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Clocks Chime In During Geneva’s Watchmaking Moment

Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Patek Philippe, Van Cleef & Arpels and Urwerk were among the watchmakers that put their clockmaking know-how on the table.

Clocks Chime In During Geneva’s Watchmaking Moment

The Montgolfière Aéro clock taps into Louis Vuitton’s passion for travel and knack for flights of fancy.

Not all timekeepers are meant to live on wrists, as these horological creations seen in Geneva, in or around Watches and Wonders, can attest.

Montgolfière Aéro, Louis Vuitton

It’s not a bird, it’s not a plane — it’s a trunk made for soaring through the skies of one’s imagination. Louis Vuitton tapped into its passion for travel and knack for flights of fancy with this clock shaped like a hot air balloon and developed with reputed specialist L’Épée 1839. A painstaking openwork structure of Macassar wood that forms the brand’s monogram flower — with a 9-carat citrine briolette center — sits atop a basket shaped like a miniature trunk for this limited edition of eight pieces. Hours and minutes are indicated along the edge of the balloon by another citrine-set Monogram Flower and some 1,200 diamonds embellish the clock’s outline.

Musical Clock Couture Workshop, Chanel

Clocks Chime In During Geneva’s Watchmaking Moment

The Chanel clock, automaton and music box is part of its couture-inspired 2024 lineup at Watches and Wonders.

A couture atelier is nothing if not a choreographed dance of seamstresses, busts and tools, inspiring the French fashion house’s watchmaking creation studio for this piece which is at once a clock, an automaton and a music box, developed in conjunction with Swiss expert Reuge. Nods to the Rue Cambon workshops abound, from the mannequins and miniature gem-set drop chandelier to the time read on a tape measure around the periphery. The base is “quilted” thanks to a marquetry of 245 onyx pieces and the key on a gold chain used to wind the mechanism is a replica of the one once used to close Gabrielle Chanel’s office.

SpaceTime Blade, Urwerk

Clocks Chime In During Geneva’s Watchmaking Moment

This sci-fi creation tells the time but also the distance the Earth is covering around the sun.

Throw your preconceived notions about timepieces out an airlock with the 1.7-meter, 20-kilogram tower of metal and glass. This limited edition of 33 stems from the tower clock first imagined by Urwerk and developed in collaboration with Czech entrepreneur Dalibor Farny ahead of 2023’s canceled Only Watch charity auction. Using cold cathode displays best known as “Nixie tubes,” this standing clock straight out of a sci-fi universe can show the time, an indication of the planet’s daily rotation in kilometers but also the distance covered by the Earth in one day or year around the sun.

Apparition Des Baies Automaton, Van Cleef and Arpels

Clocks Chime In During Geneva’s Watchmaking Moment

The Apparition des Baies automata appeared at Watches and Wonders.

As the rounded thicket of leaves artfully parts, a white-gold songbird dressed in sapphires, spinels and diamonds appears, perched on a branch heavy with thulite berries. With Van Cleef & Arpels’ knack for charming automatons, you’d be forgiven for forgetting to look at the 12-hour clock on a 360-degree rotating ring set on the dalmatian jasper base, where a leafy branch with berries indicates the time. 

Horological Parts Small Dome Table Clock, Patek Philippe

No less than 16 meters of gold wire were required to outline the 452 horological parts featured on this Grand Feu cloisonné enamel table clock that’s part of the Rare Handcrafts exhibition at the watchmaker’s factory. The enameler also used nine hues of green to achieve the delicate shading for every component and the plates that compose the clock each required between eight and 12 firings. With its sunburst hour circle and gilt trapeze hands, the result is as delicate as any porcelain vase, with a distinct horological charm that fits the annual Geneva watch exhibition.

Clocks Chime In During Geneva’s Watchmaking Moment

It’s all about mechanical clock parts, inside and outside this Patek Philippe clock.