An announced success for the first Roman stage, just concluded, of the Watchmakers – The Masters of Art Horology exhibition, soon to New York, Hong Kong and London.

I had the pleasure and the privilege of visiting Watchmakers, the itinerant exhibition masterfully conceived and curated by Claudio Proietti of Maxima Gallery. Claudio as collector and expert in haute horlogerie, wanted to guide me – with exquisite expertise and incredible disposability – to the discovery of masterpieces that he meticulously selected as curator of this unique event, in the Italian and – probably – also international panorama.

Talking amiably between one showcase and another, Claudio explained me that the timepieces on display had to meet two basic requirements for being selected: to be produced by independent watchmakers, that is, not realized under the aegis of a great Maison, thus not benefiting of techniques, components, platforms and industrial machinery and being artisanal, that means, entirely hand-made, so realized in total creative freedom, in micro-editions – if not even unique pieces – conceived and built in that limbo between art, mannerism and technique.

Having no technical limits or design limitations, the Masters of Horology have chosen their favourite materials and invented – from white sheet – each movement architecture: this means that in the vast majority of cases, the Masters also had to realize their own machineries and tools, specially designed to give life to their extraordinary projects. This magical autarchy, so distant from today’s serialization of all mechanical components, smells of craftsmanship, mechanical poetry, technical knowledge, innovation, pioneering and demonstrates, however, an absolute dominance of high precision micromechanics and of all applied physics which is always – silent but omnipresent – behind every project where there is to be transmitted of the motion, of the kinetic energy, of the force.

Philosophizing with grace and wit, Claudio has also pointed out that in each timepiece the Master who conceived and realized it, identifies and transfigures himself; so in each watch the author emerges irrefutably with his style and personal archetypes, both technical and aesthetical, that distinguish him. Nothing could be more true!

This truly exceptional itinerant event therefore has a very specific purpose, as well as giving support – as if it were still needed – to the highest independent watchmaking: approaching the general public to those who, more than watches, should be considered true works of art.

Watchmakers – The Masters of Art Horology, was presented as a world premiere from the 6th to the 15th of April 2018 in the spaces of Extra MAXXI in Rome, in collaboration with Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo, the leading auction house in the watch industry. New York exibit will follow at the Phillips Gallery, 450 Park Avenue from the 26th to the 30th of April; then Hong Kong at the Mandarin Oriental, 5 Connaught Road Central from the 24th to the 28th of May; to end in London at Phillips HQ Gallery, 30 Berkeley Square from the 19th to the 26th of June.

The selected Masters of Independent Horology, strictly in alphabetical order, are: Hajime Asaoka, Ludovic Ballouard, De Bethune, Christophe Claret, George Daniels, Philippe Dufour, Laurent Ferrier, Romain Gauthier, Vianney Halter, Christian Klings, Daniel Roth, Roger Smith, Kari Voutilainen .

The catalog, exhaustive and valuable (252 pages!), Is the perfect crowning of an experience to remember and that will certainly be remembered. In order to match the international vocation of the initiative, it is only available in English language. It’s been published by ACC Art Book, with photos by Guy Lucas de Peslouan, the introduction of the famous Aurel Bacs, and with a critical note of the important journalist Nicholas Foulkes.

So I’m going to present you my photographic reportage, hoping to give you a spark of the sensations I felt in the presence of these absolute masterpieces of Indipendent Horology.

Press Kit: official poster and pictures

The Spaces and the Exibition setup

The black showcases were designed to blend with the colors of the exhibition space, which featured an open space with a dark carpet floor, dark painted metallic beams and visible brickwork.
I would have suggested a different type of lighting, preferably with LED strips installed in a peripheral position on the frames of the cases, with the luminous flux ascending from the bottom, instead of zenith lighting, in order to minimize the reflections.
Very appreciabile and smart the usage of transparent plexiglass for the supports, this solution allowed to admire both the dial and the back of each watch, especially to better appreciate the architecture of movements, complications and finishes.
Finally, I would also have opted for a differrent inner encasement of each showcase, that would have been better if coated with rough and anti-reflective surface, in ordert to allow photographers to take clearer pictures, free from any image noise due to the light refractions and reflections.

The Photographic Reportage




The attached pics of the reportage are from Viola Cappelletti, shot with a Canon 5D / Mark IV. No color correction or postproduction has been done to these pictures, in order to be as more realistic as possible.

I hope you enjoyed reading. Please let me know your thoughts!