Jaeger-LeCoultre is harnessing the sun and the stars to shed some light on time measurement and how on earth we did it before we could strap on a wristwatch or glance at our phones. The Stellar Odyssey exhibition is set to run from February 4 to 23 in Dubai before moving on to other world cities. The exhibit takes a deep dive into how astronomical phenomena (i.e. sun, moon, stars) helped us measure time before there were clocks, watches and cell phones. It will cover everything from sundials to chronometers and celestial navigation—charting the position of the stars and the moon—as well as exploring how, once the mechanics of telling time were miniaturized into wristwatches, the sun and the stars were brought back in as decorative and philosophical elements.
“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,” says brand CEO Catherine Rénier in a statement, adding that the exhibit traces “the unbroken line through several millennia to the exceptional legacy of innovation that has driven our Maison for 190 years.”
The Stellar Odyssey offers a chance to glimpse some of the brand’s most complex creations, ranging from simple moon phase displays to perpetual calendars, equation of time, sky charts, and the draconic and anomalistic lunar cycles. It will include the Reverso Hybris Mechanica Caliber 185, a watch with 11 complications on four functioning faces (a first and only in watchmaking), including three displays of lunar information (a Robb Report Best of the Best winner for 2021). A display of Atmos clocks includes the Atmos Hybris Mechanica Caliber 590, which tracks the moon’s daily orbit around Earth and the Earth’s trek around the sun. It will also show watches from Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Made of Makers program, in which it collaborates with artists outside the watch industry. Two will be on hand at the exhibition, including French multi-media artist Guillaume Marmin and mixologist Matthias Giroud, who has created a menu of original soft cocktails inspired by the cosmos for the occasion.
The exhibition will be staged in a pavilion that seems to float on the water of the Dubai Fountain, with the awe-inspiring Burj Khalifa as its backdrop. At the center is a geodesic dome where an immersive digital show features multi-media installations that will take visitors on a virtual journey to the cosmos, transporting them through infinite space and 13.7 billion years of time to reveal the mysteries of the cosmos.