Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Cabinotier Exhibition

Hehe, following our dear sister gosijo’s advice on BYJ ‘Freedom’ Day, I too have gleefully given myself some ‘freedom’ days off. This past weekend I attended a ‘Cabinotier’ Exhibition. Cabinotier (by Geneva) actually refers to clocksmith, derives from 18th century craftsmen who produced mechanical type clocks in small attic called cabinet. The cabinets usually had maximum daylight to allow these skilled craftsmen and engravers to create detailed decoration on unique timepieces for royalty, aristocracy and the affluent. It does sound boring, isn't it?

It was a relaxing, pleasant Saturday afternoon, we met up with our long time friend in the stylish Harrods for lunch first to do some catching up. This ‘Cabinotier’ was just a small scale private exhibition, so only a few patrons were present. Did I ever mention how spoiled you can get by Japanese’s courteous and impeccable service? As usual, we were outnumbered by the staff, hosts, servers and many who just stood there to make sure you are taken care of. So after many rounds of nodding, bowing, smiling and ‘irrasshaimase’-ing, we finally got a glimpse of the display.

The Engraver Meister, Keiji Kanagawa san was doing a demonstration of his very unique engraving techniques. We are told that there are very few Meisters with his ability in Japan and Switzerland. The host directed us to the delicate details that he hand-engraved into the mechanical parts, face and case of the watch via a microscope. I noticed he always started his stroke, for example the paisley shape, from the tail with a light hand and then carved backwards to the top applying more pressure, see how beautiful the details were :

Only selected watches are eligible for engraving. Well, I know for sure they have to be hard and strong, otherwise how many watches can you afford to break while engraving? I guess it also has to be BIG, or else the Meister will go blind staring at a teensy weensy little watch 24/7, right? Hehe seriously, I think the size, surface and value of the watch would be the determining factors to warrant such precious engraving work.

My eyes were caught by the watches inside this case the moment I walked in. They are understated and yet each piece emits such distinct character.

The host explained to me that each timepiece tells a unique story – like this Pierre Kunz watch on the left is about ‘love’. It has cut outs of hearts on the dial and a serpent in the mechanical parts seen through the back signifying Adam & Eve, just exquisite.

Hehe, I have to mention that : as exquisite as these engraved watches are, I couldn’t help but get distracted by our host’s glaring diamond encrusted watch flanking before our eyes. I hope his was also part of the exhibition, see how many diamonds are on the face, the knob and even the rim of these watches, and they are big! I think you also have to hire a guard like Mr. Shin when you buy an attention-grabber like this.

Maybe it’s the excitement of seeing some beautiful timepieces, or just my eyes were blinded by the sparkles of those multitudes of diamonds; we decided to sit down, rest a little and enjoy our champagne. Look at these cute light snacks they served, I didn’t eat any though :

smoke cold cuts and olives

Bonbon on a stem

Next, I decided to check out the Franck Muller collection in display here. Remember, HRH owns several styles and colors of FM. Not sure if this is his real taste or of Ms. Hong’s. I always think Yong Joon would favor the more masculine and sporty type of watch, no?

I love this black Muller, cool!

Well, typical Franck Muller here:

See that one with multi-colored numbers, the sapphire blue is so brilliant

My friend asked me what number would I pick for the necklace? I immediately thought of 4, hehe Yon for Yonsama!

Well, all good things come to an end, this Cabinotier Exhibition has opened my eyes to the exclusive world of mechanical watch engraving. HRH always craves to experience new knowledge, wonder what kind of art or photography exhibitions he patrons while in Soho? Hope he had relaxed and enjoyed the last 10 days. Oh btw, you’d better head back to Seoul next week, ok? Yours truly will be very disappointed if she cannot breathe the same air and look at the same sky as you. Just kidding, pleae stay happy and healthy :)


vegasbyj said...

Hello Jaime dear!
I've been catching up on your posts.

The Cabinotier Exhibition looks very interesting. For me, a watch is a watch, but after seeing all the details in the engraving gives new meaning to a watch. Wow!!

I'm happy to know you participated in the Hallyu research interview. I remember the post on Quilt a while back. I hope the student gathered all the info she needed to do her research. Will she be sharing her final paper with you? IT would be interesting to read what she has written.

Oh and the "Yong Joon" room - I don't think I'd be able to eat - seeing all of his pictures on the wall. I'd be too busy looking at each one and trying to recall the details of each picture...*sigh*

Take good care and thanks for sharing!

bb said...

hey, me love franck muller too! my only problem with them... too expensive :p

seems like a great experience... wish i could go too! thanks for sharing :)

Anonymous said...

hi jaime, the frank muller watch is indeed beautiful but too EXPENSIVE to buy.
thanx for the news.hope u can keep sending us the good news. thanx

jaime said...

my dear vegas,

Hehe, I learn a lot about this new aspect of watches too.

I am not sure if HyeJung ssi will share her paper with us. Afterall, she interviewed about 60 people and she didn't get our email addys. But you are right, it'll be interesting to read what she writes.

Hehe, if looking at his pictures is already so satisfying, imagine his future wife who gets to look at him at every meal?? Lucky lucky her!!

love ... jaime

jaime said...

hihi princess,

Me too, I was thinking you might enjoy this exhibition. Too bad cloudnine was busy that day.

Yeah indeed expensive! That's why HRH has 3 (at least) and I have none! Well, I blame it on those funny number placement on the dial. I can't even read the time, so what's the point of getting the watch? hahaha!

love ... jaime

jaime said...

Hi Anonymous,

So you like FM too. Sorry that my pictures do not show them very well. I know FM may not be available in certain cities, so you have to order it through big dealers in New York and Tokyo. If you like mechanical watch & engraving, Pierre Kunz and ChronoSwiss are other brands you can look into, I think they are big for women though. Have fun!

regards ... jaime