A couple of weeks ago, WorldTempus presented The Pearl of Wonders and The Terrestrial Map, two of the three pieces in the Chamber of Wonders collection. We are focusing today on the third and last model: The New World.
From the beginnings of modern cartography, 142 drawings of maps are attributed to Sebastian Münster (1488-1552), a German scholar who moved to Basel following his conversion to Protestantism. His work, Novus Orbis, resembled an encouragement to exploratory voyages, was included in his major work, Cosmographia Universalis, a richly illustrated and detailed cartographic collection. A versatile scholar, this teacher was also a Latin translator, historian, astronomer, and mathematician. Girard-Perregaux has chosen to honor the memory of this man, considered to be one of the major references of modern cartography.
He was supported by over 120 employees to create his masterpiece as he relied on this the contribution of state-of-the-art artisan processes, similar to fine watchmaking today. Like wood engravings of artists of the time: Hans Holbein the younger, Urs Graf, Hans Rudolph Manuel Deutsch, and David Kandel. His style is full of para-geographic information useful to the understanding of the lifestyles of the day. It also offers a serious basis on which to compare the urban evolution of certain large cities. This content is dear to the Brand of La Chaux-de-Fonds, a watchmaking metropolis on the Unesco world heritage list.
The most colorful of the maps contained in La Chambre des Merveilles, it displays creative fields populated with fragments organized into a mosaic. It is made with genuine stone marquetry, blending the tones of blue and pink aventurine, calcite and Canadian nephrite. It takes about 95 hours to make a single dial. The finely selected stones are carved into mini-disks which, at the end of a manual polishing operation, reach 0.50 mm. The cutting and assembly of these micro-stones require extraordinary meticulousness, patience and artistry. The technique gives the impression that the land on the map floats, reinforced by the artist's micro-painting in six different tones.
The 40mm pink gold case is equipped on both faces with sapphire crystals. It houses the automatic movement Girard-Perregaux GP03300-0060, offering a 46-hour power reserve. The pink gold oscillating weight bears a Côtes de Genève decoration. The watch, which comes in a limited edition of only 18 pieces, is fitted with a black alligator leather strap with stitches, and a pink gold pin buckle.
Click on the large image at the top of the page to see more photos.