It reminds us that “the family of the celebrated Genevan philosopher included a number of watchmakers and artisans in related domains, making the Rousseau dynasty a perfect illustration of seventeenth-century Genevan craftsmanship.”
The Patek Philippe Museum already conserved six watches by Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s grandfather, great-grandfather and great-uncle. In all, some forty of the sixty known timepieces in Europe to bear the Rousseau name will be presented, from private collections and from public and private museums.
These watches are an opportunity to admire a vast array of the techniques then in use, including examples of miniature painting, engraving and the use of rock crystal for cases, some in the shape of a cross. These would have been made for European Catholic dignitaries and princes, given that the wearing of instruments serving papacy and idolatry was strictly forbidden in Geneva. Among the complicated watches on view are some with an alarm or passing strike. These were the feats required of any young watchmaking compagnon of that time. Through the Rousseau family, the Patek Philippe Museum pays tribute to Genevan craftsmanship in the celebrated thinker’s day.
*Timepieces Signed Rousseau – Patek Philippe Museum, May 11th – October 13th 2012
An illustrated catalogue contains a full description of each item, preceded by articles by experts in the economic, social, artistic and literary history of Geneva.