The ongoing pandemic may have put the brakes on this year’s editions of Baselworld and Watches & Wonders, but here’s a development in the world of watchmaking to look forward to. On 25 June, Audemars Piguet is set to open the Musee Atelier Audemars Piguet in the Vallée de Joux in Switzerland, right next to the brand’s equally-charming ski hotel. The building takes on a modern spiral shape, designed by BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group), and will take guests on a journey through the brand’s 139-year history of watchmaking.
The Musee Atelier Audemars Piguet is set to be an extension of the Swiss watchmaker’s headquarters and has a watch museum that will house over 300 timepieces amassed over the span of two centuries. However, the spiral design is not just a modern marvel to be admired — it represents the coil of a watch spring, which symbolises the harmony of tradition and foresight that is at the heart of the brand’s craftsmanship.
“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,” said Audemars Piguet’s Chairwoman of the Board of Directors Jasmine Audemars. “But, before all, we wanted to pay tribute to the watchmakers and craftspeople who have made what Audemars Piguet is today, generation after generation.”
For one, the exhibition has been reimagined as a musical score, composed by German museum designer Atelier Brückner. Timepieces are displayed in cases shaped like an astronomical instrument with some pieces in suspended cases. Visitors can also see sculptures and moving models that showcase the inner workings of these complications, admiring firsthand the craftsmanship behind it.
At the heart of the spiral are two specialised ateliers: One is dedicated to the Grandes Complications, where each timepiece has more than 648 components and can take up to eight months to finish. Another is for Métiers d’Art, for the Haute Joaillerie creations where highly-skilled jewellers, gem-setters, and engravers will be at work creating the precious pieces.
(All images: Audemars Piguet)
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Kuala Lumpur