Housing over 300 exceptional timepieces, the museum contains the past, present, and future of Audemars Piguet
It took four years to build up from scratch. But as they say, good things come to those who wait. The Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet, as designed by architects, the Bjarke Ingels Group, is finally ready. With its utterly contemporary architecture, it offers a fresh perspective on watchmaking in the Vallé de Joux.
Like a spiral rising from the ground, it reminds us of the hairspring of a watch. And it integrates seamlessly with the surrounding landscape. In the summer the museum is covered in fresh greenery. Then come winter, it’s all white with snow. Audemars Piguet’s watchmakers must be so tempted to ski down from the manufacture, which is just adjacent to the museum.
Past, present and future
These two structures, one modern and the other traditional, is a fitting metaphor for Audemars Piguet’s watchmaking philosophy. Always looking ahead but with a firm eye on its past.We see this most succinctly in the recently released [Re]Master01. That watch is not merely a reissue of a historical piece, but a complete reinterpretation using today’s technology. Something like going back to the past with the knowledge of today – hence, a remastering.
Says Jasmine Audemars, chairwoman of the Audemars Piguet board of directors: “We wanted visitors to experience our heritage, savoir-faire, cultural origins and openness to the world in a building that would reflect both our rootedness and forward-thinking spirit.
“But, before all, we wanted to pay tribute to the watchmakers and craftspeople who have made what Audemars Piguet is today, generation after generation.”
Traditional workshops and on-site craftsmen are one of the key highlights here. As well as the Grandes Complications and Métiers d’Arts Ateliers situated at the heart of the spiral. This is where you’ll see some of the most incredible feats of mechanical mastery and design.
The best of haute horlogerie
A lot of attention goes to Audemars Piguet’s epic 20th century icon, the Royal Oak. However, one should not forget that Audemars Piguet is ultimately a true master of haute horlogerie and pursuer of innovation.
“The Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet is a unique place of discovery, learning and conviviality where knowledge and savoir-faire are passed on to the next generation. The technical complexity of its architecture and scenography connects it to the highly complicated movement of a Grande Complication,” says heritage and museum director, Sébastian Vivas.
Of art and watches
Displaying more than 300 watches across 200 years of watchmaking history, the timepiece showcase brings out the best of Swiss haute horlogerie. See complications, miniaturisation and unconventional designs. We will discover the story of how watchmaking flourished in the Swiss Jura thanks to the genius of 19th century artisans.
In a spherical showcase inspired by the solar system, we see the astronomical cycles of time which is ultimately the core of watchmaking. Other great works on display include Audemars Piguet’s chiming watches and chronographs.
Of course, fans of the Royal Oak and Royal Oak Offshore will not be disappointed. These two key pillars of the manufacture, along with the Royal Oak Concept series, round off the permanent exhibition on a high note.
Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet will be officially open to the public on 25 June 2020.