Continuing the story of the remarkable Atmos clock as an objet d’art, Jaeger-LeCoultre presents the Atmos Régulateur ‘Cherry Blossom’ at Homo Faber in Venice.
• A one-of-a-kind work of art, the Atmos Régulateur ‘Cherry Blossom’ is the largest piece ever created in Grand Feu enamel by Jaeger-LeCoultre, requiring 200 hours for the enamelling work alone
• A universal symbol of springtime and renewal, the cherry blossom decoration pays tribute to 12 Japanese Living National Treasures who will be guests of honour at Homo Faber
• Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 582 is distinguished by its regulator-style display and a moon-phase indication that will take 3,821 years to diverge from astronomical reality by one day
There could be no better setting in which to showcase the time-honoured skills of La Grande Maison’s Métiers Rares workshops: presenting the priceless human skills behind the creation of rare objects, Homo Faber brings together 15 exhibitions that celebrate the savoir-faire of exceptional master artisans from all over Europe. This year, reaffirming the shared values of craftsmanship that transcend cultures and borders, Homo Faber features 12 Japanese Living National Treasures as guests of honour.
In homage to this connection, La Grande Maison has chosen to depict the sakura or cherry blossom on the new Atmos Régulateur. An emblem of Japan, cherry blossom has become a universal metaphor for Spring, a symbol of renewal and a precious reminder of the fleeting nature of life, and of time itself. In keeping with this year’s Stellar Odyssey theme, the Atmos movement features a moon-phase display – the best-known and perhaps most beloved celestial complication of all.
Noble in presence and delicate in detail, the Atmos Régulateur ‘Cherry Blossom’ is a one-of-a-kind work of art, showcasing the clock’s mechanism within a transparent glass cabinet set between two dramatic panels of black Grand Feu enamel.
A branch of cherry blossom, hand-painted in enamel, extends seamlessly from one side, across the dial ring, to the opposite panel. Petals scatter in the air around it, as if shaken free by a passing breeze.
With the enamelling alone requiring 200 hours of dedicated work by the master artisans in the Métiers Rares® atelier of Jaeger-LeCoultre, this is the largest enamelled piece ever undertaken at La Grande Maison. While the enamellers have thoroughly mastered the techniques of enamelling on watch cases and dials, the large scale of this piece presented an entirely different set of challenges. Rising to it, the artisans of the atelier worked closely together, spending countless hours on preliminary research, exchanging ideas, experimenting and making trials before the enamelling could begin in earnest. Materials and techniques were examined and reconsidered – and a new kiln specified, to accommodate such large pieces.
For the panels – measuring 196mm by 105.2mm – copper was found to be more suitable than the gold used for enamelling on watches. For such large surfaces, the enamellers had to perfect the ‘dry enamelling’ technique of sifting powdered pigment onto the copper plates (rather like dusting the top of a cake with icing sugar), repeating the process again and again, to achieve the desired depth and uniformity of black. After every layer, the panels had to be fired, then cooled and perfectly flattened – with every stage carrying the risk of bubbling, cracking or dust specks, any of which would ruin the work.
For the two dial rings, it was determined that silver was the best material – despite its being a soft metal and therefore less resistant to firing at the high temperatures required for grand feu enamel. Normally, to prevent deformation, the back of an object is prepared with ‘contre-email’, but in this case it was impossible since the dial is visible from behind. The rings were hollowed out to form a trough into which the enamel was applied. Then, as for the panels, came the challenge of multiple firings.
Finally, when the black enamel backgrounds were completed to perfection, the work of the miniature-painter could begin – bringing with it the almost contradictory needs for artistic flair and absolute precision. As with the black enamel, this work was done in a series of layers, each needing to be fired, with every firing again carrying the risk of damaging everything that had been done before. To succeed in such work is testament to an extraordinary level of finesse, and a degree of mastery that can be achieved only with countless years of experience.
Invented in 1928, with a unique mechanism that is driven by tiny changes in air temperature, the Atmos is an extraordinary timepiece and an objet d’art in equal measure. Since the 1970s the Manufacture has invited a series of leading designers and proponents of the artistic crafts to reinterpret this mechanical prodigy. With a clear sense of artistic intention, this new interpretation, the Atmos Régulateur ‘Cherry Blossom’, amplifies the distinctive identity of the clock with balanced proportions and visual harmony allied to fine artistry.
The movement of this exceptional piece, conceived and entirely produced within La Grande Maison, is the Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 582, which is distinguished by its regulator display. With an architecture defined by circles within circles, the large minutes ring and smaller hours ring are complemented by a monthly calendar and moon-phase display, as well as by the shape of the annular balance that slowly oscillates beneath the displays. The moon-phase indication is so precise that it will take 3,821 years to diverge by just one day from astronomical reality.
As a one-of-a-kind work of art, the Atmos Régulateur ‘Cherry Blossom’ is testament not only to La Grande Maison’s exceptional depth of savoir-faire but also to its commitment to preserving rare skills within the Manufacture, supporting and encouraging the expansion of those skills, and celebrating human creativity.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Atmos Régulateur ‘Cherry Blossom’ Technical Specifications
Dimensions overall: 468 mm x 183 mm x 255 mm
Dimensions of panels: 196 mm x 105.2 mm
Calibre: Mechanical, perpetual Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 582
Functions: regulator type display of hours and minutes; 24-hour indication; month indication; perpetual moon-phase indication (one-day discrepancy every 3,861 years)
Dial: Grand Feu Enamel
Panels: Grand Feu Enamel
Homo Faber Event is open to the public from 10 April to 1 May 2022, at Fondazione Giorgio Cini on the island of S.Giorgio Maggiore, Venice. Information and tickets are available at homofaber.com
About the ATMOS
Born in 1928, the Atmos is a clock like no other. Invented by a Swiss engineer, Jean-Léon Reutter, it appears to defy the laws of physics, running for centuries without the need for any conventional energy source or rewinding. Instead, its mechanism is powered by normal, everyday fluctuations in air temperature; a variation of just one degree Celsius being sufficient to guarantee two days of running time. Since Jaeger-LeCoultre acquired the patents for Atmos in 1936, harnessing the Manufacture’s watchmaking skills to continually make technical improvements, and its creative talents to enhance the beauty of the clock, it has become a prized objet d’art. While the glass cube based on the Art Deco design of the Atmos I has become an instantly recognisable classic, Jaeger-LeCoultre has also collaborated with renowned designers and master artisans to create special editions of the Atmos.
About Homo Faber
Organised by the Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship, the Homo Faber Event is an international exhibition that champions artisanal talent, showcasing an impressive variety of materials, techniques and skills through live demonstrations, immersive digital experiences and imaginative displays of handcrafted creations. The 2022 edition highlights craft’s role in creating a more sustainable and inclusive future and offers a rare chance to experience craft and its connections to the arts and the design world. Imagined by a team of world-renowned curators and designers, 15 exhibitions transform the magnificent spaces of the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, on San Giorgio Maggiore Island in Venice. Guided tours are available, led by students participating in the Young Ambassadors Programme. In conjunction with the exhibition, Homo Faber in Città offers tailor-made itineraries enabling visitors to experience craftsmanship throughout Venice.
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