Audemars Piguet embraces talent with Beyond Watchmaking Exhibition in Tokyo
The Swiss Haute Horlogerie manufacturer that reputed for its rich history, Audemars Piguet, has recently launched Beyond Watchmaking exhibition held for the first time at Tokyo Midtown, Roppongi, Japan. Beyond Watchmaking puts Haute Horlogerie and art in conversation to offer a unique and transformative journey into Audemars Piguet’s cultural and creative universe. The exhibition is presented as part of the 13th edition of Tokyo Midtown DESIGN TOUCH, a series of public art events focusing on the five senses.
It was a marvelous experience for me to be invited by Audemars Piguet and be part of the exclusive preview of Beyond Watchmaking Exhibition with over 130 guests in October. I had the opportunity to meet with Mathieu Lehanneur, designer of the exhibition space, and artists Ryoji Ikeda and Alexandre Joly, whose commissioned artworks complement the exhibition. Also I was invited to attend programs in relation to the exhibition theme and to discover Japan’s culture of perfection through a variety of meticulous artisanal crafts resonating with Audemars Piguet’s values of heritage, ancestral savoir-faire, and innovation. The day concluded with a dedicated dinner at the venue with Jasmine Audemars, Audemars Piguet’s Chairwoman of the Board of Directors, and François-Henry Bennahmias, Chief Executive Officer.
The celebration continued with the premiere of Ryoji Ikeda’s audio-visual installation data-verse 2 displayed at the exhibition’s entrance. This data-driven composition proposes a journey through the cosmos, from the microscopic to the human scale, to the macroscopic. The first variation of Ikeda’s trilogy was unveiled last May at the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. For the occasion, a dedicated talk was organized with the artist and John Zeppetelli, Director and Curator of the Musée d’art Contemporain de Montréal. The dialogue explored how Ikeda’s digital artworks evoke the complexity of our world today while connecting us globally.
The Exhibition Space
Beyond Watchmaking tells the story of Audemars Piguet’s dedicated craftspeople who have continuously developed new skills and techniques, broadening their savoir-faire to set rule-breaking trends across generations. Spanning the Manufacture’s 144 years of history, it features over 150 watches from Audemars Piguet’s heritage and contemporary collections, including masterpieces of horological complication and pioneering design, as well as spaces of encounters and exchanges dedicated to the Manufacture’s ancestral savoir-faire.
Mathieu Lehanneur imagined the exhibition space as a large-scale copper ring structured around rock replicas molded on-site in the Vallée de Joux—a tribute to Audemars Piguet’s geographic origins. Around them, 12 doors open to reveal the main technical and design milestones of the company’s watchmaking legacy. Reminiscent of a watch dial, the circular space comes to life as visitors plunge into Audemars Piguet’s history.
Complemented with artworks commissioned by Audemars Piguet and realized by Ryoji Ikeda, Alexandre Joly, and Dan Holdsworth, the exhibition space also visualizes the Manufacture’s origins and craftsmanship, as well as the complexity of time, through the lens of contemporary art. In so doing, Audemars Piguet nurtures a creative and inspiring dialogue among creative practices.