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Vacheron Constantin - Métiers d’Art Copernicus Celestial Spheres 2460 RT

Vacheron Constantin Métiers d’Art Copernicus Celestial Spheres 2460 RT

Presented at SIHH 2017, this 3 new pieces collection is inspired by Nicolas Copernicus and the history of the great astronomical discoveries.

The artistic mastery of Vacheron Constantin’s master-artisans is fully expressed through this new collection. The Manufacture has chosen the simplicity of a white gold case to set the scene for the astronomical world according to Nicolas Copernicus. With its original display and spectacular decoration, this collection pays tribute to one of humankind’s greatest discoveries: heliocentrism.

Nicolas Copernicus was a mathematician and philosopher, who published in 1543 “De revolutionibus orbium coelestium”, a work heralding a major astronomical revolution in the history of science. His hypothesis challenged geocentrism, the cosmological system rooted in antiquity which held that the Earth is immobile and located at the centre of the universe. In this book, Copernicus put forward the theory of heliocentrism, demonstrating not only that the Earth spins on its axis and has a satellite, the moon, but above all that it gravitates around the sun. Vacheron Constantin pays homage to these emblematic discoveries that definitively changed the face of the world.

The Manufacture has dreamed up three dials with different interpretations of the same theme. These dials comprise two distinct parts. The oval centre bears a sun with a glowing hand-engraved pink gold face, while the outer disc is dedicated to three decorative craft variations. Between the two, a tiny elliptical groove provides space to display orbit performed by the Earth. The latter is represented by a tiny gold disc, slightly domed and measuring barely 6.8 mm diameter, featuring a polar view of the continents based on a Lambert conic map projection.

Métiers d’Art Copernic Sphères Célestes 2460 RT

The first model of this trio gives pride of place to various enamelling techniques. The champlevé Grand Feu enamel Earth reveals the blue of the oceans and the geography of the continents, an authentic technical feat when portrayed on such a scale. In the background, a map of the sky on a gold base is enamelled in pastel colours. It is punctuated by fine lines illustrating the orbit of the five planets shown. Each of these heavenly bodies, represented by a star, is mentioned by its Latin name, as are the two solstices. The outer part of the dial bears the 12 zodiac signs in polychrome enamel. This dial required more than a month’s work and numerous firings until 850°C before being smoothed with an abrasive stone, lapped and polished.

The second dial, graced with a more baroque-inspired aesthetic, is hand-engraved. The 12 signs of the zodiac intertwine and overlap on a white gold disc. The engraver has provided a wealth of ramolayé (pounced ornament) details, highlighting volumes in the material carved out by hand and lit up by the subtle interplay of slanting and depth effects. On the Earth orbiting around a flaming gold sun, the finesse of details has been pushed to extremes: the oceans are covered with microscope waves achieved by engraving effects, while the contrasting continents are polished to accentuate the luminosity of the gold.

Métiers d’Art Copernicus Celestial Spheres 2460 RT

The third dial is adorned with decorative techniques involving several new aspects. To accompany this dance of Earth and sun, the zodiac signs are complemented by a 3D-effect star-studded sky. The Earth is hand-engraved and picks up this contrast between the fine graining of the ocean waves and the brilliant glow of the continents. A hand-painted midnight blue underdial is overlaid with a transparent sapphire crystal engraved on its back. The innovative laser technique is used to sculpt the symbols. The engraver then works them over entirely by hand in order to accentuate the raised motifs and play with the opalescent effects of sapphire. On the front, the constellations are laser-engraved and then highlighted with Super-Luminova®.

Métiers d’Art Copernicus Celestial Spheres 2460 RTThese Hallmark of Geneva certified timepieces house a mechanical self-winding Manufacture made movement, the calibre 2460 RT. Entirely designed, developed and created by Vacheron Constantin in a three-year process, it provides the possibility of staging the fascinating view of the sky reproducing the heliocentric system. The time is displayed by two triangular peripheral, a cut-out one for the hours and a solid one for the minutes that glide around the dial rim.

The key highlight of this watch is the elliptical path of the Earth around the sun that provides continuous information as the days go by. The first complication takes the form of the Earth that spins on its axis in a 24-hour rotation period, corresponding to a mean solar day. The second complication achieved by means of a ‘tropical’ gear train is the Earth’s elliptical orbit around the sun in 365.2421898 days, meaning one tropical year. An extremely precise mechanism, since the device operating this realistic motion of the Earth requires a one-day correction only once in 8,000 years.

The gold oscillating weight appearing on the back of the watch and protected by a sapphire crystal features an engraving on the same theme: a radiant Sun surrounded by ellipses. This 352-part self-winding calibre has a 36–hour power reserve. Twelve stylised zodiac signs are engraved around the rim of the 43 mm-diameter bezel. All functions – the hours, the minutes, as well as the two motions performed by the Earth – are adjusted via the crown. The three models are fitted with an alligator leather strap secured by a gold buckle.

 

The brand

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.

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