Vacheron Constantin hosts an exhibition of historical timepieces
June 25, 2014: Offering an authentic journey across continents, Vacheron Constantin is hosting a themed exhibition dedicated to the history of horological adornments. It showcases around 40 historical models – chosen from the 1,200 composing the private collection of the Manufacture – illustrating various major artistic movements.
On the first floor of Maison Vacheron Constantin, on Quai de l’Ile in Geneva, display windows are organised around four different universes: the East, Greece, Europe, and finally the open worked architecture of the late 19th century. Wristwatches, but above all pocket watches, highlight beauty and finesse of that era. While the various enamelling techniques play a role worthy of the complexity involved in applying them, engraving, guillochage, gemsetting and glyptic art are also well represented.
The visit begins in the East, with India and a delicate champlevé enamel pocket watch dating from 1831, inspired by the flamboyant style of an enamelled floral tapestry. A little further on, one discovers the splendours of Ottoman decors with an 1824 pocket watch featuring a case richly adorned with an exuberantly chased floral motif enhanced with appliques engraved using the pounced ornament technique and embellished with turquoises and amethysts – composing a dense yet subtle ornamentation. Still in Asia, blossoming cherry tree spreads its branches across a very light green jade case studded with a few diamonds.
Taking the viewer to ancient Greece, in 1921, the artisans of Vacheron Constantin notably reproduced a central champlevé enamel motif depicting Hermès on his chariot, rimmed with a Hellenistic-style frieze. On another creation, platinum lacework criss-crosses the translucent enamel protecting a hand-guilloché décor.
The exhibition ends with a series of skeleton watches representing a reference to industrial architecture. Metal and transparency, finesse and airiness: ultra-thin calibres are hollowed out to retain only essentials and to allow the light to shine through.
“Travels & Adornments” presents 47 miniature works of art until the end of October 2014.
Coordinates: Maison Vacheron Constantin, 7 Quai de l’Ile, 1204 Geneva