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In the Workshop of... - Vacheron Constantin, Sculptor of Light

In the Workshop of... Vacheron Constantin, Sculptor of Light

Along with enameling, gemsetting and guilloché work, engraving is one of the four areas of expertise that Vacheron Constantin has housed in its artistic crafts workshop since 2009. Meet these artisans who transform metal into three-dimensional sculptures

T he workbench is cluttered yet perfectly organized. Each tool is in its assigned place: here, a box filled with burins, gravers and onglettes of every imaginable size and shape; there, a large array of cutters, erasers, pompons and abrasive buff sticks; nearby, a 2D drawing to be reproduced in relief on a watch case. And in the center, surmounted by the indispensable binoculars, is a vice holding the gold case of a single-piece edition that the engraver, with a subtle blend of strength and gentleness, is in the process of transforming into a true miniature sculpture. The latter is the operative word, as within the Manufacture's artistic crafts workshop, these experienced artisans work mainly on exceptional timepieces, such a the new Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication – Bacchus watch.

Vacheron Constantin, Sculptor of Light

savoir-faire, Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication – Bacchus © Vacheron Constantin

Nine people work in the calm atmosphere of this small workshop that has occupied a place of its own within the Manufacture since 2009.

Vacheron Constantin, Sculptor of Light

Manufacture © Vacheron Constantin

This single-piece edition combining gemsetting and engraving is a magnificent example of the ancestral expertise cultivated in-house by the Vacheron Constantin artisan. Starting from a two-dimensional drawing, the engraver first reproduces the motif with a metal tracer. The rest of the work consists of sculpting the material with a burin to create the foliage motifs in bas-relief, while creating the recesses intended to accommodate the 113 cabochon-cut rubies that will form the bunches of grapes. On the bezel and caseback, intaglio engraving is used to carve out a vine leaf motif. In the absence of a border, this incredibly regular ornamentation proved particularly complex to achieve. Together, the engraver and gemsetter have devoted more than 300 hours to crafting this precious timepiece, which is like a three-dimensional work of art. This patient and extraordinarily meticulous work is illustrated by the extreme care lavished on details and finishes. No polishing operation is foreseen after the work performed by the engraver, meaning that each piece that leaves the artistic crafts workshop must be perfect – a signature characteristic of Vacheron Constantin.

Vacheron Constantin, Sculptor of Light

Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication – Bacchus © Vacheron Constantin

 

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Focus on Watchmaking Fairs 2022

GMT Magazine n° 76 © GMT Magazine

 

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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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