Vacheron Constantin launches Metiers d'Art l'Eloge de la Nature
November 6, 2014: Vacheron Constantin celebrates nature through three one-of-a-kind creations driven by an exclusive calibre. Each dial depicts various wild animals captured in their natural environment and testifies to a realistic aesthetic stemming from a collaboration between several master artisans.
Three wild golden-coated mustangs are seen in one of the watches. Through the meticulous precision of his deftly applied skills, the engraver has succeeded in conveying the vivacity of these wild creatures in a pink gold miniature that took three weeks to create and measures less than one mm thick in certain parts! A wood marquetry mountain scene forms the backdrop. A snow-capped peak made of whitened wood lace-work is carved out like a single block, while smaller parts made from a more densely grained type of wood fill in the openworked surfaces, with their greyish veins forming the outlines of the rocky scree slope. This delicate technique involves putting pieces together and features 90 tiny pieces of wood cut out by hand and then fitted together to form the landscape.
In marquetry, the colour palette is composed of various types of rough, stained or lightly burned wood. The fibres and the curves of the material influence the tones of the motif. Walnut, tulip and chestnut wood are some of the types chosen for the quality of their texture. Once the parts are assembled, the resulting decor is polished and varnished before being placed on a gold disc serving as the dial base.
Leaping and bounding down a steep slope, two chamois skip merrily between rocks and residual slabs of snow in the second watch. Once again, the marquetry background lends a poetic touch. Arrayed in pastel shades mingled with immaculate white, as well as slightly flame-singed beige tints to create subtle shading effects, 130 wooden parts are arranged so as to reveal this delightful Alpine scene imbued with supremely luminous delicacy.
The engraver, the guillocheur and the enameller have taken turns in crafting the airy motif of two cranes flying from the East in the third watch. Two elegant cranes are engraved on a pink gold plate as they fly over a vast expanse of water on which the guilloché ripples are accentuated by translucent Grand Feu enamel. The engraver has performed impressive feats in terms of volume, light effects, texture, as well as polished and matt finishes. The 3-dimensional animals are deeply etched into the wood and took a full two weeks to create.
This dial involved two major difficulties for the burin: a champlevé rather than a smoothly level surface; as well as openworked apertures that had to be neatly worked around. The guillochage itself is coated with a peacock-blue translucent Grand Feu enamel. Hand-applying the colourful pigments, melting them at temperatures ranging between 800 to 900°C, followed by glazing to create a translucent brilliance: each of these stages in production comprises a number of unpredictable elements.
Calibre 2460 G4 offers a hand-free reading of time through four apertures respectively revealing the hours, minutes, day and date. These indications – of the trailing type for the hours and minutes and jumping for the day and date – appear through four openings symmetrically arranged around the dial, leaving plenty of space for a central motif. The mechanical self-winding movement beating at a cadence of 28,800 vibrations per hour is equipped with a 22-carat gold oscillating weight adorned with a dynamic geometrical pattern inspired by the brand-emblem Maltese cross. The 237 parts of the movement are housed in an 18K 5N pink gold case with a transparent sapphire crystal caseback providing a chance to admire the fine workmanship of the calibre.