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Jaeger-LeCoultre announces The Sound Maker exhibition in Chengdu, China

Jaeger-LeCoultre announces The Sound Maker exhibition in Chengdu, China

JAEGER-LECOULTRE ANNOUNCES THE SOUND MAKER EXHIBITION IN CHENGDU, CHINA
UNVEILING A NEWLY COMMISSIONED WORK BY RENOWNED SWISS ARTIST, ZIMOUN, AND EXPLORING A RICH HERITAGE OF CHIMING WATCHES

THE SOUND MAKER exhibition, a highlight of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s year-long celebration of the art of sound in watchmaking, will be inaugurated at Guangdong Hall, Chengdu, starting from November 10th. The exhibition will immerse visitors in the creative and cultural universe of Jaeger-LeCoultre, exploring the uniquely rich heritage – past, present and future – of chiming watches at La Grande Maison, and paying homage to its home in the Vallée de Joux, where the sounds of nature still provide the backdrop to daily life.

A New Art Commission Makes Its World Debut

At the heart of the exhibition, expanding the dialogue that exists between horology and art, a new ‘sound sculpture’ installation commissioned by Jaeger-LeCoultre from the Swiss contemporary artist, Zimoun, will be unveiled for the first time. After its debut in China, the installation will be exhibited around the world during 2021.
In this new work, Zimoun encapsulates the universe of sound – within the Manufacture and in the natural world around it – that is so intrinsic to the spirit of Jaeger-LeCoultre. He employs simple raw materials and repurposed industrial components, including watch parts – and, in doing so, redefines traditional ideas of sculpture, movement and sound, drawing the audience into an almost transcendent world of sensory experience.


“I first got hooked by the sound, like the soft, appeasing sound of the rain,” says Catherine Rénier, Chief Executive Officer of Jaeger-LeCoultre. “As you get closer, the movement of the metal is mesmerizing. Each angle gives a different feeling and invites you to stop, enjoy and listen.”


In the ability to conjure romance from mundane materials and to create evocative sounds through complex systems of structure and mechanics, there are clear parallels between the work of the artist and the watchmakers of the Manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre. Just as the components of a watch movement seem to take on a life of their own when assembled, the industrially-produced elements that Zimoun combines into his sculptures seem to develop their own behaviour, producing new and unique sounds and visual effects.
When commissioning the new work, Jaeger-LeCoultre invited the artist to spend time in the Vallée de Joux, where he was able to absorb the valley’s natural sounds, and also spend time with the specialists who work on chiming watches within the Manufacture. The fruit of that rich exchange of culture and ideas, Zimoun’s new installation creates a unique aural signature for Jaeger-LeCoultre, evoking the sounds of nature and of the Manufacture, as well as capturing the rippling of light on the surface of the lake seen from the watchmaking ateliers.
The Story of Sound at Jaeger-LeCoultre


THE SOUND MAKER exhibition leads visitors on a journey through Jaeger-LeCoultre’s rich patrimony, celebrating the twin values of tradition and innovation that have guided it throughout its 187-year history. Featuring rare or unique timepieces curated from both historic and contemporary collections, as well as never-previously exhibited documents and artefacts, it traces the evolution of chiming watches from the Maison’s origins to the new 2020 models, and from the most refined minute repeaters and complex sonneries to the highly practical and much-loved Memovox alarm watch.

The journey begins with a retrospective of the earliest and most historically significant of the LeCoultre chiming masterworks – some of which have never been displayed to the public before; it highlights technical inventions and patents that have contributed to Jaeger-LeCoultre’s worldwide renown – and to its status as “the watchmakers’ watchmaker” among other great Maisons that it supplied with movements; it reveals the inner secrets of how chiming watches work; and it honours the skill of the artisans who employed their rare crafts to embellish the most precious timepieces.


Paying tribute to La Grande Maison’s home in the Vallée de Joux, the exhibition also features a captivating 8D video installation that immerses visitors in the natural soundscape of the valley and evokes the watchmakers’ deep connections to their peaceful surroundings.
THE SOUND MAKER exhibition will be presented from November 10th until November 22nd, at Guangdong Hall, Sino-Ocean Taikoo Li Chengdu, China.

