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Portrait of a Master of Complications
October 25, 2010 Stories

Portrait of a master of complications
Royal Oak Assembly
Royal Oak Assembly

Only a handful of master watchmakers are capable of making Audemars Piguet’s grand complications. Age is not a determining factor; the team includes 33-year-old Joëlle Farine.

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“From the start of my career with Audemars Piguet, I wanted to make grand complications, but people told me I had to climb the ladder patiently,” smiles 33-year-old Joëlle Farine, who has worked for the company since the end of her apprenticeship as master watchmaker in 1997. This vivacious young woman reached her goal in record time: after having spent several months assembling watch movements, she joined the prestigious spécialités horlogères (watch specialty) workshop in which she familiarized herself with the perpetual calendar and the equation of time.

“I started to get bored once I’d understood how these complications worked. Looking for new challenges, I joined the grand complications workshop last summer,” she recounts cheerfully. Right away, she realized that the degree of complexity of her master watchmaking work had gone up significantly. In this light-filled room, ten talented master watchmakers create each timepiece in the pure tradition of the artisan. “The parts are delivered unfinished. I have to bevel them with a file, rivet the supports, and set the jewels, all without using any machines. Everything is done by hand, following instructions indexed in a thick binder.”

In a few months, she will finish her first timepiece. But she doesn’t know yet which model it will be. She’s betting on a Jules Audemars, but must wait until she receives the case and the wristlet to verify her intuition. “The tradition is that you bring sandwiches for the whole workshop for the 9 o’clock coffee break the day your watch is finished. I won’t be able get out of it!” predicts Joëlle Farine. Far from finding her daily routine tiresome, she is constantly learning to manipulate new pieces and complications. Even so, she doesn’t consider her current job as final. In ten years, she sees herself heading a workshop – perhaps even the prestigious specialty room?

Some Audemars Piguet’s grand complications

Some Audemars Piguet’s grand complications

Some Audemars Piguet’s grand complications
  • Some Audemars Piguet’s grand complications

    Royal Oak GRANDE COMPLICATION

    Selfwinding watch with perpetual calendar indicating the day, date, week, moon phases, month, leap years, minute repeater, split-seconds chronograph and small seconds at 9 o'clock. 18-carat white gold case, blue dial, 18-carat white gold bracelet.

    View Details
    Reference 25865BC.OO.1105BC.01 Thumbnail

    Calibre 2885 Manufacture

    Calibre 2885 Manufacture, front
    Front
    Calibre 2885 Manufacture, back
    Back
  • Some Audemars Piguet’s grand complications

    Royal Oak GRANDE COMPLICATION

    Selfwinding watch with perpetual calendar indicating the day, date, week, moon phases, month, leap years, minute repeater, split-seconds chronograph and small seconds at 9 o'clock. 18-carat white gold case, silvered dial, 18-carat white gold bracelet.

    View Details
    Reference 25865BC.OO.1105BC.04 Thumbnail

    Calibre 2885 Manufacture

    Calibre 2885 Manufacture, front
    Front
    Calibre 2885 Manufacture, back
    Back
  • Some Audemars Piguet’s grand complications

    Jules Audemars GRANDE COMPLICATION

    Selfwinding watch with perpetual calendar indicating the day, the date, the week, the moon phases, the month and the leap years, minute repeater, split-seconds chronograph and small seconds at 9 o'clock. Titanium case, sapphire dial, black strap.

    View Details
    Reference 25996TI.OO.D002CR.01 Thumbnail

    Calibre 2885 Manufacture

    Calibre 2885 Manufacture, front
    Front
    Calibre 2885 Manufacture, back
    Back
  • Some Audemars Piguet’s grand complications

    Jules Audemars GRANDE COMPLICATION

    Selfwinding watch with perpetual calendar indicating the day, the date, the week, the moon phases, the month and the leap years, minute repeater, split-seconds chronograph and small seconds at 9 o'clock. 18-carat pink gold case, sapphire dial, black strap.

    View Details
    Reference 25996OR.OO.D002CR.01 Thumbnail

    Calibre 2885 Manufacture

    Calibre 2885 Manufacture, front
    Front
    Calibre 2885 Manufacture, back
    Back
  • Some Audemars Piguet’s grand complications

    Jules Audemars GRANDE COMPLICATION

    Selfwinding watch with perpetual calendar indicating the day, the date, the week, the moon phases, the month and the leap years, minute repeater, split-seconds chronograph and small seconds at 9 o'clock. 950 platinum case, sapphire dial, black strap.

    View Details
    Reference 25996PT.OO.D002CR.01 Thumbnail

    Calibre 2885 Manufacture

    Calibre 2885 Manufacture, front
    Front
    Calibre 2885 Manufacture, back
    Back