The Timepiece: An Intimate And Intricate Art Form

Feb 11, 2014

pocket watch with heart design
One of the watches from Renau's collection, exhibited at the Kimball Arts Center in Park City.
Credit Karol Renau

The Kimball Art Center located in Park City, Utah will present an unprecedented exhibit entitled “The Art of the Timepiece.” The collection owned by part-time Park City resident Karol Renau has never been shown publicly in this way.

Nearly 200 watches, clocks, and timepieces of every kind will be on display, showcasing the intimate and intricate art and science of watchmaking. Native-born Polish photographer and electrical engineer Karol Renau first began collecting, then fixing watches which introduced him to their fine inner workings.

“It is absolutely a hidden art because if you open some of these watches and look inside, it is absolutely stunning. There are such beautiful engravings and there are such artistic pictures inside. It’s absolutely amazing. For me it was almost like a discovery,” Renau said.

Throughout our history, Renau says, humans have always been fascinated by the concept of time and becoming masters of it.  From the rudimentary Egyptian shadow clocks to today’s ultra-accurate atomic watches, our quest for excellence in timekeeping has had a profound impact on the framework of life and society.

“Well for example the kids now at this time they never see any mechanical equipment anymore. They’re not seeing mechanical watches. This thing is pretty much non-existent. Everybody has their iPhones or regular phones and I don’t see many people even carrying watches at all,” he said.

Exhibitions director Anne Braic said the Kimball Art Center education department goes to great lengths to make sure everyone gets involved.

“Our education department does school tours not only at the Kimball itself, where they obviously have a portion of the tour which is an informational tour of the exhibit, but then they do an art project that’s tied to the concept,” Braic said.

This exhibit opened Feb. 8 and will run through April 6, 2014.