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Friday, September 16, 2011

GP celebrates 220 years of watchmaking with Worldwide Travelling Exhibition...first leg: Singapore

Girard Perregaux is one of the Grande Dames of horology...and this year, they celebrate their 220th anniversary.



They are showcasing 220 years of watchmaking history and expertise in a travelling exhibition. I will cover the event and exhibition today, and next week, will present you with high resolution photographs of two of the most outstanding pieces in the show.

Interestingly, GP decided to begin the worldwide sojourn in Singapore, and where else, but the Science and Art Museum at the Marina Bay Sands...spanking brand new museum, now showcasing the works of Salvatore Dali and Vincent van Gogh in addition to the priceless collection and wonderfully curated collection from GP.



I attended a private dinner the evening before the opening hosted by Stefano Macaluso and Nash Benjamin. Stefano is currently the GM for GP, and Nash is the MD for FJB, who represent GP in this part of the world. More on this later in my food blog.

I also attended the press conference, where I have the opportunity to introduce you to Stefano and Nash in pictures:

Stefano Macaluso:



Nash Benjamin:



Also speaking during the conference is a Willy Schweizer, the curator of the GP Museum and Villa Marie in La Chaux du Fonds:



The exhibition was curated around artistic background of La Chaux du Fonds, and Gino Macaluso (Stefano's late father) who helmed GP and brought the old dame into vigrous live from the quartz revolution (interestingly the quartz revolution was started by GP with their patent of deriving the fixed stable frequency from a quartz crystal, but which subsequently almost destroyed the entire Swiss watchmaking industry in the 1970s...but another story for another blog). La Chaux du Fonds was a fount of modern architecture and furniture design...the greats like Le Corbusier were born and did much of their important work there. Gino himself was an architect by training, and so is Stefano.

The theme of the exhibition was to divide the watchmaking history of GP into periods, each characterised by the furniture of the day, the music of the day, and the watch of the day. Very interesting concept...as this takes us from Mozart's Magic Flute which was the prime of popularity some 220 years ago, through to Pucinni's Madame Butterfly, to the Jazz era, Rock and Roll and today's music while linking that with the design of chairs like Eames, Macintosh, Le Corbusier, Wright, et al with the watches which were made by GP during those ear. Very nice concept.

Some of the watches presented in the museum showcase. I will let the beauty of the watches speak for themselves, with only small anotations to help the reader along.

A pearl encrusted pocket watch:



Enamel on gold pocket watch, showing intricate patterns:



A ship's clock, showing ship time, west coast time and east coast time. This was before the discovery of longitude and the division of timezones. So each location, as is the location of the ship kept its own solar time.

A ship's marine chronometer.



We then came to the year where the electric light was new...and this interesting signage:



A pocket chronograph:



One of the early 3 bridge tourbillon pocket watches



And a 2011 presentation of the Tourbllon with 3 Golden Bridges:



A closer look at a watchmaker who was present, whose sole duties was to polish the anglage on the bridges:



She told us it takes her 3 to 5 hours to complete work on one bridge. Shown belog the set of 3 bridges, which she has prepared for anglage, and getting ready to do the black polishing of the top surface.



A close up on one of the bridge ends, which are shaped like an arrow...a unique and very beautiful design feature:

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