Audemars Piguet has long been on its quest to combine artistic excellence and technical mastery, discovering synergetic connections between contemporary art and the artistry of its timepieces. Since the Audemars Piguet Manufacture was founded in 1875, generations of watchmakers have progressed complex mechanisms created in le Brassus into future-forward micro-mechanical technologies throughout every decade of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Openworked watches, for example, is a category of hand-crafted high watchmaking, with movement plates, bridges and components that have been precisely cut away as much as possible to reveal the skeletal structure of the mechanism.
The latest evolution in Audemars Piguet openworked watches includes a ground-breaking, patented double balance wheel, which increases accuracy over its predecessors by 30%. The two balance wheels and two hairsprings are assembled on the same balance staff, oscillating in pure harmony, allowing the wearer to experience the kinetic art of mechanical horology. All of the interior and exterior angles of the skeletonised movement are done by hand as no machine is yet able to achieve this aesthetic. This new movement technology is protected inside the now iconic octagonal Royal Oak case, a design introduced in 1972.
In pursuit of further exploring creativity and innovation shared between the worlds of contemporary art and high end watchmaking, Audemars Piguet has been an Associate Partner of Art Basel since 2013. At all three Art Basel shows, the Swiss manufacture invites designers and artists to creatively interpret Audemars Piguet’s heritage and origin, by presenting innovative exhibition concepts in the Collectors Lounge. In 2014, French designer Mathieu Lehanneur created 'Mineral Lab', a lounge concept inspired by the elements of science, nature and technology present at Audemars Piguet’s home in the Vallée de Joux.
At this year’s Art Basel fair in Hong Kong, Chilean-born, New York-based artist Sebastian Errazuriz will unveil his new design of the Audemars Piguet lounge, which takes inspiration from the snowy winters of Le Brassus. The lounge installation promises to express the purity of nature and the passing of time, with water and ice as its main thematic elements.
Three key components will anchor Errazuriz’s design: the icicle as a beautiful form, accumulating over time; the water drop, seen as nature’s ticking pulse; and ripples in the water, symbolising the forward movement of new life. Those references to 'ripples in the water' and 'nature’s pulse' ticking away like fine watchmaking, reflect back to Audemars Piguet’s origins.
As part of the lounge experience for the Art Basel 2016 fairs, the brand will exhibit a selection of innovative historic and contemporary watches. These exceptional pieces of horological art will be displayed in a design especially created by Errazuriz.
In common with the craftsmen of Audemars Piguet, Errazuriz has always been a bold and fearless innovator, receiving international acclaim for his original and provocative works on a variety of areas and disciplines.
Tackling everything from political artworks to giant public art projects, experimental furniture and product design to women’s shoes and motorcycles, Errazuriz’s surprising and compelling creations blur the boundaries between contemporary art, design and craft. Focused on excellence, he frequently mixes traditional artisan techniques with high-tech computer milling and 3D printing. 'Nothing is impossible,' says Errazuriz summarising his work ethic in a few simple words: 'Everything can be improved.' The results are original, sometimes controversial creations employing only the finest materials, mirroring the core values of Audemars Piguet’s watchmaking: 'To break the rules you must first master them.'
Discover more about Audemars Piguet: www.audemarspiguet.com