With some 200 timepieces on display until Nov. 13, “To Break the Rules, You Must First Master Them,” an exhibition at the Yuz Museum in Shanghai, is Audemars Piguet’s largest display ever staged outside Switzerland.
“We didn’t want to make a classical museum exhibition with just display showcases containing watches,” said Sébastian Vivas, director of the Audemars Piguet museum in Switzerland and the exhibition’s curator. “We wanted the exhibition to be a place of experiences, where people can meet watchmakers and where they can hear minute repeaters and see the mechanism out of their case.”
Twelve rooms within a large metal-ring structure, reminiscent of a giant watch dial, retrace the manufacturer’s journey, highlighting two common threads throughout four generations of the Audemars and Piguet families: a commitment to complex horological mechanisms and a desire to remain creative.
Highlights include the 1875 Jules Louis Audemars school watch, which has several complications. “It is historically very important not only because it demonstrates that the founder of Audemars Piguet was a highly skilled watchmaker but because it is, in its way, a ‘manifeste’ during the era of industrialization,” Mr. Vivas said. “Until 1951, Audemars Piguet produced only unique pieces, and even since, the production has remained very low.”
Also, there is first perpetual calendar wristwatch with leap year indication, dated 1957, a watch (above) that Mr. Vivas called “one of the most important” in the collection.
Artworks inspired by the watchmaker’s location in Switzerland’s Valleé de Joux are included, like a sonic installation by Alexandre Joly based on recorded sounds, from the wind rustling in the trees to including the ticking of a watch movement.