On the site of the watch house’s first workshop, Audemars Piguet is opening a museum dedicated to explaining the brand’s heritage, craft and future. In 1875, Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet started their business in the Vallée de Joux, in the Swiss Jura Mountains, and at the end of June the Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet will open to teach visitors from across the world about watchmaking.
Suited to a watch house that celebrates the most exquisite craft, the museum’s structure has been developed by leading architects Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). The architects expanded Audemars Piguet’s historical workshop into a spiral-shaped glass pavilion that rises from the ground to offer breathtaking views over the surrounding countryside.
The museum includes displays of horological innovation and design and offers visitors the chance to try some of the traditional techniques used in making a watch. There are exhibitions that pay tribute to the visionary people behind the brand and that tell the 200-year-old story of the brand through 300 of Audemars Piguet’s most interesting watches.
At the centre of the spiral building sits two ateliers that exemplify the house’s most incredible achievements in technical mastery. The first is the Grandes Complications, the workshop in which Audemars Piguet’s most intricate timepieces are produced over a period of six to eight months, each with more than 648 components. The second is the Metiers d’Art where Audemars Piguet’s haute joaillerie is designed and carefully crafted by highly skilled jewellers.
‘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,’ says Jasmine Audemars, chairwoman of the board of directors. ‘But, before all, we wanted to pay tribute to the watchmakers and craftspeople who have made what Audemars Piguet is today, generation after generation.’