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12ème Art - Hegel in the Manufacture (The Return)

12ème Art Hegel in the Manufacture (The Return)

Raised to the status of a true art, and in 12th position in the rankings, watchmaking nurtures close relationships with the first six artistic disciplines described by German philosopher, Hegel.

The 12th Art unceasingly pays tribute to sculpture, painting, music, dance and poetry. A selection of a few artistic treasures from new watchmaking collections which either discreetly or obviously provide provide art with an opportunity to express itself in an unexpected manner.

Whether it appears intentionally on the design of a dial or makes reference to the construction of a movement, architecture is a notion that is common to watchmaking. Harry Winston is a great proponent of this approach with a number of models inspired by New York architecture. With the new Ocean Tourbillon Jumping Hour, the watchmaker introduces a timepiece that incorporates the first of the arts into the heart of its aesthetics. Inserted between two sapphire crystals and two openwork bridges, within a minimalist décor composed of pure geometrical lines, the tourbillon and the jumping hour are inspired by a certain vision of the Modernist movement.

While watchmaking regularly employs the art of sculpture, the pinnacle of this art is doubtless reached by Jaquet Droz with The Bird Repeater watch. Effectively upstaging the incessant ballet of the hour and minute hands, the show is provided by a couple of Blue Tits perched above a nest with their babies in it. At a push of the finger, one can hear the hours, quarter hours and minutes chime and set off the movement of the tiny automata. This three-dimensional tableau owes its success and realism to the work of the best engravers and painters in the company.

Delaneau reveals an incredible work of miniature painting combined with exceptional mastery of Grand Feu enamelling in its collection of unique Flower Fields pieces. Once again calling on the talent of the company enamellers, the Rondo Tulip Field required more than 100 hours of research and work on enamel to house a tiny impressionist painting within a white gold case set with 196 diamonds, and thus composing a veritable work of art on the wrist.

When the art of watchmaking is at the service of the third art, the result can be somewhat disconcerting. The MusicMachine is definitely a musical UFO. Nothing less was expected of the collaboration between Reuge and MB&F. To perfect this musical space ship equipped with two propellers and silver cylinders mounted on landing skids shaped like outriggers, Maximilian Büsser drew his inspiration from Luke Skywalker and Captain Kirk. Both the cylinders play three tunes – ranging from Star Wars to Star Trek via the Empire Strikes Back and John Lennon’s Imagine. The result is a visual and technical feat that even the founder of MB&F could hardly believe : “Reuge is the Jedi Master of musical boxes !”.

This is not a first for Vacheron Constantin – but rather something of a continuation. Highly involved in the realm of art, and renowned for its promotion of artistic crafts, the Manufacture became the patron of the Opéra National de Paris in 2007 and to commemorate the occasion of the tri-centenary of the Ecole française de Danse, revealed a series of three unique pieces inspired by the work by Edgar Degas and his fascination with ballerinas. Here, Vacheron Constantin brings all its skill in the ancient art of Grand Feu “grisaille” enamelling to bear in order to create a beautifully choreographed depiction of the passing of time.

The scene is as seductive as it is an open invitation to dream. In an inventive game that combines Cartier’s skills in the various realms of watchmaking, including setting and enamelling, the 40-piece limited edition Frog Watch deploys its charms with great poetry. In this garden hung with lotus flowers, strewn with moonstones, sapphires, emeralds and diamonds, a small frog is just longing to be kissed – unless it were to escape quietly. The lotus décor amid which it appears to be relaxing can be removed at will and transformed into a brooch.


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