ABOUT THE SOUND MAKER
In 2020, Jaeger-LeCoultre celebrates THE SOUND MAKER, paying homage to the sounds of nature that form a backdrop to daily life in the Vallée de Joux, and to its great legacy of chiming timepieces, expressing a century and a half of accumulated expertise in fresh new ways. During the 150 years since the Manufacture developed its first minute repeater in 1870, chiming watches have been a particular forte, with 200 calibres demonstrating its mastery of all forms, from relatively simple alarms to highly complex sonneries and repeaters. In parallel, the Manufacture’s engineers and designers have patented numerous innovations that redefine the benchmark for acoustic quality and beauty.

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GIRARD-PERREGAUX HERITAGE & DUTY – For over 229 years a high-end Swiss watch Manufacture

GIRARD-PERREGAUX

HERITAGE & DUTY

For over 229 years, Girard-Perregaux, a high-end Swiss watch Manufacture, has been seeking horological perfection in both technical and aesthetic terms. The brand’s origins date back to Geneva in 1791, when Jean-François Bautte, whose workshops were acquired by Girard-Perregaux in 1906, created his first watches. The brand name was established in 1856 in the watchmaking town of La Chaux-de-Fonds, thanks to the marriage of Constant Girard and Marie Perregaux.Throughout its history, Girard-Perregaux has consistently perpetuated this expertise, placing its watches firmly in the vanguard of horological innovation, as confirmed by the 100 patents currently held by the Maison.

JEAN- FRANÇOIS BAUTTE

Girard-Perregaux’s oldest roots lie in the work of Jean-François Bautte, the Geneva watchmaker-jeweller who presented his first creations in 1791 and whose succession was acquired in 1906 by Girard-Perregaux, born in 1856 from the union of Constant Girard and Marie Perregaux.

Bautte was born on March 26th 1772 in Geneva. At just 12 years old, having been orphaned at an early age, he began serving a series of apprenticeships as a jeweller, goldsmith and case assembler. Endowed with lively and passionately dedicated mind-set, he also gained a knowledge of watchmaking and engine-turning (guillochage). His undeniable qualities as an artisan were backed by remarkable commercial abilities. From 1795 onwards, Jean-François Bautte began travelling to sell his creations. He developed his fabrique (the French name for watch production facilities), which was the most comprehensive that had ever existed, employing 180 workers there, assisted by 120 home-based artisans.

In addition to his boutique in Geneva, Bautte also owned a branch in Paris, as well as another in Florence. Correspondence from the Russian and Danish courts testify to his close ties with European elites.  His renown was such that no eminent foreign visitors to Geneva missed out on the opportunity to visit his Maison, following the example of Balzac, Dumas and the future Queen Victoria.

LA CHAUX-DE-FONDS

’ Watchmaking metropolis’ is the nickname acquired by the town of La Chaux-de-Fonds. The city has been living in step with the rhythms of watchmaking since the late 17th century. From the early 19th century onwards, after the great fire that devastated the town in 1794, a brilliant urban planning scheme was implemented. The streets were to be wide and straight, running from east to west and thus following the path of the sun. The height of the houses was strictly regulated. In an age when artificial light was ineffective, watchmakers thus enjoyed the best possible lighting, that of the sun. This distinctive feature that is unique in the world has earned La Chaux-de-Fonds a place on the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites.

It was thus a natural move for Girard-Perregaux to establish its Manufacture there. But rather than housing its workshops in a brand-new, soulless construction, Girard-Perregaux installed them in a beautifully restored early 20th century building.

The origins

LA CHAUX-DE-FONDS

’ Watchmaking metropolis’ is the nickname acquired by the town of La Chaux-de-Fonds. The city has been living in step with the rhythms of watchmaking since the late 17th century. From the early 19th century onwards, after the great fire that devastated the town in 1794, a brilliant urban planning scheme was implemented. The streets were to be wide and straight, running from east to west and thus following the path of the sun. The height of the houses was strictly regulated. In an age when artificial light was ineffective, watchmakers thus enjoyed the best possible lighting, that of the sun. This distinctive feature that is unique in the world has earned La Chaux-de-Fonds a place on the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites.

