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October, 20 - November, 10, 2011

the Front hall of the Armoury Chamber

Organized by:
  the Moscow Kremlin Museums, the Foundation de la Haute Horlogerie, Switzerland, Geneva

01# 	Pendant watch in the form of a crossSupported by the Foundation de la Haute Horlogerie the Moscow Kremlin museums introduce to the Russian audience a selection of exceptional timepieces from the leading European museums and private collections. The exhibition chronicles five hundred years of exchange, development, innovations in the art of watchmaking and presents exceptional creations, including some made specifically for Russia. Russia has been placing orders for the production of the distinguished Swiss firms (such as Tissot, Moser & Co., Bovet & Fol, and Courvoisier & Cie) as early as the XVIth century and always welcomed famous watchmakers, i.e. Abraham-Louis Breguet, Louis Audemars and Paul-Léopold Buhré. Many of the Swiss firms opened branches or appointed agents in Moscow. Russia was also a thriving market for the clocks, imported from Germany, those of the items by Lange&Söhne were held in high esteem. The brilliant Abraham-Louis Breguet worked prolifically for the Russian Imperial family and later on was honoured with the title of Watchmaker to His Majesty and the Imperial Navy. His reputation was such that, in Russia, the Breguet name became a synonym for a chronometer.

The exhibition consists of 63 meticulously selected chef d'oeuvre, which reveal the technical and artistic creativity of European watchmakers from the XVIth to the XXth century. Displayed together within the exhibition they are intended to represent the main milestones of the long and intricate history of the art of watchmaking: from the earliest pocket watches with just an hour hand to the appearance of precision chronometers and chronographs, and then - to the invention of electronic and quartz watches. Watches, which provide us with a practical timekeeping function, were always considered to serve as precious accessories as well.

No wonder the Moscow Kremlin Museums took part in such an interesting project, taking into consideration the fact that a wide collection of European artistic watches and clocks are preserved in the Armory Chamber. The earliest timepieces, the true chef-d’oeuvres of European watchmaking, were purchased during the rule of Ivan the Terrible. Numerous ancient watches and clocks from the collection are linked to Russian Tsars, Church principals and famous personalities. The Moscow Kremlin Museums has displayed its own watch and clock collection on numerous occasions. Therefore it’s easy to understand the enthusiasm to discover a retrospective of European watchmaking, prepared by the foremost professionals from a country, Switzerland, for which watchmaking is a part of its identity and a national treasure.

This compact, nevertheless wide-ranging and valuable exposition, gives an opportunity to enjoy the beauty and technical perfection of every timepiece and to appreciate the unique craftsmanship of watchmakers, designers and jewelers of several historical periods.