Sales dropped by 24% for Audemars Piguet in the UK last year, according to accounts published at Companies House today.
Turnover dropped from £28.8 million to £21.8 million in the financial year that ended December 31, 2017.
However operating profit rose by 31% from £695,398 to £909,920, the company’s best result since 2013.
Audemars Piguet (UK) Ltd has been on a roller coaster ride over recent years as it took back control of its distribution from long-term partner Time Products Luxury Limited.
In 2016, Time Products Limited reported a dramatic spike in sales and profits in thanks largely to a one-off payment from Audemars Piguet for the early termination of a long term distribution agreement.
In the same financial year, Marcus Margulies sold his world-renowned collection of vintage Audemars Piguet timepieces to the Swiss watchmaker. Mr Margulies, founder and CEO of Time Products Luxury, spent almost 30 years amassing what is thought to have been the most significant private collection in the world, including pieces dating from the 1890s to the 1990s.
In its 2016 accounts Time Products Luxury pre-tax profit rose from £1.86 million in 2016 to £24.38 million in 2016. “A very substantial proportion of this profit results from the early termination of the long term distribution agreement with Audemars Piguet,” a statement accompanying the accounts said.
The Brexit vote in 2016 has added to the volatility in Audemars Piguet’s business, although director Daniel Compton said in his report with 2017’s accounts that, in the short term, it had not had an adverse effect on the UK market as the weakness of the pound following the referendum made the UK an attractive place to shop for luxury watches.
Audemars Piguet’s world-wide turnover is close to passing the CHF 1 billion mark, according to chief executive Francois-Henry Bennahmias.
The luxury watchmaker, which is still independently owned by descendants of the Jules-Louis Audemars and Edward-Auguste Piguet who created the business in 1875, has been making around 40,000 timepieces per year for several years, but average prices have been soaring.
An influential annual report by Swiss investment bank Vontobel, calculates that AP’s global sales rose by 12% last year to CHF 962 million, giving it 2.6% of the world-wide watch market.