Editorial : The 12th art ?

Mentioned in the official speech given by Carlo Lamprecht at the 11th Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix in Geneva, on the stage of the city’s Grand Théâtre, the use of the term“12th art” in reference to the art of measuring time deserves special attention. The idea is excellent, but how could it be applied and who should guide such a procedure ? The first seven arts are clearly identified, since the German philosopher Hegel, in his early 19th century classes on aesthetics, defined them according to an order comprising architecture, sculpture, painting, music, dance and poetry, while the French-Italian film critic Ricciotto Cando published a Manifesto for the Seventh Art in 1923. Although not attributed to any one person in particular, the 8th art encompasses photography, radio and television, while we owe the designation of comics as the 9th art to Belgian cartoonist Morris. The somewhat vague definition of the 10th art relates to digital arts, and certain restaurants lay claim to the title of 11th art for the culinary art. From a purely chronological standpoint, the art of time measurement ranks right up there with the earliest art forms, and it certainly deserves its 12th rank. Its origins are believed to date back to the 12th century B.C., when the Babylonians devised an initial representation of the heavenly cycles in terms of 12 months of 30 days each. Time measurement subsequently had a profound influence on the expansion of successive civilisations, from the great maritime conquests to the advent of computer science. The countless existing references to the number 12 include the figure that dominates each watch or clock dial. Officially institution-alising the 12th art should prove an undisputable and unifying endeavour. The initiative might be supported by a foundation (that of the Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix ?) or by a federation (the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry immediately springs to mind, even though other crafts are involved). And why not in conjunction with a watch magazine which is celebrating its 12th anniversary in 2012 ?

Brice Lechevalier is editor-in-chief of GMT and Skippers, which he co-founded in 2000 and 2001 respectively. He has also been CEO of WorldTempus since it joined the GMT Publishing stable, of which he is director and joint shareholder. In 2012 he created the Geneva Watch Tour, and he has been an advisor to the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève since 2011. Also closely involved in sailing, he has published the magazine of the Société Nautique de Genève since 2003, and was one of the founders of the SUI Sailing Awards in 2009 and the Concours d’Elégance for motor boats at the Cannes Yachting Festival in 2015.

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