Paris, January 15th of 2018 – Studio Jean-Marc Gady signs its 6th year of collaboration with Montblanc and its 3rd scenography for the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie. On the occasion of the 28th SIHH, which is held in Geneva from January 15th to January 19th, the studio has created this year an immersive experience that tells the story of the watchmaking tradition of the House and the mountain exploits that inspired his new 1858 collection. During the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, Montblanc revisits the extraordinary watchmaking heritage of the Minerva Manufacture and its legendary professional watches created for military use and mountain exploration during the 1920s and 1930s. For the 3rd time this year, Studio Jean-Marc Gady designed and followed the development of the Montblanc booth, as a modern expression of the mountain theme of the collection, with a natural wood decor evoking a chalet to present the new watches.
The studio also realized all the 13 windows that surround the installation. “To celebrate the 160th anniversary of the Minerva Manufacture, Montblanc wanted to invite visitors to discover new heights and push the limits of exploration. This realization perfectly blends historical codes and contemporary reinterpretations, allowing the full expression of the Montblanc’s heritage and know-how “says Emilie André, creative director at Studio Jean-Marc Gady. Reminiscent of the original Minerva chronographs, the vintage design codes of 1858 are evident throughout the Montblanc space from leather furnishings evoking the aged calfskin leather watch straps to brushed bronze surfaces mirroring the bronze of the vintage-inspired watches. The references to mountain exploration throughout the booth underscore the role chronographs and professional watches have played for mountaineers, trusted companions in their relentless pursuit to conquer new heights.
Stepping into the concentric lobby, visitors are transported into the universe of Montblanc 1858, surrounded by breath-taking vistas of the Mont Blanc evoking the spirit of mountain exploration. A spherical cage wood structure is home to the new timepieces created for today’s fearless adventurers and the intrepid explorers who set their sights on their goals in their pursuit of new heights. Above the central lobby, the complexity and virtuosity of Montblanc complications is expressed in the large-scale replica of the innovative Tourbillon suspendu movement from the Maison’s Star Legacy that floats in mid-air. In the centre, watchmakers from the Maison’s manufactures are at work, demonstrating the craftsmanship and know-how that goes into the creation of every timepiece.
Covering one of the walls, a timeline charts the major milestones in the history of Minerva, the manufacture founded by Charles-Ivan Robert in 1858 as a manufacturer of pocket watches before gaining international recognition for its precision timepieces and becoming a leading specialist in the fabrication of professional watches and stopwatches.In addition to charting the evolution of classical watchmaking, the timeline highlights key milestones in the spirit of mountain exploration as well as the spirit of racing, and the role Minerva played in each of those. Key milestones include the development of a number of movements equipped with chronograph functions such as the legendary calibre 19.09 in 1909 featuring the recognizable patented V-Chrono shaped bridge, the first manually wound monopusher chronographs specially developed for wristwatches in the 1920s, and the iconic calibre 17.29 from the 1930s, one of the slimmest monopusher chronographs of the time.
Along a library wall, the innovative calibres exhibited highlight the Maison’s ability to delve into its rich heritage to push watchmaking excellence to new limits with high performance calibres. From the base of the mountain to its snowy peaks, the Montblanc experience takes modern-day explorers on a journey to discover new heights of watchmaking, paying tribute to the 160 years of the Minerva Manufacture and its horologic achievements along the way. In total, the 1000 square meter space designed by Studio Jean-Marc Gady reveals 148 watches, including new items from the 1858 collection inspired by mountain exploration, and the Star Legacy collection that embodies the spirit of the classic “Haute Horlogerie”.
Design: Studio Jean-Marc Gady
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