The Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet, A Trip Like No Other…
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Geneva is THE destination for watch aficionados and the lovely village of Le Brassus is certainly amongst the most desirable village to visit when being around La Vallee de Joux. About a little more than an hour away from Geneva, the journey to Le Brassus looks like an advertisement for the Swiss Alps ( yes, you should do this during winter, its gorgeous during that time of the year!).
The Vallee de Joux is the historical nest of watchmaking.
The watchmaking tradition of the Vallée de Joux owes its origin to the iron industry, whose presence in the region has allowed the manufacture of timepieces (originally large clocks) from the first half of the 18th century, to move in and grow tremendously. In parallel, the development of pocket watches pushed the first combiers watchmakers (watchmakers from La Vallee de Joux) to train in the Lake Geneva region. Returning to the Vallée de Joux, they trained peasants, who began to share their time between agriculture in summer and watchmaking during the long winters. This is how the watchmaking tradition was born.
The watchmakers of the Vallée de Joux made themselves well known around the world due to the high complexity of their watchmaking.
The brand new Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet in Le Brassus, was designed by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, who is known for his unusual geometries of his buildings and it clearly showcases the DNA of Audemars Piguet: It’s bold, elegant and high tech. This impressive single-story museum features a structure that appears to rise up from the Valley de Joux as a swirling coil. Its amazing walls are supported by 108 curved glass panels that hold up the ceiling without any support. The windows allow the interior light to work its magic as well as enable the visitor to admire the breathtaking view of the Vallee. Thanks to its grass-covered structure, the building truly blends with the surrounding nature which adds some magic to the universe of watchmaking…
The spiraling design of the building enables the viewer to get a smooth, agreeable visit without seeing the same thing twice.
Visitors will discover more than 300 watches, including historical pieces, modern landmark designs as well as contemporary best sellers while admiring watchmakers toiling on a couple of more advanced mechanical movements through the glass-enclosed workshops. The museum is a masterpiece in clean-room technology offering a dust-free environment thanks to air-lock-like anterooms separating the exhibition from the working areas.
The main attraction of the museum is the most impressive piece of the Maison’s archives: The Universelle, a gold pocket watch from 1899 featuring more than 20 complications and 1,168 parts. Only 3 specimens were made.
To celebrate the opening of the museum, AP has released a limited edition run of 500 watches called The (Re)master01, a self-winding timepiece inspired by a rare chronograph from 1943 that has a stainless steel case and a pink gold bezel. The (Re)master01 is very similar on the outside to the original, apart from the fact that it is larger (40mm instead of 36mm) but it is completely different on the inside, with a modern movement and is water-resistant.
It is a great piece for the collector who appreciates the lines of the vintage with the technology of our contemporary pieces.
We are looking forward to discovering the company’s Hôtel des Horlogers scheduled to open next year! (another creation of Ingels).
Do not forget your skis and…
Enjoy your visit!