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The Unspoiled Setting of Audemars Piguet
June 20, 2011 Stories

The unspoiled setting of Audemars Piguet
From the Origins to Today
From the Origins to Today

The Vallée de Joux, cradle of the Manufacture, is one of Switzerland’s most well-protected natural areas, with forests that stretch as far as the eye can see. Join us for a walk through this piece of paradise.


“The Valley,” is how the inhabitants of the high plateau of the Jura mountains refer to the “Vallée de Joux,” their slice of nature perched at 1,000 meters in altitude. Just fifty kilometers away from the Geneva airport, this magnificent region of low mountains was the cradle of the development of Swiss watchmaking in the 19th century. Like Audemars Piguet’s two founders, Jules-Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet, the valley’s artisans spent the harsh winters making timepieces that they would then sell in the big cities to supplement the income from their farms.

Although the watchmaking companies in the Valley’s villages have wisely accepted modernization and innovation over the decades, the natural beauty of the setting has been protected from urban and industrial development. A lovely lake, vast stretches of unspoiled forest and pastures greet the eye; and the clean air, the friendliness and the warm accents of the local inhabitants give the region a unique charm.

“Tourist attractions focus all year long on sports, families, quiet and relaxation. This exceptional setting allows visitors to escape from the traffic and noise of the city,” explains Cédric Paillard, director of the Vallée de Joux tourist office. Local products like the Vacherin Mont d’Or cheese, gentian liqueur and lake fish reflect the lifestyle adopted by the inhabitants of the various small hamlets that dot the Valley.

Audemars Piguet has been in the village of Le Brassus since 1875. To welcome haute horology enthusiasts from around the world, the Manufacture opened a museum that tells its history, as well as the Hotel des Horlogers. This four-star establishment offers a spa and a restaurant run by the famous chef Philippe Guignard, whose passion for the Vallée de Joux is palpable in dishes that feature fish from its lake, fresh aromatic herbs from its mountains and mushrooms from its forests.