In February, Dubai will host The Stellar Odyssey, a major exhibition by Swiss watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre, which pays homage to the astronomical phenomena that lie at the origins of time measurement. The exhibition is an invitation for watch enthusiasts and the general public alike to discover how the mysteries of the cosmos are translated into micro-mechanical wonders that capture the universe in miniature, in order to tell the time.
“It is an important part of our mission at Jaeger-LeCoultre to share the secrets behind the art and craft of watchmaking with the wider world by bringing our Manufacture from the Vallée de Joux to the public around the globe,” says Catherine Rénier, CEO of Jaeger-LeCoultre.
“The ancient cultures of the Middle East played a seminal role in the origins of time measurement, and we are therefore delighted that Dubai is where the world tour of The Stellar Odyssey makes its debut. It is a special opportunity to trace the unbroken line through several millennia to the exceptional legacy of innovation that has driven our Maison for 190 years and the work that we do today.”
Following the inauguration of The Stellar Odyssey at Watches & Wonders in 2022, Dubai has been chosen as the first stop on a tour of major world cities. The exhibition will be staged in a spectacular pavilion ‘floating’ on the waters of the Dubai Fountain, with Burj Khalifa as its backdrop.
Showcasing a careful curated selection of the Manufacture’s most remarkable historic timepieces as well as its most recent celestially-inspired timepieces – including the extraordinary Atmos clock and the Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 – the exhibition features multi-media installations that will take visitors on a virtual journey to the cosmos.
It translates the wonders of the celestial world into art installations and multi-sensory experiences, while the Atelier d’Antoine, named after the Maison’s founder, Antoine LeCoultre, shares watchmaking know-how through hands-on educational workshops based on the Stellar Odyssey theme.
Within the main exhibition pavilion, The Stellar Odyssey explores the creative and cultural universe of astronomically-inspired watchmaking in eight chapters. Visitors begin by discovering the very origins of time, the impact of celestial phenomena on the way we measure it, and the origins of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s expertise in developing astronomical complications.
Each of the five following chapters leads visitors through a different cosmic phenomenon, displaying rare historic watches as well as timepieces from the most recent collections to illustrate how the Manufacture has continually reinterpreted the movements of the stars and planets in the form of intricate complications that represent, measure and even predict celestial events directly on the wrist.
In the heart of the main pavilion, beneath a geodesic dome, an immersive digital show takes visitors on a virtual journey through space and time, transporting them through infinite space and 13.7 billion years of time to reveal the mysteries of the cosmos in five episodes – from the origins of our known universe to the present day.
Established for the purpose of enriching the dialogue that has long existed between horology, artisanship and art, Made of Makers is a programme of collaborations with artists and artisans from various disciplines outside watchmaking. It focuses on world-class creators who share Jaeger-LeCoultre’s values of creativity, expertise and precision and whose work explores new forms of expression through different and often unexpected materials and media.
Jaeger-LeCoultre has also commissioned projects by French multi-media artist Guillaume Marmin and world-renowned mixologist Matthias Giroud.
For his installation, Passengers: Through Time, Guillaume Marmin employs light, sound and movement in complex relationships that redefine traditional ideas of sculpture, space and time. As visitors walk through the work, infinite reflections and dizzying perspectives take them on a stellar excursion in which they are the protagonists, inviting reflection on the fundamental question of what time really is.
Matthias Giroud has created a menu of highly original soft cocktails inspired by the cosmos, taking his inspiration from the colours, temperatures and forms of the stars and planets, and blending familiar ingredients with intriguing scents and flavours from the Vallée de Joux.
In the Atelier d’Antoine, visitors can complete their journey of astral discovery by joining a hands-on Discovery Workshop that focuses on the wonder of astronomical complications and the celestial origins of time-keeping – a rare opportunity to gain deep insight and practical experience of this magical world.
The Stellar Odyssey will be presented from Saturday 4th to Thursday 23rd February 2023 at the Dubai Fountain, Downtown Dubai, open daily from 2:00pm to 12.00 am.