Riviera Reverie: A Visit To Monaco’s ART in TIME Gallery
ART in TIME is the French Riviera’s top destination for independent haute horology watches.
It's undeniable, the interest in independent fine watchmaking brands is increasing among collectors. Still, their distribution remains a challenge between big name mono-brand boutiques and multi-brand retailers under pressure. Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, CEO of Chopard, has created a new concept, meaningful and full of emotions, to reflect the values of independent High Horology.
Right in the heart of Monte Carlo, on the famous Place du Casino, the concept was unveiled: ART in TIME. A welcoming space made of glass and wood. It blends transparency and warmth, openness and intimacy, creativity and innovation. It offers the perfect setting to bring the attention it deserves to niche independent watchmaking.
A response to a need
Every independent brand faces the same challenge: creating distribution alone is tough and traditional networks often fall short of delivering the adequate environment to present the singularity of each particular brand. M. Scheufele quickly experienced this phenomenon, “With La Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud, we realized that even having won the prestigious Aiguille d'Or at the GPHG in 2016, reaching out to the world was not an easy task for a niche Haute Horology brand. Digital helps by offering some visibility, but such timekeepers need the implication of senses and emotions. Finding a sustainable solution alone appeared complex”.
Exchanging with others at the Carré des Horlogers of the SIHH, it became evident that no platform was solely dedicated to this oh-so particular horology existed. This was when the idea for ART in TIME was born. From discussions to brainstormings – in which Max Büsser, among others, participated – the concept matured. Human relations and convergence of values like independence, creativity, and boldness finalized the choice of the eight maisons embodying the offer of this first gallery dedicated to the Art of expressing the passing of Time. Ferdinand Berthoud, L.U.Chopard, Greubel Forsey, L’Épee, MB&F, Ressence, Florian Schlumpf, and Urwerk compose the exceptional selection to transmit the passion of this Haute horology and its artistic message.
Exclusivity in an exceptional setting
The address itself is as exclusive as it gets: at the center of the just inaugurated "One Monte Carlo" complex. The gallery is uncluttered to let the light shine only on the art pieces on view. Elegant glass stands display present each timekeeper individually. Watch aficionados, collectors, and mechanical art objects lovers can marvel at the exceptional pieces from every angle. Their singularity is highlighted. But still, a sense of balance and coherence emerges. The profusion of creativity gives birth to harmony at ART in TIME. The first challenge is met with flying colors!
Undeniable advantages for all
As Karl-Friedrich Scheufele underlines: “Not only the concept of a gallery dedicated exclusively to niche haute horology does not really exist. Furthermore, the geographical situation of ART in TIME fills a void in this region where countless collectors spend time or even live." Every CEO present agreed, such a dedicated offering on the Côte d'Azur is excellent news. They stress even more the atmosphere created in such a gallery. Charris Yadigaroglou from MB&F summarized it perfectly: “The gallery becomes a coherent space, where credibility is heightened. It is auspicious to unveil this particular universe". Martin Frei, the co-founder of Urwerk, concurs: "ART in TIME is the best environment possible to educate enlightened amateurs." The international director of Ressence, Gaëtan Gaye stresses further: "When Scheufele explained the concept, we felt honored. The expertise level of the gallery is incredible. All factors are met to create an outstanding promotion platform: an out-of-this-world location, in an under-developed region for independent brands, with a dedicated team of passionate people.”
A great challenge
All the lights are green. But the challenge to be met is to make sure you have the right, highly educated, staff to answer any questions on every brand, know their history and their specificities. Independent niche brands are all about passion, and this must be the first quality conveyed in such a place. The excellence of the time-keepers presented has to be echoed by the staff. Chopard’s world retail director, Maxime Labey, confirms: “Yohann Martinez, our assistant manager at ART in TIME, has extensive knowledge of independents. He is a true passionate spirit, and his enthusiasm is contagious”. Another important box ticked.
A long-term quest
For years, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele has been multiplying initiatives aiming at the preservation of watchmaking patrimony: the L.U.CEUM in Fleurier and Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud in 2013. ART in TIME is a new altruistic step that comes to further develop this niche independent Haute Horology by becoming an ultra-specialized multi-brand retailer. Is this the beginning of a long series of openings of ART in TIME galleries? Most certainly not as exclusivity and rarity are quintessential to this region of watchmaking.
But the transmission of the values and the passion it generates among collectors inevitably calls for one or two more of these rare gems' galleries in strategic spots of the world. Beginnings in Monte Carlo are promising. From here forward, ART in TIME’s numerous time measuring art pieces will put Monaco on the map.