A rare piece of history is currently on display at the Institute of Contemporary Indian Art in Kala Ghoda. At an exhibition titled, A Journey into the time of Maharajas, one can not only get a glimpse into the finery of early twentieth century maharajas through rare photographs on show, but also view the priceless timepieces worn by the royals.In a collaboration with art organisation Tasveer, Vacheron Constantin, the world's oldest Swiss Haute Horlogerie watch manufacturer is displaying two rare watches that belonged to Sir Bhupindra Singh, Maharaja of Patiala. These include a 1916 women’s watch featuring intricate engravings and a 1909 pocket watch, which has an alarm and chronograph with a minute counter, worn by the Patiala royalties. The watches have been brought to Indian from the Geneva museum where they are currently housed. Some of the original photographs on display are almost a century-old.
"Last year, we started the process of looking for various associations in India that promote art. After a long search we found Tasveer, which promotes photography as an art. We sat together and found a lot of similarities between them and us," says Yassin Tag, who is currently representing the watchmaker in India. Adds Tag, "Our association with India dates back to 1849, when we first received a letter from a merchant in Calcutta. The grandson of our founder, Jon Roux, spent three years, from 1869 to 1872, in Bombay. He used to map the markets looking for business. He came back to Geneva with numerous orders. The exhibition, which was first flagged off in New Delhi, is on in Mumbai till October 29. Thereafter it will be in exhibit at Tasveer galleries in in Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Kolkata.