There is much more to watchmaking than beautiful designs and technical innovation. Some timepieces go above and beyond by offering a little “magic” in terms of creativity. The amount of thought going into such pieces will astound you.
Take, for instance, The Charming Bird by Jaquet Droz. This watch is simply a marvel to behold. It really needs to be experienced first-hand for one to appreciate elements of its fine and intricate craftsmanship.
At the bottom of the watch’s dial, you will find a miniature songbird ensconced in a 47mm-diameter case. The automaton features a black, anthracite and transparent finishing, and is said to require over 20 hours to fashion.
The bird’s feathers, head and exquisitely delicate tail are first engraved in an exacting stage that demands total accuracy from the artisan. Then, a painter adds a final touch of finesse, contrasting tiny strokes of colour with the anthracite lines of the dial.
“The bird can revolve within the case. It can also move its head and tail, as well as sing. The chirping is not only audible to the wearer, but also to those standing around him,” explained Swiss Watch Gallery’s manager Mohd Haslesani Ramli.
The watch’s inner workings harness not vibrations, but instead, air to produce its sound. It has been painstakingly perfected to reproduce three different notes of the melody flawlessly, amplifying it to the required volume.
While The Charming Bird has been a crowd pleaser so far, it is just one of the many novelties that visitors can discover at the Art Of Time showcase. According to Haslesani, Zenith’s Academy Georges Favre Jacot watch is another must-see.
“It was designed in commemoration of the brand’s 150th anniversary. The name itself draws attention to the founder, and is a very special design that exists in a limited quantity of 150 pieces,” he noted.
The watch houses a very special interpretation of the brand’s famous high-frequency, hand-wound El Primero movement. The opening in the upper dial reveals its transmission, with the barrel between 10 and 11 o’clock, and the fusee as well as chain located between 1 and 2 o’clock.
The chain comprises 575 parts and measures seven inches long. While it appears delicate, the chain is said to be able to withstand up to 3kg of force. It took Zenith watchmakers two years to accommodate the fusee and chain mechanism in the small space.
Apart from watches, the Art Of Time is also presenting a collection of Atmos clocks from Jaeger-LeCoultre. These curious creations are so precise that it would take 3,821 years for them to lose one day in timekeeping.
Invented in 1928, the Atmos’ almost-perpetual movement counts the hours, day after day, year after year, without any need for a battery or rewinding The secret lies in its hermetically closed capsule where a gaseous mixture expands and contracts when the temperature changes.
“It is a clock that lives on air. The energy is driven by the drop in the temperature around us. A one-degree change will give it 48-hours of power reserve. As long there is air, it will continue to operate,” said Jaeger-LeCoultre Malaysia’s country manager, Reena Tan.
“We have on display the classic Atmos, as well as the Moonphase model, which indicates both the month as well as the lunar cycle. Another model, the Atmos V Edition, is a spirited homage to the creator and comes with a glass dome that is hand blown.”
A unique gem of horological technology, the Atmos clock is apparently a timekeeper of distinction for heads of state and numerous sovereigns. Famed for the perfection of its watches, it is a tradition for Switzerland to offer guests of honour this horological masterpiece.
Other exciting watch brands to look out for at the Art Of Time include Baume & Mercier, Bell & Ross, Bremont, Frederique Constant, Graham, IWC Schaffhausen, Maurice Lacroix, Oris, Tag Heuer, Tissot and Tudor.
The event brings together the best of watchmaking names, as well as celebrates the art that drives the industry.
Visitors can also meet with Valiram-owned Swiss Watch Gallery’s watch specialists for advice and enjoy amazing privileges with each purchase made.
Preferential privileges at Art Of Time
> Triple reward points and 18 months interest-free instalment plan with RHB credit cards
> Gifts with purchase from select brands
> Prices exclusive to visitors of the fair