Dispatch From Paris: Spring 2016
Delivering a snapshot from our worldwide markets, our local Paris-based editor, Victoria Townsend, recaps the hottest watch news in France.
THREE HAUTE EXHIBITIONS FROM JAEGER-LECOULTRE, BREGUET AND JAQUET DROZ
Patron of the Jeu de Paume in the Tuileries Garden, maker of the Geophysic True Second timepiece, Jaeger- LeCoultre naturally sponsored the museum’s recent Philippe Halsman exhibition. Known for his “jumpology photography” to harness a “true second” of expression. His portraits of Marilyn Monroe or the Duke and Duchess of Windsor jumping in the air perfectly illustrate the true second watch movement that causes the seconds hand to move forward while performing a “jump” every second. The temporary exhibition of “La Tradition Breguet” has now moved on, but the Breguet museum remains a permanent feature at the N° 6 Place Vendôme boutique. Archives from the 18th century, a Guilloché tool from 1820 and nearly 100 exceptionally preserved timepieces covering two centuries of history are displayed next to technical drawings and correspondence with famous clients. A series of aviation timepieces from the 1950s to the 1970s is also showcased. At N° 8 rue de la Paix, the Jaquet Droz boutique featured “Le Barbier de Tolstoï” — a photography exhibition of … moustaches, of all shapes, sizes and colours, as seen by Dimitri Tolstoï. This second collaboration between the high watchmaker and the award-winning great-grandson of Leo Tolstoy was held in the dedicated exhibition space on the lower floor of the boutique.
WORLD PREMIÈRE OF TAG HEUER’S “DON’T CRACK UNDER PRESSURE” AT THE GRAND REX THEATRE IN PARIS
Tag Heuer brought 90 minutes of exhilarating action to the packed Grand Rex Theatre in Paris with the world première of its latest edition of “La Nuit de la Glisse,” The now cult event was created in the late 1970s, contributing to the birth and development of “extreme sports.” Spectators gripped their chairs while viewing stunning images of skiers and snowboarders, surfers, wingsuiters and kitesurfers confronting their improbable slopes, curls, valleys or jumps, relaxing only when freedive and apnea champion Davide Carrera sat serenely on the ocean floor in a lotus position calmly observing the sea life around him. All of these passionate and exceptional athletes know that the slightest mistake or miscalculation puts their life in danger. Driven by a quest for excellence, a love of challenge and the beauty of elegant well-performed actions and attitudes under extreme conditions, they were with us at the Grand Rex to tell us all about it! More details on the movie and the athletes at http://www.nuitdelaglisse.com. Tag Heuer associates its superb Aquaracer collection and the Formula 1 Calibre 16 Automatic Chronograph with these extreme sports.
BEAUTIFUL WATCHES AND EMOTION AT THE SALON BELLES MONTRES IN PARIS
Vacheron Constantin, A. Lange & Söhne, Girard Perregaux, JeanRichard, Tudor, Zenith, Boucheron and Rebellion were among the more than 30 watch brands that, along with the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, welcomed 12,000 visitors to the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris for the ninth edition of the Salon Belles Montres. Visitors discovered the brands’ latest creations, conversed with watchmakers at individual booth demonstrations and presentations, and enrolled for initiation workshops. Thematic exhibitions and conferences completed the horological experience, with Tag Heuer CEO and President of the LVMH Watch Division Jean-Claude Biver creating his own personal ambiance at one of the conferences, prior to the signing session for his book titled “L’homme qui a sauvé la montre mécanique.” The 2016 edition of the Paris Salon Belles Montres is already being planned by the organizers. Hopefully it will be under more clement skies, as this last edition was held just two weeks after the Paris attacks, and amid the arrival of 150 heads of state in the city for an environmental summit. Collectors and watch aficionados nevertheless braved the traffic and general ambiance to meet the brands and discover their novelties.
AN HOMAGE TO THE CITY OF PARIS
The Conciergerie Clock Tower on the north bank of Ile de la Cité in Paris has seen a lot of water flow under the Pont au Change bridge that it overlooks. Built by Jean Le Bon in 1353, the Tower has witnessed Wars, The French Revolution, The Reign of Terror and The Attacks of 2015, making it a privileged observer of the Paris motto “Fluctuat nec mergitur”: “Tossed by waves but does not sink.” First built as a lookout, it became a Clock Tower in 1371 when Charles V graced it with the city’s first public clock, unchanged until 1585 when Henri III gave it a square-shape dial framed with gold-leaf allegories of Law on the left side and Justice on the right, surrounded by Royal blue and fleur-de-lys. A Latin inscription translates as “This mechanism which divides time into perfectly equal 12 hours helps you to protect justice and defend the law.” Damaged during the French Revolution, the clock was restored in 1849 and again in 2012 to return it to its original splendor. It still chimes every hour on the hour. The mechanism still drives, the hands still move, the hours still strike and Paris still stands. “Fluctuat nec mergitur.”
CARTIER CELEBRATES THE START OF SPRING IN PARIS
Cartier hosted a fun, colourful and lively event at the very trendy and recently reopened Montana Hotel on rue St. Benoît in the Paris Saint Germain area during Fashion Week in March. Privatized for the event, five floors displayed all the novelties, from watches to jewelry, to leather goods, sunglasses and perfumes, all exposed in the most charming and seemingly disordered assemblage of some of the most prized luxury objects in the world. Linked to five themes, from the Jazz Club to the Poker Suite, from the Wild “Jungle Fever” Suite to the “Gold Digger” Suite, and on to the Preppy Suite inhabited by sweet young things dressed in pastel colours to rival the best macarons in Paris while matching the shades of the new Sac C de Cartier handbag collection, Cartier creations were presented in their red gift boxes, laid out on beds and tables, and wrapped around the necks, fingers and wrists of the luckiest models in Paris. Drive de Cartier, Hypnose de Cartier, Panthère, Panthères et Colibri, Clé de Cartier Squelette or Mystérieuse… all the latest watch models from the SIHH juxtaposed the perfumes, accessories, leather goods and Amulette, Juste un Clou and Panthère jewellery collections that would make any feline purr with pleasure.