Audemars Piguet: visit to Le Brassus

Audemars Piguet: visit to Le Brassus

With the Italian management of Audemars Piguet and the Luigi Verga watchmaker in Milan,

I was able to visit the headquarters of the famous Swiss manufacturer. A fascinating experience to say the least, given the history, technique and expertise that “oozes” on the spot. The Swiss Maison was born in 1875 in Le Brassus thanks to two young watchmakers from the area, Jules-Louis Audemars and Edward-Auguste Piguet. And since then it has remained both rooted in the Jura Valley and owned by the two founding families.replica Audemars Piguet

In 3 intrepid people we found ourselves in Via Mazzini in Milan,

where Umberto Verga and his General Manager were waiting for us with a flaming Range Rover Vogue, kindly made available to us by the car manufacturer. The trip, either for the convenience of the vehicle or for the sympathy of the group, lasted for nothing, despite the harshness of the weather (the Vallèe de Joux in winter remains almost isolated due to heavy snow).watch

When we arrived at our destination,

Franco Ziviani (CEO of Audemars Italia), Andrea Cardillo (commercial director) and François-Henry Bennahmias (CEO Audemars Piguet) welcomed us, with whom we dined and listened to pleasant anecdotes about their maison. One, in particular, I would like to share with you: François-Henry Bennahmias has revealed to us the true story of the genesis of the Royal Oak.best fake watches

In 1970 Gerald Genta (one of the greatest watch designers of all time: just think of the Royal Oak, Patek Philippe’s Nautilus, IWC’s Ingenieur, Cartier Pasha to name the most famous),

the Swiss house , with which he was already collaborating,

and the Italian distributor Carlo De Marchi, commissioned him (in particular for the Italian market) a steel sports watch, then a decidedly audacious bet … And Genta, after nights spent getting an idea , finally remembered when as a child he observed the divers who wore the diving suit with the classic octagonal shaped porthole fixed by a rubber joint and 8 bolts. Translating this memory into the design of a new avant-garde case, adding a flat sapphire crystal and an integrated bracelet with decreasing steel links was an instant (for him …). It was much more difficult to be able to manufacture it: it took a year and finally it was presented with a thousand uncertainties at the Basel Fair in 1972, but it only came to success after a few years. But the history of the Royal Oak deserves a separate study, which I will offer you in the coming weeks.

Returning to our trip, early in the morning we were able to visit their Museum:

a fascinating experience! It was like going back in time, getting lost in incredible watches, movements and complications. Two above all: the Audemars Piguet branded Lépine pocket watch of 1882 (perpetual calendar and quarter repeater among the various complications present) and the Quantième Perpétuel of 1978, the flattest automatic perpetual calendar in the world, derived from the mechanical winding movement automatic 2120 which still remains the flattest in the world in its category (only 2.45mm!). Even if the Restoration Laboratory (I am attaching a few photos that more than many words can make you understand what it is) and the Sala delle Suonerie have a charm of its own: perhaps this is, among the various complications, the one that has always distinguished Audemars Piguet the most. . Service note for fellow readers: the Museum can be visited upon request.

In the afternoon it was the turn of the new factory,

completed in 2008 respecting the particularly strict Swiss ecological standards. What struck me are the particularly bright spaces: watchmakers, in fact, need light, preferably natural. This is the reason why large windows 80 cm above the ground have been prepared. Inside, most of the approximately 27,000 watches manufactured each year are produced (Audemars also has an office in Le Locle and one in Meyrin). The most common series rarely exceed a thousand pieces and unique pieces or limited editions of a few dozen pieces are not rare.

I do not dwell, for fear of turning an article into a book,

on the mastery of the craftsmen I met in the factory (some screws used in the complications do not exceed a third of a millimeter!). I only tell you that reluctantly my travel companions and I have taken the way back, confident, however, that we will be able to repeat such an experience as soon as possible!

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