Vacheron Constantin Capturing movement and the choregraphy of time
Since it was founded in 1755, Vacheron Constantin has built its identity on the craft tradition and the pursuit of excellence.
In becoming a patron of the Opéra National de Paris in 2007, Vacheron Constantin chose to provide a uniquely inspirational stage for the artisanal traditions of the Fine Watchmaking artistic crafts known in French as Métiers d’Art. This partnership uniting time, art and culture celebrates the values on which the brand has been built : supporting creativity, openness to the world, sharing a passion, passing on knowledge and the quest for excellence. On the occasion of the tricentenary of the École Française de Danse, Vacheron Constantin unveils the three first one-of-a-kind creations in its new Métiers d’Art Hommage à l’Art de la Danse collection. These creations from the workshops of the Manufacture revisit the ancestral art of Grand Feu grisaille enamelling to highlight the art of classical ballet through several masterpieces by Edgar Degas : Ballet Room at the Opera in Rue le Peletier, 1874, oil on canvas on display at the Musée d’Orsay (Paris, France); Ballet Rehearsal, 1873, oil on canvas exhibited at the Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, United States) ; and Two Dancers on Stage, 1874, oil on canvas on show at the Courtauld Gallery (London, United Kingdom). Chosen by the enameler after extensive research on the dancers’ expression, these paintings represent three key moments in the life of a ballerina : learning, practice and performance.
The finesse of Grand Feu grisaille enamel painting reveals the slightest details of the protagonists : the tiniest fold of the tutus, the lace adorning their décolleté, the smooth velvet of the ribbons encircling their neck, the petals of the flowers in their hair, the transparency of tulle and muslin…Whereas grisaille enamelling is generally applied to black enamel, the House artisan decided to work with a translucent brown enamel base serving to accentuate the depth effect while lending a soft nuance to the painting. After applying this base, the enameler adds touches of Limoges white enamel that is then drawn out using needles, extremely fine brushes and even cactus thorns so as to create graded shades and play on the various pigments. Entirely hand-crafted with infinite patience, meticulous care and intense concentration, this collection of unique pieces “move” to the regular rhythm of the self-winding Caliber 2460, entirely developed and crafted in the Manufacture Vacheron Constantin, which meet the new standards of the Poinçon de Genève (Hallmark of Geneva).
Beyond being an instrument to measure and indicate the time, a Vacheron Constantin watch mirrors the culture of its era and its history. The intense relationship forged between the watch manufacturer and artistic crafts – métiers d’art – is fully expressed in the eponymous collection, which aims to put the fundamental values of Vacheron Constantin in their true perspective. This year, and for the first time in this exceptional collection, a new opus called Métiers d’Art Florilège has been created exclusively for women. This trilogy pays a vibrant tribute to the delicacy of English botanical illustration in the 19th century. The plants, taken from Robert John Thornton’s The Temple of Flora, published in 1799, grow over the dials of watches that combine the artistic crafts of enameling, guillochage and gem-setting. The artwork, reproduced in guilloché engravings and grand feu cloisonné enamels, comes to life in a profusion of colour. Each dial gives an illusion of amazing depth and perspective, highlighted by a bezel set with diamonds.
The three Métiers d’Art Florilège models (Queen, White Lily and China Limodoron) are fitted with mechanical manual-winding caliber 4400, developed and manufactured by Vacheron Constantin and bearing the Hallmark of Geneva. Light moves the Côtes de Genève in waves across the bridges to show off the workmanship that goes into this outstanding caliber. The bridges, baseplate and other components are beveled and decorated by hand on all their surfaces even if they are assembled out of sight. Available in the Vacheron Constantin Boutiques, the latest opus of the Métiers d’Art collection is a limited series of 20 collector’s watches with the bezel set with round-cut diamonds and 5 more with the bezel set with baguette-cut diamonds.
Vacheron Constantin’s tradition as a producer of women’s watches started with the 19th century, when the first pocket-watches especially made for women appeared. One of the first of the Manufacture’s women’s watches was a quarter-repeater produced in around 1810 and which proves that watchmaking complications were not only for men. At the SIHH 2013, Vacheron Constantin showed its determination to dedicate its best work to women by combining the beauty intrinsic in artistic craftsmanship with the technical mastery of the mechanisms of time. The Patrimony Contemporaine presents its ever-round cases with an understatement that has become a byword in the upper echelons of watchmaking. Two versions give free consent to the marriage between style and technique. In the new design, the clean lines of the case are softened by the warmth of pink gold, which goes admirably with the complexion of both models. While one version is paved with almost 800 diamonds, both references give a superb view through the display back of the mechanical self-winding movements that were developed and built in Vacheron Constantin’s workshops, bearing the Hallmark of Geneva.
An exploration of the history of Vacheron Constantin is a voyage of discovery, revealing the excellence of age-old watchmaking. Each timepiece is the result of the creative inspiration of the watchmaker or craftsman, dedicating their knowhow to the birth of outstanding watches. The Manufacture also works within a social and environmental code of ethics, and has had Responsible Jewellery Council certification since 2012.Find out more >
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