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A travelling exhibition of 13 independent watchmakers

A travelling exhibition of 13 independent watchmakers

Thursday, 05 April 2018
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Marie de Pimodan-Bugnon
Freelance journalist

“One must be absolutely modern.”

Arthur Rimbaud

It takes passion, a healthy dose of curiosity and a sense of wonderment to convey the innumerable facets of watchmaking…

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2 min read

Created by Maxima Gallery, Watchmakers – The Masters of Art Horology opens this Friday April 6th in Rome before travelling to New York, Hong Kong and London. Museums and galleries, places where art is traditionally displayed, become the venues for the work of thirteen independent watchmakers.

They’re places we usually visit to admire a painting or a sculpture, take in the work of an architect or a designer, a photography exhibition, maybe see a theatre or a dance performance. It’s rare that we walk into a museum or a gallery to contemplate a contemporary timepiece. Rare, but it can happen: on April 6th, inside Zaha Hadid’s spectacular MAXXI in Rome, Watchmakers – The Masters of Art Horology begins a journey that will take it from the Italian capital to New York then on to Hong Kong and London. Created by Maxima Gallery with Phillips in association with Bacs & Russo, the exhibition intends not only to support independent watchmaking but to establish that it is an art in its own right.

Philippe Dufour © Guy Lucas de Peslouan
Philippe Dufour © Guy Lucas de Peslouan

The idea for an exhibition that would showcase luminaries in independent watchmaking came about when Claudio Proietti, a watch collector and Maxima Gallery’s owner, visited Kari Voutilainen in his atelier: “I said to myself ‘I can’t believe all these artists are capable of such amazing craftsmanship and so few buyers and collectors in the art world know about it'”. Proietti, who is adamant that “the best watchmakers have more in common with artists than they do with industrial watchmakers,” was determined to make that bridge.

Jean-Daniel Nicolas © Guy Lucas de Peslouan
Jean-Daniel Nicolas © Guy Lucas de Peslouan

Art lovers, collectors and anyone with an interest in beautiful timepieces are invited to Rome, from this Friday, to view a magnificent selection of watches by Hajime Asaoka, Christophe Claret, Ludovic Ballouard, De Bethune, Philippe Dufour, Laurent Ferrier, Romain Gauthier, Vianney Halter, Christian Klings, Jean-Daniel Nicolas, Roger W. Smith and Kari Voutilainen. The late George Daniels, whom many of today’s makers consider to be the father of modern independent watchmaking, is represented by his Anniversary piece, the last watch he made. After Rome, the exhibition will be presented in New York, Hong Kong and London.

Watchmakers – The Masters of Art Horology
Rome: April 6 – 15 at MAXXI National Museum of the 21st Century Arts, Via Guido Reni 4A
New York: April 26 – 30 at Phillips, 450 Park Avenue
Hong Kong: May 24 – 28 at Mandarin Oriental, 5 Connaught Road Central
London: June 19 – 26 at Phillips, 30 Berkeley Square

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