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Audemars Piguet Exhibit Celebrates the First Luxury Sports Watch

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For the past three days, New York’s expansive Park Avenue Armory has been devoted to an exhibit celebrating the 40th anniversary of legendary Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak—which was the first sports watch honored by Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie when it debuted, in 1972. The exhibit features the work of three contemporary artists, Sebastien Leon Agneessens, Quayola and Dan Holdsworth, who drew on the Royal Oak’s history and origins to create installations with sound, sculpture, photography and light. These pieces serve as the backdrop for displays of 100 Royal Oak watches, which show the evolution from the original design to the latest pieces. Most fascinating for horologists and laymen alike is the opportunity to see a brocading dial machine (one of only 11 the company uses) close-up as it creates a dial, and to chat with Audemar Piguet’s master watchmakers, who are on hand to demonstrate their craft—under microscopic lenses, of course.

The exhibit’s final day in New York is this Saturday, March 23, after which it will begin a yearlong tour, with visits to Paris, Beijing, Singapore and Dubai. The first stop is Milan’s Triennale Design Museum, from April 17–22.

Park Avenue Armory, 643 Park Ave.; 212-744-8180; audemarspiguet.com

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