece comes with the original box and paperwork, you’re onto a good thing. An AP watch box is made of wood with a smooth, quality lining. Of course, if a watch is missing the box and paperwork, don’t immediately strike it off as a fake. These things can go missing during a watch’s lifetime.

Serial number: Find your Audemars Piguet’s serial number and make sure it’s written in the correct format. We’ll delve into the serial number check some more in the next section.

How do I find my Audemars Piguet serial number?

The Audemars Piguet serial number check is a key part of the authentication process, especially when you’re buying a second-hand timepiece.

Every AP watch has a letter and unique serial number engraved on the outside of the case back. The letter changes after every 100,000 watches, while the number gives an idea of when the watch was manufactured. Together, they’re a mark of authenticity. 

As well as on the case back, you’ll find this number on the Audemars Piguet Certificate of Authenticity and warranty card.

How to buy a genuine second-hand Audemars Piguet

Real Audemars Piguet watches tend to appreciate in value. Fakes don’t. Make sure you’re purchasing something built with real history and exceptional craftsmanship. Here’s how.

Avoid the urge to buy on impulse. It's easy to get swept up in the excitement of owning a new timepiece, but an AP is a serious investment. Compare models and research the brand’s history - a deeper understanding of the brand will help you spot a fake Audemars Piguet.

Always buy from a reputable seller who can authenticate watches and explain why it’s genuine. Before handing over your card details, ask for documents, including the Audemars Piguet Certificate of Authenticity.

The documents that confirm authenticity

Premium Swiss watches come with a mini stack of paperwork. While some of this paperwork confirms authenticity, some doesn’t.

Take the “Extract from the Archives”. This document certifies the case and movement number that appears in the official Audemars Piguet records, but it can’t be used as authentication.

According to Audemars Piguet itself, only a Certificate of Authenticity guarantees that a watch is genuine. Only the official Audemars Piguet manufacturer in Le Brassus, Switzerland, is authorised to provide this.

You can request documents from AP. They’re good to have if you’re selling a watch and want to reassure genuine buyers that it’s a real AP.

Book an Audemars Piguet authenticity check

If you’re still on the fence about purchasing an AP, and want an expert to carry out a full authenticity check, Trilogy Jewellers would be happy to help. We have extensive experience with and knowledge of the Audemars Piguet brand, and can confirm whether your watch is real or fake.

To buy a genuine Audemars Piguet watch, browse our online collection or visit our showroom in Hatton Garden, London. Own a real piece of history with an exceptionally crafted timepiece that’s an unmissable addition to your portfolio. 

Call 0203 929 8227 to book an appointment.


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