The Restoration Workshop is where two of the brand’s finest watchmakers, Francisco and Angelo, restore and maintain historic watches. Audemars Piguet crafts its timepieces to last for generations, but here, in this L-shaped room with long work benches and abundant natural light—a boon for the watchmakers—owners can have historic watches returned to their original glory.
Infused with a sense of history, Francisco and Angelo are deeply humble men. “With each watch, I learn something from the watchmakers before me,” Angelo told me. The two restore not only Audemars Piguet creations, but also watches from other makers in the Vallee du Joux that are no longer in business. If a watch needs a new part, Francisco and Angelo will make it from scratch, along with additional components for future use, often utilizing traditional tools. A large cabinet that occupies one wall is filled with small, meticulously labeled wooden and cardboard boxes; they contain parts made for a variety of complex watches and calibers that have been worked on at the Restoration Workshop over the decades. “These watches,” Angelo says, “are a window into the people who made them.”
As he says it, I realize that just as every watch tells the time and, often, other useful information, it also tells a story, a narrative of technological advancement infused with human artistry. The watches kept at Audemars Piguet’s headquarters are scientific instruments. But they are also a labor of love.
Richard Bradley is Chief Content Officer at Worth. This is part two of a four-part series.