Time in the feminine mode, inspired by the world’s finest ornaments
The new Métiers d’Arts Fabuleux Ornements collection is an irresistible invitation to embark on a journey celebrating the ornamental beauties of the world drawn from the decorative arts of several cultures. Inspired by dreams of faraway places and by the open-minded approach to the world consistently cultivated by Vacheron Constantin, it unveils four ladies’ models born of the art of openworking and a combination of artistic crafts. Ten different master artisans have taken turns in providing talented reinterpretations of Ottoman architecture, Chinese embroidery, Indian manuscripts and French lacework. These exquisitely feminine creations are equipped with an ethereal hand-engraved calibre echoing the precious dial ornamentation and enshrining a subtle blend of inner and outer beauty.
Journey to the heart of technical and precious ornamentation
One of the most fascinating facets of a woman’s nature is her ability to reinvent herself while remaining keenly attentive to the world around her and its manifold cultures. Vacheron Constantin has repeatedly exercised boundless creative freedom through incredible creations dedicated to women. These naturally include wristwatches, but prior to that there were richly ornamented pocket watches worn on sautoir necklaces, suspended from a chain in chatelaine mode, pinned to a dress or hidden inside a brooch. All of them call upon the imagination nurtured by the artisans of the Manufacture – master-watchmakers as well as engravers, enamellers, guillocheurs, jewellers and gem- setters – in order to meet the expectations of an ever more discerning clientele.
The Métiers d’Art Fabuleux Ornements watches invite women to rediscover the beauty of the ornaments of the world, beating to the rhythm of a precious and technical watch calibre. China and its ancient embroideries, India and its colourfully illustrated manuscripts, the Ottoman empire and its architecture, France and its lacework: all are sources of inspiration conveying their art through gossamer-light compositions exalted by the artisans of the Manufacture. Guillochage, Grand Feu enamel, diamonds, pearls and mother-of-pearl, as well as engraving, glyptics and gemstone cloisonné effects: traditional arts at the crossroads between various cultures spring to life, in step with the oscillations of an exquisitely airy hand-engraved calibre.
A precious openworked calibre: when a mechanism becomes an adornment as fine as ornaments themselves
“No external grace is complete if it is not vivified by inner beauty”. These words written by Victor Hugo are perfectly echoed in the Métiers d’Art Fabuleux Ornements collection, in which the openworked and engraved calibre makes a perfect match for the dial ornamentation.
A masterful demonstration of Vacheron Constantin’s expertise in the field of decoration, the openworking of the ultra-slim Calibre 1003 in 18K gold – a mere 1.64 mm thin – transform it into an incredible lacework of engraved wheel trains. The feat consists in withdrawing a maximum of material without affecting the vital parts that ensure the smooth running of the watch. Setting the final touch to the work, all the bridges are hand-drawn with a file, while every single part is patiently hand-chamfered, decorated and fashioned in traditional manner to form an ideally feather-light composition. The finesse of the front-facing décor is precise to the nearest tenth of a millimetre, while on the back Vacheron Constantin has opted for an exclusively chamfered and hand-drawn finish that preserves a pure, restrained appearance.
The art and technique of openworking
Far more than a mere object of mechanical excellence indicating the time, a timepiece by Vacheron Constantin is by essence destined to be a full-fledged work of art capable of revealing all the beauty of unique expertise enriched by over 260 years of history. Ever since its founding in 1755, the Manufacture has consistently enhanced the beauty of its creations through artistic crafts exercised by skilled artisans. Hand engraving is one such technique. A demanding art calling for exceptional patience and dexterity, it was used right from the start as a means of achieving ethereal lightness. The first watch created by Jean-Marc Vacheron in 1755 already featured an openworked and engraved balance-cock. The quest for transparency then continued, with increasingly finely fashioned mechanical parts, leading to the creation in 1924 of the first entirely openworked calibre beating at the heart of a pocket watch. A past master in the practice of this extremely intricate discipline, Vacheron Constantin has given free rein to its creativity, progressively openworking both simple and complicated calibres, associating them according to its inspiration with other artistic crafts, and interpreting these miniature marvels both on pocket-watches and wristwatches from the 1960s onwards.
Not content with being one of the rare manufacturers capable of openworking such complex calibres as minute repeaters, perpetual calendars and tourbillons, Vacheron Constantin once again pushes the boundaries of its art by reinventing both the technique itself and the aesthetic codes governing it. The engraving thus becomes a sculpture, as the straight lines morph into interlacing curves, while the watch parts become architectural works creating mesmerising light effects.
The all-important initial touch of the watchmaker While openworking is a purely aesthetic approach in itself, it nonetheless induces additional complexity at each stage compared with a solid calibre. Everything begins with a lengthy consideration of the movement that is to be openworked as much as possible so as to reveal its inner beauty. This calls upon the full wealth of experience of the finest master-watchmakers, since it involves achieving a subtle balance between hollowing out as much of the material as possible, while ensuring that the calibre remains perfectly functional. The conceptualisation, design and modelisation phases take several hundred hours, a figure that increases in step with the level of sophistication of the calibre, particularly in terms of complications.
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- 33580/000G-9903 – French lace
- 33580/000R-9904 – Chinese embroidery
- 33580/000R-9906 – Ottoman architecture
- 33580/000R-9959 – Indian manuscript
- Hallmark of Geneva certified timepieces
- Only available in Vacheron Constantin Boutiques
- Developed and manufactured by Vacheron Constantin
- Mechanical, manual-winding
- 21.1 mm (9 ’’’ ¼) diameter
- 1.64 mm thick
- Approximately 31 hours power reserve
- 2.5Hz (18’000 vibrations/hour)
- 117 components
- 18 jewels
Indications Hours, minutes
- 18K white / 18K 5N pink gold
- Diamond-set bezel (64 round-cut diamonds, total weight of approx. 0.89 carat)
- French lace and Chinese embroidery: diamond-set ring (60 round-cut diamonds, total weight of approx. 0.20 carat)
- Ottoman architecture: knurled ring
- Indian manuscript: polished ring
- 37 mm diameter, 8.00 mm thick
- Transparent sapphire crystal caseback
- Water-resistance tested at a pressure of 3 bar (approx. 30 meters)
- French lace: Hand-guilloché and translucent Grand Feu enamelling, openworked 18K gold plate, setting of blue and pink sapphire & diamonds (13 sapphires, total weight of approx. 0.06 carat & 40 round-cut diamonds, total weight of approx. 0.13 carat)
- Chinese embroidery: Hand-engraving stone-cloisonné (pink opale), glyptic of ruby, garnet and cuprite (total weight of approx. 1.40 carat)
- Ottoman architecture: White mother-of-pearl under an openworked 18K gold plate, hand-chamfered and adorned with applied half-pearls
- Indian manuscript: Grand Feu champlevé enamelling and hand-engraving
Strap Purple / burgundy / black / blue Mississippiensis alligator leather, stitched-tip, square scales
- 18K white gold / 18K 5N pink gold
- Diamond-set half Maltese cross-shaped buckle (21 round-cut diamonds, total weight approx. 0.21 carat)