She sets out at dawn, with an entire city to discover in a single day. Her schedule is full. The museum of history, the museum of art, the city centre monuments, the view from the top of a skyscraper, a meal in a typical old quarter restaurant… and that ’s just part of her itinerary.
With all of her destinations marked on her tourist map like a constellation of jewels, she finds her – self i n the street outside her hotel , impatient to embark on her journey of discovery. The Tonda Métropolitaine on her wrist shows 07:08; she starts walking.
After just a few metres, a window grabs her attention: local life painted by street artists. The exhibit ion has only just opened; she hesitates… can she afford to deviate from her itinerary? Probably not. The Tonda Métropolitaine shows 07:12. Her indecision has already cost her 2 minutes… finally her curiosity get s the better of her and she heads inside the lit t le museum. One hour later she emerges, her head full of questions and her curiosity more alive than ever.
Yet, if she were to keep to her schedule, she really should be heading to her second museum of the day. She tries to find her way back to the main tourist drag, but again she stops: a hidden church, a little marvel tucked away on the corner of the street. Gothic? Roman? Impossible to say. She disappears inside to find out. Emerging in a state of wonder, already she knows she’ll be distracted by yet another treasure in a matter of seconds. She has given up trying to resist her curiosity; her original itinerary seems distant and irrelevant. 10:30, according to her Tonda Métropolitaine. 11:00… midday… 14:00… what does it matter?
She’s unstoppable. Hidden arcades, charming fountains, little cafés and hideaways, musicians, flea markets, building façades , bazaars… Riches everywhere she turns. So afraid is she of missing something that she devours this microcosm of the giant city with her eyes, a s if tomorrow she might wake up blind.
Her Tonda Métropolitaine shows 5pm – suddenly it’s time to think about catching her plane. Turning around, she is stunned to realise that she is 500 metres from her hotel. She hasn’t even left the district where she started. Dazed, a little confused, almost disappointed, part of her refuses to believe it.
Has she really made so little progress? Can it really be already 5pm? She stares intently at the amarante dial of her Tonda Métropolitaine. As she does so, to her surprise it begins to change. The dial is not only amarante, she realises; it is filled with a myriad of little waves which illuminate the piece and contrast with the matt surface of the small second circle. She also notices that the circle is surrounded by a fine gold ring of barely a hair’s breadth – something she had previously missed. Finally, she observes that the numerals that have punctuated her day are slightly raised, with a rounded form that pleases her eye. All this beauty, so close yet unobserved. She had never taken the time to notice it .
She smiles as she ponders her day, her journey of 500 metres which took in no skyscrapers, no official museums, no imperial monuments, no chic restaurants. And yet, she reflects, she didn’t miss a single part of the real spectacle, the true hidden beauty visible to those who really look. She turns around, feeling suddenly lighter.