Today, some of the SIHH guests were invited to the tour for the Audemars Piguet Museum as well as Manufacture (NO CAMERA ALLOWED – sorry!) and lunch at Hotel des Holrogers (owned by Audemars Piguet, right next to one of the factory buildings).
There are so many to see and this museum includes the actual atelier where watchmakers are making Tourbillon and doing restoration work. Very impressive building – another “must see” for the Audemars Piguet fans. I was told that Audemars Piguet is (contemplating) building a new Museum building and there will be a new on in a few years. Would love to visit again.
1. The Road to La Brassus and entrance of the Museum 2. History/ Historical Pieces 3. Atelier des Tourbillons 4. Du Style au Design – Royal Oak 5. Atelier de Restoration 6. Hotel des Holrogers
It takes about an hour by the veteran driver to go from Geneva to La Brassus. And the weather was not too good (but the veteran driver run at 70-80km/ hour).
Where are we taken to?
Ah! Finally one of the Audemars Piguet building.
And there it is. Perhaps the oldest building?
At the entrance.
Our guide Mr. Denys Capt, a veteran, semi-retired watchmaker, explains the watch mechanism. Basis watch lecture room.
Next, AP history and historical pieces….
The family tree of the Audemars and the Piguets, and other major maisons….
Other major maisons family….
Current on the Audemars’ side.
Current on the Piguets side.
The first pocket watch ca. 1770.
Le Coultre – Piguet Chronograph Rattrapante, ca. 1895
Le Coultre et Piguet Repeater Westminster. ca. 1900
Montre a musique et repetition, Piguet & Maylan, ca. 1820
Montre a musique, automate et repetition, Piguet et Maylan, ca. 1840
Repetition Quarts, Phillippe & Maylan, ca. 1815
Repetition Minutes, Louis Audemars, ca. 1880
Too many to name…..
A bit modern – EOT, 2006
Interesting display – lets you listen to the repeater sound from each.
Wow…. Has the repeater evolved so much further than this? Maybe RD1 is trying to answer….
Very, very thin pocket watch (will appear again at the Restoration room)
Made in 1921….
Quartz watch by Audemars Piguet in 1974
To be continued to the Tourbillon Room.
Watchmakers are actually making tourbillons in this room, with some historical and current tourbillon models.
1980’s tourbillon watch
No need to explain…. So nice.
Royal Oak and other design watches.
Why “Royal Oak”? Our guide, Mr. Denys Capt explained.
The Royal Oak is the English oak tree within which King Charles II of England hid to escape the Roundheads following the Battle of Worcester in 1651. The tree was in Boscobel Wood, which was part of the park of Boscobel House. Charles confirmed to Samuel Pepys in 1680 that while he was hiding in the tree, a Parliamentarian soldier passed directly below it. The story was popular after theRestoration, and is remembered every year in the English traditions of Royal Oak Day. Numerous large dishes painted in slip with the Boscobel Oak, supported by the Lion and Unicorn, with the king’s face peeping from the branches were made by the Staffordshirepotter Thomas Toft (from Wikipedia).
There were various warships named HMS Royal Oak and the ship’s window is the inspiration of the design.
Here is the original Royal Oak.
20th Anniversary Royal Oak (1992)
Other notable design watches.
The Star Wheels!
2008 Perpetual calendar and minute repeater.
To be continued….
One watchmaker was working (another, senior watchmaker was at SIHH booth) and he was so passionate about restoring old watches, not only Audemars Piguet’s, but also any watch made in the Valle de Joux, sometimes he must build the parts by themselves and it takes a long time and effort….
Boxes in the vault – each box has inside the parts or records of the movement they created, but the record is not perfect – still going through archiving.
One of the box – this one was never finished and there is still the unfinished movement inside.
For minute repeater restoration – recreated gong, unfinished, testing the sound.
The sketch of the missing parts – balance wheel axis for the ultra-thin movement.
See the left one?
For this ultra thin pocket watch.
Finished pocket watch – how to finish the surface of the parts has been lost, so they have to try and error, or try to find the parts…..
That’s it for the Museum report…. If you visit Geneva, you should visit here.
