RIYADH: Luxury Swiss watchmaker Vacheron Constantin is hosting Hekaya 1755, an immersive brand discovery taking place in Diriyah, Riyadh, until March 8.
The watchmaking maison, with nearly 270 years of expertise and continuous history, launched the private event to pay tribute to Saudi Arabia, combining haute watchmaking with Saudi heritage.
The interactive journey invites guests to take a closer look at the leabl’s heritage and craftsmanship through various sections.
“Hekaya” is an Arabic word meaning “tales,” which ties into Vacheron Constantin’s history of crafting luxury timepieces since 1755.
According to organizers, this name encapsulates the purpose of the exhibition as it celebrates the maison’s long-standing relationship with the Kingdom also known as the land of stories due to its rich cultural heritage.
Christophe Ramel, regional director of Vacheron Constantin Middle East, said, “Hekaya 1755 celebrates fine watchmaking and the heritage shared between Vacheron Constantin and Saudi Arabia. Further strengthening the ties with the Kingdom, it provides guests with a deeper understanding of the Maison’s heritage, craftsmanship and technical excellence.”
The exhibit is divided into four areas which tell a story of the maison from different perspectives.
The first room — “What do you see?” — is designed as an art exhibition where technical mastery meets craftsmanship and guests can hold and closely examine the watches alongside Saudi artist Saad Al-Howede’s art pieces.
The artwork reflects a journey of rediscovery of the homeland, from the Bedouin tents and mud houses to the modern urban renaissance and the traditional handcrafted Saudi outwear for men — the bisht with Zari seams.
This room also exhibits a caliber — a manual-winding mechanism — created by Vacheron Constantin at three hundred times its real size. This artwork gives guests the opportunity to visually understand the level of detail and complexity that is applied inside a timepiece.
The second room, “Look Back,” offers a glimpse at the maison’s private museum from 1755 till 2005. It provides an opportunity for guests to discover some of the first timepieces created by the label and some exceptional timepieces produced for Middle Eastern clients.
Some of these pieces include a replica of the first-ever pocket watch by the watch house’s founder Jean-Marc Vacheron in 1755.
Other watches featured belong to the Vacheron Constantin Middle East Heritage collection, such as that made for the king of Saudi Arabia in 1957. Another is a special order made for King Hussein of Jordan in 1990.
The “Look Closer” room provides guests with the opportunity to step into a watchmaker’s world and discover the intricate process of watchmaking.
Master watchermaker Gregory Arnould, who guided the watchmaking process, told Arab News that the process to assemble a watch takes an engineering team of watchmakers.
“Everybody working on a watch have their own specialty. Throughout the process, it takes one watchmaker to make every single movement. From assembly to finishing, and decoration,” he added.
Arnould added that for complicated timepieces, it can take about three months to assemble.
Guests end the tour with a sunset gathering around the bonfire at Diriyah, the heart of Riyadh, with mocktails and canapes to pair.