Three-dimensional films that magnify the movements of Cartier’s most innovative watches reveal the technical magic that goes into their creation. And exhibited alongside vintage Cartier timepieces, the jeweler’s prowess in both elegant styling and pioneering mechanics is shown to be an art form. Add to this the genius art direction of Japanese designer Tokujin Yoshioka and you have Cartier Time Art, a remarkable new exhibition at Zurich’s Bellerive Museum.

Bringing together the largest number of Cartier timepieces ever displayed in public –
17 flagship watches and 158 pieces from the brand’s vaults – Cartier Time Art is a comprehensive look at Cartier clocks and watches since they were first introduced in 1874. Highlights include an early chatelaine-watch in yellow gold, pink gold, enamel and pearls, and the Rotonde de Cartier Astrorégulateur watch, which was first revealed at SIHH 2011.

For horology aficionados, the most exciting piece on display is the Cartier ID One concept watch, which makes its debut at the exhibition. Using cutting edge technology, this watch is devised to never require any adjustment throughout its entire lifecycle. For now it is merely a concept, not available to even the most enthusiastic Cartier collectors, but it does offer a glimpse of the future of developments in horology.

More than mere glimpses of visionary mechanics are given by Yoshioka’s sophisticated 3D projections of 12 of Cartier’s signature movements. Enlarged to the point that every tiny detail can clearly be seen, the mechanistic elements reveal the art that goes into crafting Cartier watches. And shown in striking luminous films that appear to float as ghosts, Yoshioka has created Cartier Time Art.

Cartier Time Art at Musuem Bellerive, Zurich, runs until November 26, 2011, before touring worldwide.

“Cartier creates time in an endless pursuit of beauty.
The perfect harmony instilled by Cartier’s craftsmen refines time itself to an art.

Like light, wind, scent, and air, we can neither see time nor hold it,
yet its beautiful rhythm beats throughout each day of our lives.

In today’s material world, time has value.
The important thing is experience.
Experience nurtures time. It is the ground on which we grow.
Each memory takes seed in the heart, and the stream of time flows on.

A long history and avant-garde ideas for the future.

Cartier’s unique beauty comes from the merging of these two extremes.
The space, with 3D films depicting the mechanism of the watch,
will wrap around the heats of visitors.

I hope their experience here will implant Cartier’s new timebeat in each life.”

- Tokujin Yoshioka

Rotonde de Cartier Astrorégulateur watch

Movement: Manufacture self-winding mechanical, Calibre 9800 MC, hours, minutes, with escapement fitted on the oscillating weight to counteract the effects of gravity in vertical positions
Case: Niobium-titanium on leather
Diameter: 50mm
Crown: Circular-grained in titanium or 18 carat white gold, set with a sapphire cabochon
Crystal: Sapphire
Case back: Sapphire crystal
Water-resistance: 30 metres / 100 feet / 3 bar
Dial: Galvanic guilloché, slate-grey colour, silvered openwork grill with sunburst effect, black transferred Roman numerals
Hands: Sword-shaped in blued steel
Strap: Black alligator skin
Clasp: Double adjustable folding in 18 carat gold
Limited series of 50 individually numbered timepieces

Cartier ID One concept watch

Movement: Cartier manufacture mechanical movement with automatic winding, without adjusting
Case: Niobium-titanium
Diameter: 36.8mm
Crystal: Sapphire
Number of jewels: 17
Number of pieces: 177
Anchor and anchor wheel: carbon crystal,without jewel pallet-stones
Dial: Main plate coated with ADLC (amorphous diamond-like carbon) and decorated with Côtes de Genève
Strap: Fabric
Clasp: Adjustable folding clasp in 18-carat white gold
This watch is only a concept and will not be sold.

Santos Wristwatch, 1916

Movement: Round LeCoultre calibre 126
Case: Platinum, gold, sapphire
Strap: Leather
Dial: Fausses Côtes de Genève decoration, rhodium-plated, 8 adjustments, 18 jewels

In 1904 Louis Cartier made a major breakthrough in the watch-making world by creating one of the first ever wristwatches. It is made for a man, the aviator Santos-Dumont, who wanted to tell the time without having to let go of the controls of his flying machine4. And that was how, from the original pocket watch that was only taken out when needed, the watch became an accessory that was visible to all; displayed on the wrist, a jewel that is the result of thorough research. A geometric form, rounded corners, harmoniously shaped joints that converge towards the strap… the Santos watch represents an early expression of the Art Deco style. It was launched by Cartier in 1911 and was a great success. It reappeared in 1978, when Cartier was bold enough to fit it with a gold and steel bracelet, materials that had never been associated before.

Large Portique Mystery Clock, 1923

This clock was the first in a series of six in the form of a Shinto shrine “gate” (portique), all different and all created by Cartier between 1923 and 1925.
Sold to Mrs H.F. McCormick (Ganna Walska)

Gold, platinum, rock crystal, coral, onyx, enamel, rose-cut diamonds
Square, 8-day, double-barrel movement, gold-plated, 13 jewels, Swiss lever escapement, bimetallic balance, Breguet balance spring. Transmission axle masked by a coral cabochon on a rock-crystal crossbar. Removable Billiken figure provides access to the movement. Arbor for winding movement and setting hands.
35.0 cm x 23.0 cm x 13.0 cm

Pocket Watch With Minute-Repeater, 1927

Round LeCoultre movement, minute-repeater, split-seconds chronograph, 48-month perpetual calendar, lunar phases, rhodium-plated, 8 adjustments, 40 jewels, Swiss lever escapement, bimetallic balance, Breguet balance spring Diameter: 5.12 cm

Tortue Wristwatch With Minute-Repeater, 1928

This extremely rare watch houses one of the most sophisticated complications: the minute-repeater, which chimes the hours, quarter-hours and minutes when the repeating slide is activated.

Round LeCoultre movement, minute-repeater, Côtes de Genève decoration, rhodium-plated, 8 adjustments, 29 jewels, Swiss lever escapement, bimetallic balance, Breguet balance spring.
2.99 cm x 3.27 cm (case)

More info:

Friday, August 26 to Sunday, November 6, 2011
Bellerive Museum, Ein Haus des Museum fur Gestaltung Zurich
Höschgasse 3 8008 Zurich, Switzerland