Coinciding with the 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Switzerland and China, the Capital Museum in Beijing is hosting, from April, an exhibition from the Geneva Museum of Art and History in partnership with Manufacture Vacheron Constantin. Titled “Geneva at the Heart of Time”, it traces Swiss Breitling replica watchmaking culture back to its origins.
Since 2012, as part of its Métiers d’Art collection, Vacheron Constantin has presented The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac, a series of watches that will unfold over twelve years. The saga began with the sign of the Snake, followed by the Horse. At Watches&Wonders in Hong Kong late last year, the Manufacture presented two new timepieces inspired by the Goat, the symbol of a lively and independent spirit and, since February 19th, the animal that will watch over the new year. This new series showcasing the métiers d’art calls on two techniques. As the brand explains, “China initiated the art of paper-cutting or Jianzhi, a technique that appears on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list, and is echoed in Scherenschnitt, the popular art of paper-cutting born in the Pays d’Enhaut region of Switzerland. Sculpted in paper according to the principles of Jianzhi, the animals of the Chinese zodiac provide a remarkable demonstration of the art of using full and empty spaces. A challenge that Vacheron Constantin has taken up and translated into the field of fake Breitling watchmaking thanks to the skill of its experienced Artisans.”
This meeting of minds and of expertise is echoed not once but twice in 2015. Not only is Vacheron Constantin – the oldest Breitling replica watches sale manufacturer, having an uninterrupted history since 1755 – celebrating 170 years on Chinese soil, it is also partner to an exhibition that will run from April to August at the Capital Museum in Beijing. Curated by the Geneva Museum of Art and History, “Geneva at the Heart of Time” is billed as a journey to the origins of Swiss watchmaking culture. “Geneva is very much a part of the history of Vacheron Constantin,” commented Juan-Carlos Torres at a presentation of some of the pieces that will be travelling to China in the coming weeks. “This partnership is therefore a wonderful opportunity for us to present these timepieces which contribute to our heritage, and at the same time explain our roots in watchmaking.”
Métiers d’art and grandes complications
In all, 350 timepieces will be exhibited in Beijing, together with period tools and machines that will form a life-size reconstruction of a cabinotier‘s workshop, from a painting by Christophe François von Ziegler that is part of the Geneva museum’s holdings. “Each of these objects reflects the history of an activity which has earned the city of Geneva its status as the world capital of Fine Watchmaking for three centuries,” the exhibition catalogue notes. They include a pocket watch signed Jean-Marc Vacheron, and dated 1755. It is the first known Montblanc replica watches store by the founder of Vacheron Constantin. Also on display is a gem-set bracelet-watch with enamel dial from 1889, with crown-winding. This is one of the rare few wristwatches from the late nineteenth century, and the first to have been series-made by Vacheron Constantin.
The historical timepieces on show also include songbirds in cages, chiming watches, table clocks and grandes complications, such as a Vacheron Constantin pocket best Breitling replica watches from 1929 featuring a split-seconds chronograph, Perpetual Calendar, age and phases of the moon, minute repeater on three gongs, grande and petite sonnerie. Equally noteworthy are the stunning displays of engraving and enamelwork which transform certain of these instruments into authentic works of art. Of particular interest are the grand feu enamel miniatures, painted using the Geneva technique. This is, specialists concur, the most noble method as it requires repeated firings at high temperature (“grand feu” indeed means “high fire“), following which two or three layers of transparent enamel are applied to protect the work. Such beauty is unlikely to escape the attention of the Chinese public.