Audemars Piguet

A New Chronology

Designed by Danish architecture firm BIG, Swiss watch brand Audemars Piguet’s new museum forges a link between the company’s past, present and future.

By Katya Wachtel JUL 2015

Luxury watch brand Audemars Piguet was founded 135 years ago in the small Swiss village of Le Brassus in the Vallée de Joux, a highland area near the French border. The remote, picturesque valley is one of Switzerland’s haute watchmaking cradles and has a reputation for long, bitterly cold winters.

The brutal weather is in some way responsible for a timepiece industry that has flourished here for the last 200 years. In the 19th century, a generation of farmers learned to tinker with clocks and watches in their attic workshops during the winter months, when the fields were buried in snow and their typical duties on hold.

Audemars Piguet has been based in Le Brassus since Edward Auguste Piguet and Jules Louis Audemars established their village store in 1875, and last year the company commissioned the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), an architecture firm based in Copenhagen and New York, to radically alter its historic pastoral headquarters for the first time in its history.

It’s an idea that had “long been in the air”, says Sebastian Vivas, Audemars Piguet’s heritage and museum director. “We don’t want to double or triple the number of watches – that’s not the objective,” he says. “We want more space to tell Audemars Piguet’s history in a better way, especially concerning today and the future.”

The existing museum is located in the 1868 building that was originally the company founder’s home. It’s a pretty, historic building made of stone, and it’s very much a symbol of ... Subscribe to read this article in full

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