Watch brands are usually quite good at, well, making watches. But being the for-profit entities that they are, it’s not all too surprising to see some of them diversifying their investments to help with the bottom line.
So it was interesting to discover that luxury Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet was getting into the hospitality industry. To be more precise, the manufacture recently laid the first stone for its new project in the Vallée de Joux: a new hotel called “Hôtel des Horlogers”, which translates to the “Watchmakers’ Hotel”.
The name and location choice are clear for watch fans. The Vallée de Joux is home to many prestigious watch brands, including Audemars Piguet itself. As a reminder, this is one of the oldest luxury watchmakers still in the hands of its founding families. They would be the Audemars and Piguet clans, respectively.
The company has been in business since 1875, and it has been credited for many world firsts in watchmaking. Unfortunately, Audemars Piguet is not the first to develop a hotel complex by the name Hôtel des Horlogers, as one already exists not too far from our offices here in Geneva.
- The ceremonial “shovel photo-op” with the Audemars Piguet brass
But something tells me the new one in the Vallée de Joux will be of a different calibre, one fitting the prestigious watch brand itself.
According to Jasmine Audemars, who serves as Chairwoman of the Audemars Piguet Board of Directors, the objective of the project is to attract a broader public to the picturesque region. And surely it’s no coincidence that the hotel will apparently be built next to the Audemars Piguet museum.
My lack of any fundamental understanding of architecture aside, the hotel project looks impressive all the same.
It has been designed to “fit in not only with the Vallée’s environment, but also with the local culture and habits.” In Switzerland, that means integrating well with the natural surroundings, and of course being ski-friendly.
So visitors looking to hit the slopes will be able to ski right out from their fancy hotel rooms down to the slopes, thanks to a clever zig-zag passageway design.
The Hôtel des Horlogers’ unique design is the result of a collaboration between CCHE and BIG (both great acronyms), with the latter in particular bringing its Danish design acumen to the project.
- The Hôtel des Horlogers preview for winter
When completed, the hotel will offer up 50 rooms with views of the Risoud forest. Guests will also be able to indulge in two restaurants and a lounge bar, a wellness area, a fitness centre, and three seminar rooms for those looking to get some business done.
Still no news on room pricing and whether any of the rooms will be outfitted with a watchmaking theme. But you can rest assured that the Audemars Piguet name will be represented in some way – but modestly, of course.