Set to open to the public on 25 June 2020, the new Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet promises to immerse visitors in the Swiss manufacturer's cultural universe past, present and future. It encapsulates the coming together of contemporary architecture, pioneering scenography and traditional savoir-faire, whilst embodying the company's free spirit and devotion to the perpetuation of Haute Horlogerie in the Vallée de Joux and beyond.
"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."
Audemars Piguet's Chairwoman of the Board of Directors
A contemporary spiral-shaped glass pavilion complements the company's oldest building, where Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet set their workshop, back in 1875. This architectural combination symbolises the blend of tradition and forward thinking at the heart of Audemars Piguet's craftsmanship, while honouring its deep-rooted origins in the Vallée de Joux.
Traditional workshops, where some of the Manufacture's most complicated timepieces are still perfected today, is housed within the museum's spatial experience, bringing visitors in close contact with Audemars Piguet's craftspeople. The Grandes Complications and Métiers d'Art Ateliers, situated at the heart of the spiral, infuse life into the numerous feats of mechanical mastery and design exhibited throughout the museum.
An exhibition of 200 years of watchmaking history has been re-imagined as a musical score by German museum designer Atelier Bruckner. Visitors are set to have an experience with crescendos, high points and contemplative moments. Interludes, including sculptures, automata, kinetic installations and mock-ups of intricate mechanical movements, give life and rhythm to various aspects of horological technique and design.
300 timepieces are showcased, telling the story of how modest nineteenth-century artisans from an isolated valley at the heart of the Swiss Jura produced creations that caught the eye of metropolitan clients abroad and continue to captivate watch enthusiasts today across the world.
The Manufacture's complicated masterpieces are located at the centre of the spiral, where the architectural intensity is at its highest. The astronomical, chiming and chronograph complications that have been at the core of Audemars Piguet since its establishment are orbiting around the ultra-complicated Universelle pocket watch from 1899. Inspired by the solar system, the spherical showcases of this section evoke the astronomical cycles of time at the heart of watchmaking.
Two specialised ateliers are also situated at the heart of this building. The first is dedicated to the Grandes Complications, where each watch composed of more than 648 components spends from 6 to 8 months in the hands of a single watchmaker before leaving the workshop. The second workshop hosts the Métiers d'Art, where Haute Joaillerie creations are conceived and crafted by highly skilled jewellers, gem-setters and engravers. Looking at the past, present and future, these two ateliers, where some of Audemars Piguet's most intricate creations are still produced today, embody the Manufacture's uncompromising spirit.
The watch exhibition ends on a rich collection of Royal Oak, Royal Oak Offshore and Royal Oak Concept.
The Musée Atelier's spiral-shaped pavilion seamlessly rises on walls of structural curved glass. A feat of engineering and design, it is the first construction of its kind to be built at such altitude. The curved glazing entirely supports the steel roof, while a brass mesh runs along the external surface to regulate light and temperature.
The green roof further helps regulate temperature, while absorbing water. Integrated into the surrounding landscape, the various floors follow different slants to adapt to the natural gradient of the land and provide the basis of the museum's inner layout stretched into a linear continuous spatial experience. Inside, the curved glass walls converge clockwise towards the spiral's centre, before moving in the opposite direction: visitors travel through the building as they would through the spring of a timepiece.
What a mystical yet apt way to travel back in time, and move forward to present day and beyond.
Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet
Open to the public, children from age 6
Guided Tours by reservation only
Book your ticket on www.museeatelier-audemarspiguet.com
Monday to Friday: 2 guided tours per day at 14:00 and 15:00
Saturday (starting in 2021): 4 guided tours per day at 9:30, 10:30, 13:30 and 14:30
Duration: 2 hours
Adults: CHF 30
Ages 12 to 18: CHF 20
Ages 11 and under: free