Audemars Piguet | The Enchanted Museum of Audemars Piguet

2023-08-07 22:05:41

Head to the Vallée de Joux for a dazzling visit! The “Simply Complicated” exhibition gives us the opportunity to glide along the Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet

A giant Wonderland-style snail, a spiral in the shape of a spiral (watchmaker)? Seen from above, the vegetated rings of the Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet extend the green landscape (but also the winding road that leads there via the Col du Marchairuz). These whorls, hemmed with a “guilloché” structure, fit perfectly into this bucolic valley. The legend – and Raphaël Balestra, Heritage and Archives Manager, our guide today – tells that the Danish architect Bjarke Ingels drew his inspiration from a watchmaker bending a thin metal blade. Here, no walls, but glass panels – 108 load-bearing panels, and up to 12 cm thick glass! A transparency that intertwines interior and exterior and lets the natural light flow freely, which is so precious for watchmakers. Because here are also the workbenches of the grand complications and decoration craftsmen, working facing the valley, under the watchful eye of some 300 watches.

Audemars Piguet Workshop Museum © Audemars Piguet

Rendezvous with History…

The spiral unfolds the visit around two exceptional watches: the “Universale” pocket watch from 1899, at the heart of the permanent exhibition, and the Code 11.59 Ultra-Complication Universelle RD#4. Inspired by the first, this piece presented in 2023 is honored until the end of the year by the temporary exhibition “Simply Complicated”. But, place to visit! Tic tac, as the White Rabbit reminds us, the uninhibited giant white rabbit placed at the entrance. The tour begins with a pleasantly interactive introduction: the history of watchmaking in the Vallée de Joux as well as the founding families and watchmakers. Then we continue to the heart of the matter: here, we master the complications! Perpetual calendars then chiming watches and chronographs follow one another, displayed in golden bubbles. At the center of this ballet-planetarium, levitates a central Sun: the Universal pocket watch, one of the most complicated in the world. Time to catch your breath, to observe this marvel up close without fear of getting burned, and you are already climbing the spiral. Jewelery fantasies and vintage designs recall the abundant creativity of the past century… with a first glimpse of a certain Royal Oak. The dives of this model of anthology will not be disappointed. Because the next part of the exhibition is dedicated to him, revealed with a lot of theatricality (we won’t go into details to keep the surprise intact…).

Audemars Piguet Workshop Museum © Audemars Piguet

(Re)live an incredible watchmaking challenge

Such an abundance of Royal Oak will motivate many. But today, the other real highlight of the show is in the temporary exhibition. Until the end of 2023, “Simply Complicated” allows you to dive into the challenges posed by the creation of an exceptional watch, the Code 11.59 Ultra-Complication Universelle RD#4. Spurred on by the idea of ​​creating an ultra-complicated wristwatch that is extremely easy to use, designers, builders, watchmakers and craftsmen have pooled their talents. The Caliber 1000, with more than 1100 components, thus totals 40 functions, 23 complications and 17 technical innovations! However, its adjustments remain easy, thanks to three crowns equipped with pushers (to find out more, read our article Ultra, quite simply. RD#4 by Audemars Piguet). Testimonials from the people involved, 3D molded prototypes and glass plates revealing the different mechanisms… you might find the ultra-complicated very simple!

Audemars Piguet Workshop Museum © Audemars Piguet

How to visit the Atelier Audemars Piguet Museum?

By reservation only
With Guided Tours, Kids Tours, and “Design & Mastery” Masterclasses to experience the Manufacture in multiple ways.

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