Talking to the 'Grande Dame de la Haute Horlogerie' is not only a privilege, but also a great opportunity to learn more about a lady who grew up in one of Switzerland's most successful watch businesses. As she said, "Audemars Piguet is not just a company. It's still an independent family business established in and continually operating from le Brassus, in the Vallée de Joux, the cradle of fine watchmaking."
Jasmine Audemars is the great grand-daughter of Jules-Louis Audemars, founder of the company. Since a child, she had been surrounded by watchmakers and people passionate about timepieces. But she wanted to become a journalist, and was very successful in this profession. When in 1992, Jasmine Audemars took over as chairwoman of the Board of Audemars Piguet, she soon saw that the worlds of the press and watchmaking are not all that different. They both rely on talent, people who have a vision and are passionate about what they do. In addition, creativity, innovation and expertise have always been part of the creation of an art work, and likewise a watch. The Audemars Piguet claim "To break the rules, you must first master them" applies to both worlds. Not surprisingly, many art lovers are watch lovers!
When I asked Mrs. Audemars to tell us more about the company's links to the Audemars Piguet Art Commission, she said that the brand's core values – passion, integrity, respect and precision – correspond precisely to those of the Commission. "It is an innovative project that will support artists in the creation of works of exceptional complexity, precision and experiential impact, on an ongoing, annual basis. As part of the Commission, Audemars Piguet will provide the necessary resources for selected artists to realize important new projects." These will be presented to the public at the different Art Basel editions, in Basel, Miami and Hong Kong.
I asked about the Audemars Piguets Foundation created by her father Jacques-Louis Audemars in 1992. "The the objective of the Foundation is to contribute to the conservation of forests all over the world, in the context of environmental protection and youth awareness." Having grown up in la Vallée de Joux with its beautiful forests, one understands that this is an important topic for her.
Before leaving, I asked Jasmine to tell us a bit more about the Vallée de Joux. She replied that she spent her childhood there, it's where she learnt to ski, had picnics with her family, and learned to appreciate the seasons, very cold in winter, hot in summer. She enjoys the contrasts and the authenticity. This helps us to understand more about the timepieces that the company creates in a small, hidden region in Switzerland, where 140 years of expertise encourage their watchmakers to first master the rules, before breaking them again!