Swiss time in beijing

Updated: 2015-05-08 07:46

By Wang Kaihao(China Daily)

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Swiss time in beijing

Heritage pieces are on display at Geneva at the Heart of Time-The Origin of Swiss Watchmaking at Beijing's Capital Museum. [Photo provided to China Daily]

There is a slogan in the exhibition hall: "Do better if possible, and that is always possible." The quote, attributed to Swiss watchmaking legend Francois Constantin in 1819, still leaves an impression among watchmakers.

According to Estelle Fallet, a curator of the exhibition from Geneva Museum of Art and History, a pocket watch with gold casing and enamel miniature painting on the dial made by Huault Brothers in 1680 is a highlight among more than 200 heritage pieces from her museum. Visitors will probably be struck by the shape of a Rochat Brothers' 1814 watch that has an octagonal cage with three singing birds.

The first-known pocket watch in the world, created by Jean-Marc Vacheron, founder of Vacheron Constantin, in 1755, is on display. A 1923 gold pocket watch with an enameled case-back, miniature painting and engraved movement representing two angels, is also a key piece from Vacheron Constantin due to its combination of complicated techniques in Swiss watchmaking.

"The exhibition displays the history and excellence of Swiss watchmaking and offers a unique view into the fine watchmaking history in Geneva, the cradle of fine watchmaking for more than three centuries, with a focus on its technical aspects and craftsmanship excellence," Jean-Yves Marin, director of Geneva Museum of Art and History, says.

"Organizers from three institutions combine to use the most suitable approach for Chinese visitors to portray a clear lineage of watchmaking in Geneva," he adds.

For example, five master craftsmen from Geneva, including a watchmaker, an enameller, a gem-setter, an engraver, and a guillocheur, demonstrate traditional techniques during the exhibition.

"Amateur visitors want to see behind the scenes, and that is the difference between quartz watches and manual watches," Juan-Carlos Torres, CEO, Vacheron Constantin, tells China Daily.