The newly opened private watch museum by Swiss horological brand Audemars Piguet is as fascinating as the timepieces showcased inside it. Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet is a new-glass structure with a spiral-shaped pavilion inspired by the most crucial watch component: the hairspring.
The Musée Atelier rises from the ground on the walls of curved glass, offering a spectacular view of the pristine landscape surrounding the property. 108 unique glass panes support the steel roof, which coils in the air like a mystery watch.
Designed by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and executed by CCHE, the architectural masterpiece took seven years to come to life. The museum marries tradition and innovation and is an engineering and designing marvel.
Built on what was the old parking lot of the Audemar Piguet headquarters in Le Brassus, Switzerland, the new structure intentionally has a low profile so that it does not overshadow the original house where Jules Louis A.udemars and Edward Auguste Piguet set up business in 1875.
As Bjarke Ingels, BIG’s Founder and Creative Director explains, “Unlike most machines and most buildings today that have a disconnect between the body and the mind, the hardware and the software, for the Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet we have attempted to completely integrate the geometry and the performance, the form and the function, the space and the structure, the interior and the exterior in a symbiotic whole.”
The floor of the museum follows the slope of the land and the engineering feat has been designed in such a manner that visitors travel through the building as they would through the spring of a timepiece.
Inside the museum, there are 300 timepieces on display, which offers a glimpse into the 200-year-old history of watchmaking in the Vallée de Joux. It showcases some of the manufacture’s most complicated watches. The Atelier also houses production workshops for Haute Joaillerie creations and Grandes Complications, so that the visitors can watch how the brand’s timepieces are made.
Sébastian Vivas, Audemars Piguet’s Heritage and Museum Director explains, “The Musée Atelier honours the Audemars and Piguet families who were part of a very long tradition of watchmaking. The new space, together with the traditional workshop, make for the perfect meeting place where visitors can engage with us and our watchmakers, whilst learning about the brand and the history of watchmaking in the region.”
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