It was thus a natural move for Girard-Perregaux to establish its Manufacture there. But rather than housing its workshops in a brand-new, soulless construction, Girard-Perregaux installed them in a beautifully restored early 20th century building.

The Manufacture

PILAR OF THE SWISS WATCHMAKING

By developing and manufacturing its components entirely in-house, Girard-Perregaux can legitimately lay claim to the status of a ‘Manufacture’. The brand seeks perfection expressed not only through the immediately visible external appearance of its timepieces, but also through their hidden faces: their movements.

Constant Girard-Perregaux considered movements as a technical element of his watches, yet enhanced their architecture to the point of making them an unmistakable signature feature. His immediately identifiable watches earned Girard-Perregaux the highest distinctions, as was the case with the Esmeralda, Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges presented in 1889 at the Universal Exhibition in Paris and rewarded by a gold medal.

New markets

CONQUERING THE WORLD

During the second half of the 19th century, it became vital for Girard-Perregaux to find new markets. In an age when journeys were long and often perilous, watchmakers were prepared to set off for remote destinations.

In 1859, Constant Girard-Perregaux’s brother-in-law François Perregaux headed for Singapore where he spent over a year, before settling in Japan. He noted that the time measurement system was completely different to that prevailing in the West, which meant that watches were of no use there. He thus decided to have Girard-Perregaux produce authentic objects of curiosity greatly appreciated by rich Japanese clients. This marked the start of the brand’s longstanding presence in the country.

In 1865, Girard-Perregaux opened a dealership in Buenos Aires, headed by another of Constant Girard-Perregaux’s brothers-in-law, Henri Perregaux. It was to welcome some of the Manufacture’s finest creations: tourbillons, minute repeaters and other refined Grande Complication models with weighty, richly decorated cases that delighted wealthy South American clients.

The Chronometry

THE QUEST FOR PRECISION

The birth of chronometry dates back to the mid-19th century. Constant Girard-Perregaux took an early interest in the tourbillon, which served to achieve superior regularity of rate. He focused his research on the actual structure of the movement and the shape of its components. From the mid-1850s onwards, he began working on creating a timepiece equipped with a tourbillon regulator fitted on a calibre with three parallel bridges. Presented at the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1867, this watch won him a first medal.
In 1957, the watchmakers of the Manufacture introduced the Gyromatic, an ultra-thin high-performance automatic winding system enabling the production of remarkably thin watches. This principle reached its peak in 1965 in equipping the world’s first ever high-frequency mechanical self-winding movement, the Gyromatic HF, beating at a rate of 36,000 vibrations per hour.

At the end of the 1960s, Swiss watchmakers, who considered watches above all as precision instruments, decided to take a further step in this direction by resorting to quartz. In 1971, Girard-Perregaux presented the first quartz watch ever produced in Switzerland, whose 32,768 Hertz frequency has become the benchmark among manufacturers worldwide.

From the idea to the object

RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT

Progressing from the first idea of a watch to the finalised object takes time. Throughout a process involving studies and analyses, as well as scale models and prototypes, the initial concept is repeatedly verified and adjusted. Once the machining, decoration and assembly operations have been determined for each of the components, production of the new mechanism can begin.

Presented as a first prototype in 2008 and manufactured as of 2013, the Constant Escapement L.M. represented a technological revolution in the watch industry. It enabled Girard-Perregaux to solve a problem that had been occupying the profession for over five centuries: that of constant force. And yet the idea is in fact brilliantly simple: a silicon blade placed at the heart of the escapement stores up the decreasing energy from the barrels and transmits it in a smooth and regular manner.

Behind the case

ABOVE AND BEYOND VISIBLE ASPECTS

Because a watch must be as beautiful inside as it is on the outside, and because the tiny imperfections of machining are detrimental to the smooth running of a mechanical movement, today – just as in 1791– all components pass through the hands of experienced bevellers.

In producing its movements, Girard-Perregaux works with the most innovative technologies, particularly in the development and machining phases of the various components. The decoration, assembly and adjustment stages are entirely performed by hand, using traditional methods. Long months at the bench are required to accomplish these feats, even though they often remain concealed behind the steel or gold exterior of the case.