2006 TimeZone Tour
Day 4 - Visit to Renaud & Papi and the Chateau des Monts Horology Museum
Day 4 of the 2006 TimeZone Watch Tour tour came upon us very quickly. It was almost hard to believe that this would be our last day in Switzerland before heading off to Germany for the final tour day. The first three days were hugely successful, and everyone was thoroughly enjoying the company visits. There was also considerable exacitement about the visit to the highly regarded Audemars Piguet (Renaud & Papi) SA manufacture in Neuchatel.
Renaut et Papi was founded in early 1986 by Dominique Renaud and Giulio Papi, and in 1992 Audemars Piguet became the majority shareholder in the company. It was in 1998 that the company was formally remaned as Audemars Piguet (Renaud & Papi) SA (APRP).
APRP is known throughout the watch industry for the incredible complications they have developed not only for Audemars Piguet, but for many other companies as well. Their client list is a veritable "who's who" of prestigious watch companies. The company currrently employs approximately 100 people, half of whom are watchmakers.
Our host for the visit was Mr. Robert Harrap, a master watchmaker from New Zealand who now makes his home in Switzerland. Here Robert speaks with James Dowling as our group gathers for the start of the visit.
One can never bee too prepared.......an escape route for those who become a little too excited by the incredible watches here. ;-)
Our first stop on the tour was the design area, where we met Mr. Taka, one of the chief designers at APRP. Mr. Harrop was happy to translate from French to English for us. Needless to say, Mr. Taka is tremendously talented (can you understand what's shown on the computer screen in the image below)? Mr. Taka is responsible for concept development and initial movement design. In many cases, a customer brongs an idea which may consist only of a rough dial design along with a list of complications for the watch, and it's the job of APRP to take that concept and make it a practical reality.
We then moved into one of the watchmaking areas. As you can see, its considerably more spread out than rooms we've seen on other parts of the tour.
Here some of our tour participants have the opportunity to observe the assembly of some of the Richard Mille watches. APRP handles this assembly for Mille, one of their clients.
Philippe, one of the head watchakers, explains a little about the unique movements.
Here is another of the watchmaker areas....
...and the movement Robert was working on the day we visited. This movement is for an Audemars Piguet tourbillon minute repeater chronograph.
Here we see a few more of the exceptional pieces which were created by APRP.
The limited edition Bentley Tourbillon Chronograph for Breitling. There will be 101 units in the edition, all of which will be tested by COSC for 21 days.
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