Monday, May 9, 2016

My final day saw another stunning blue sky and free time until I had to head to the airport.

I set off for a walk around the main part of Geneva with plans to stop at the Patek Philippe boutique and the Vacheron Constantin boutique.

Looking back across the bridge.
My first stop was the Patek Philippe Boutique. Located on Rue du Rhone and facing the lake, the salon has maintained the heritage feel of the building and the interiors. Gorgeous embossed and gilded wall paper and many antiques fill the space.
Watches are elegantly displayed and service is impeccable. I also got to try on the new Pilots watch.
After visiting the Patek Philippe salon I headed to the Vacheron Constantin Salon where I was wanting to see the vintage pieces they had for sale. It was great to see a high end brand actively buying, servicing and reselling their own historic pieces.
While the salon is housed in an old building the interior is thoroughly light and modern with subtle references to the past.
Then it was time for a bit of exploring. Walking the cobblestoned streets was an exciting experience and great way to see the town.

I found Christie’s Auction house.
Perched on the hill above the city is the Cathedral of Saint Pierre. Builtin the 12th century, the Cathedral became the local seat of the Protestant church in the 16th century when it also underwent some modifications. Unfortunately wIdidn’t have time to climb the 157 steps of the north tower for the spectactular views over the city and lake.
The Palais de Justice, the courthouse of Geneva and the street out front of it. The cafes were quite busy.
Then it was time to head to M.A.D. Gallery and visit Max Busser.
The items for sale in M.A.D. Gallery are very eclectic and quite visionary. The Machine Lights by Frank Buchwald are quite amazing .  Prior to making these unique lights Frank Buchwald was a freelance artist and science fiction illustrator. He then moved on to making metal furniture and in 1993, entirely self taught, he started producing the lamps.

Machine Light Type No. 1. I could see this in a movie featuring a mad scientist.
Machine Lights Type No. 3, this would sit nicely on a mantelpiece.
While the art is important at M.A.D. Gallery, Max Busser also has the fantastic mechanical wrist art that is M.B&F Watches. Mr. CA4G was keen to show me the HM6, also known as Space Pirate, that he saw in Singapore earlier this year. Max was inspired to design this watch by a cartoon he used to watch as child called Capitaine Flam.
The front two bubbles tell the hour on the left and the minutes on the right. The central sapphire crystal dome houses a tourbillon which has an articulated titanium cover that can be raised and lowered by the wearer. The rear two bubbles contain the twin spherical turbines that automatically regulate the winding system in case of excessive speed to reduce stress and wear.  Very technical and very complicated.

Watches like this continue to astound me due the amount of research that goes in to the design and the movement. The sapphire crystal is incredibly hard to do as each dome is shaped from a block of crystal. Out of every 100 there is about an 80% reject rate. Incredibly time consuming and costly. Makes you appreciate why mechanical timepieces like this cost what they do.
Who doesn’t love robots, especially these Melchior ones. These are table clocks that put boring run of the mill table clocks to shame. The dome on the head houses the movement . The body has jumping hours and minute indicators and the eyes are retrograde seconds indicators. The left forearm detaches to become the winding key. The good thing? With 40 day power reserve you don’t need to wind it too often.
And Max’s latest idea was a clock in the shape of a spider. Yep, not my cup of tea. Called Arachnophobia, Max Busser’s over active imagination was inspired by the giant spider sculpture “Maman” by Louise Bourgeois and bought to life by L’Epee. The legs are articulated and it can either sit on a desk or be mounted on a wall. 
Arachnophobia on the wall and Damien Beneteau’s  kinetic sculpture ‘Spatial Variation’ in front.
Some of my favourite pieces were the ‘comma men’ by Chinese artist Xia Hang. These delightful, highly polished stainless steel sculptures are quite whimsical and fun.
Hanging on one wall was one of the most unique musical instruments I have ever seen. UlrichTeuffel began making and designing guitars when he was 14. At age 30 he radically changed his approach to guitar making by focusing on conceptual design. His BirdFish design is now ranked among the best guitars in the world and used by people such as Billy Gibbons(ZZTop), David Torn, Kirk Hammett(Metallica) and many more.
I have has a thing for steam engines and have looked at these Bohm Stirling pieces on line. They do not rely on water to generate energy but heat from a small flame that heats up the engine and gets it going. There was even one that can be placed over a mug of coffee and is activated by the heat rising off the hot liquid, also acts as a coffee insulator.
Also on exhibit were the works of Damien Beneteau. Originally a photographer, Damien began working with light and creating kinetic ‘light sculptures’. Moving parts within the pieces change the way light plays on them. Quite mesmerizing and somehow hypnotic.

Videos of the pieces can be found at the following link:

For more on the artists featured at M.A.D Gallery including ones I haven’t mentioned visit their website

I had a great lunch and catch up with Max

I had a wonderful 5 days in Geneva and was very glad to have had the chance to go.
I would like to thank James Kennedy and the team from LK Boutique for inviting me on the tour, Patek Philippe for their wonderful hospitality and the opportunity to visit the factories and learn more about their watch making and design processes.