Manufacture tour was also interesting, but no photograph was allowed, so I do not have much to tell you. Sorry!
Short ride from the museum, the latest building is standing. With the small river in front of it, very nice environment.
And, as for the Hotel, owned by Audemars Piguet, it is built close to the AP buildings near the museum.
Name of the rooms..
We had nice lunch here.
Okay, folks, that’s it for today’s report!
This message has been edited by MTF on 2015-01-26 17:54:22 Thanks for sharing; so many great pictures!
I wish I could go there once!!!
A great trip through your pictures!
Shame I didn’t know you were in town last week, would have been good to meet up at SIHH.
Thanks Ken for sharing these pics of the AP Museum and tour. It brings back many fond memories of the PuristS-On-Tour trip we made back in 2008 visiting AP. Such a cool experience.
Thanks for sharing with all of us Worth visiting many times, for sure!
KenThanks a lot for sharing Ken, the pictures are clear and the MRs videos were great to hear.
I toured Audemars Piguet facilities led by Vanessa Cellier and Denys Capt last May. We saw so many departments over both locations in Le Brassus, had a wonderful lunch at their Hotel des Horologers, but ran out of time and didn’t get a chance to see the watches and family trees, etc. in the museum. AP was so gracious to allow me to return for to see all that I missed this past October after our PuristSPro group visited Hublot and Zenith. Mr. Capt also brought me back to the tourbillon- and restoration areas that I previously visited in May. I loved seeing everything and staying overnight at the Hotel des Horologers.
You can see down the road new huge locations for Vacheron and Patek Philippe. Denys explained that so many experienced watchmakers don’t want the big city life of Geneva and surroundings so they must locate where the labor market is. Also, who plans to visit the area must see the Espace Horloger, a comprehensive watch museum a few hundred yards from Jaeger LeCoultre that gives a great background of how and why the area grew into generations of watch-making families.
Dear Ken, thank you for your report. I’d like to add my impressions.
First of all: the wonderful panoramas you’ve shot from the car during the road to Le Brassus look as the fairy tales ones, but… at 80 Km/h… I think they turned to a nightmare… 😉
The family tree of the Audemars and the Piguets, and the cross between each (you’ve properly outlined the recent marriage between Michelle Piguet and Philippe Audemars) and the other major Maisons is really interesting, since it clearly depicts how the Vallée de Joux villages where (and are) connected, also by family links.
The Atelier des Tourbillons fascinates me more than the Design department because generally the APs don’t speak to me from the aesthetical point of view. I’m not a Royal Oak fan – even if I really like some references of this family – while I really like the Star Wheels.
And finally, the Atelier de Restoration: for me, the very beating heart of your report. For the second time, here we find hints of the links established during the centuries between the horlogers living and working in the Vallée de Joux. The boxes in the vault, still to be completely archived, make me dream about working in a similar Atelier: I would do it even for free, during my holidays! And the box with the unfinished movement? Absolutely uber-cool!!! I’m sure if I had it in my hand I’d immediately start designing a watch over it. The minute repeater restoration of course is incredibly outstanding too, but I think is a bit far from my personal experience as a watch-lover. The balance wheel axis for the ultra-thin movement and its sketch (enlarged by 50 or 100X?) could really be the epitome of the entire restoration department.
Finally, I’m completely with you: this Museum worth a visit. If one day a PoT will be organized in Le Brassus, with mandatory accommodation in the Hôtel des Horlogers… well, I’ll be in!!!
it’s really a pity that AP didn’t allowed any pictures during the Manufacture tour. I wonder why.
I have been quite fortunate to visit the facilities twice in the past 2 years. I was allowed to share photos from the Manufacture but not the Museum (could not even snap photos). Ken has posted much of what I was able to see in those restricted areas, so I am glad that has been allowed.
You can search my old reports and find the Manufacture photos from those times when it was approved.Thanks for takign the time to post and share all the photos! Really great that you ‘took us along’ !!!
Do let us know what other interesting things/ observations you made there!
Thanks for tjis very nice article.
No message bodyNo message body.. I did try to find other PuristS, too