Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Vacheron Constantin Métiers D’art L’éloge De La Nature: Swan

Expressing of its tribute to naturalism, Vacheron Constantin presents two new exceptional works of art illustrating the majesty of the swan while enriching the series titled L’Éloge de la Nature.

Extending the naturalist bestiary introduced in 2014 with a first trio of animal-themed watches, two new one-of-a-kind creations frame an exquisite portrayal imbued with romantic lyricism. Unveiled at Watches& Wonders haute horlogerie exhibition in Hong Kong, this pair of timepieces (a ladies’ model with a 39 mm-diameter case and a 42 mm men’s model) reveals the privileged ties Vacheron Constantin enjoys with the decorative arts.

The Manufacture has undeniably contributed to re-enhancing the value of skills that appeared to be doomed to extinction. For the past two decades, the Maison has been devoting great care to perpetuating these highly significant crafts that have shaped its cultural exception. Through its role as art patron, Vacheron Constantin has developed a complex network matched by rare expertise in the art of associating various ornamental styles. L’Éloge de la Nature flamboyantly celebrates the mingling of decorative techniques. Watchmakers and artisans have struck exactly the right balance between impeccable technical sophistication, refined finishing and outstanding creative effort in transforming a classic timepiece into an authentic work of art.
The swan glides majestically over the crystalline waters of Lake Geneva, tiny droplets from the Jet d’eau sliding across its immaculate white plumage and head held high atop a supple neck radiating a powerful aura of nobility. Feathers unfurled and wings spread, ready to embrace its beloved, this luminous water bird embodies the universal symbol of eternal love and its almost angelic profile evokes a sense of purity and delicacy. Vacheron Constantin reproduces this exquisite gracefulness on two distinctively graphic dials highlighting each beautiful detail of the swan: a white gold palmiped set with round-cut diamonds and spreading its wings on a finely guilloché, enamelled stretch of water. A glowing tribute to the shores of Lake Geneva and the city where the Manufacture was born.

Engraver, guillocheur, enameller and gem-setter: four artisans have in turn devoted their endeavours to this dial. Achieving such a spectacular result called for a certain vision as well as intense imagination. A flurry of furthers, a daintily curved neck, a shining beak, a gleaming eye, shimmering wavelets, a pristine blue sky: each detail is so accurate that one can almost feel the soft breeze and hear the gentle lapping of the water. Two months of work have been lavished on crafting the dials.
The composition of this poetic creation begins with delicate hand engraving on an 18-carat white gold plate. Volumes, recessed and raised areas, texture and light effects: each millimetre is the object of a deliberate creative approach. To attain such a superlative degree of refinement, the engraver has developed his own tools, all the while imagining distinctive and appropriate techniques designed to guarantee the eagerly anticipated result. After drawing the outlines of the bird, the artisan fashions the feathers one by one. The sharp graving tool incises the material, forming a herringbone pattern on the men’s model and a more curved motif on the ladies’ version. The engraver’s dexterity gives each feather a distinctive satin-brushed and polished finish.

The swan spreads its wings above a stretch of water depicting a gentle ripple motif. Above it, a gentle ‘visual breeze’ ruffles the dial through the work of the guillocheur. The artisan has traced narrow geometrical grooves on the already-decorated dial, meaning he had to carefully adjust his rose engine lathe so as not to damage the tiny gold filaments. Even though certain guilloché areas are extremely narrow, his graving tool has always found its way into microscopic nooks and crannies without straying out of the appointed zone. These are extremely accurate and skilled moves of the kind only an experienced hand can perform.

The guilloché motifs are coated with a translucent Grand Feu enamel, sky blue for the ladies’ version and night blue for the men’s model. The “Limoges white” enamelling is applied to the upper part of the engraved feathers so as to accentuate their luminosity.

76 baguette-cut diamonds adorning the bezel and lugs frame the naturalist scene. The gently rounded curves of the swan’s body are paved with snowset round-cut diamonds. The base of the swan’s wings is diamond-paved, with each feather delineated by a fine gold line. This fascinating light-based craftsmanship endows the bird with an inimitable aura of natural majesty.

The mechanical movement Caliber 2460 G4 provides a spacious playground by entirely freeing up the dial centre in order to provide scope for the artistic crafts. In keeping with its rich tradition of original and varied displays, Vacheron Constantin perpetuates the watchmaking art by offering an ingenious hand-free visualisation of time. This is achieved through four apertures respectively showing the hours, minutes, day and date. The indications – the first two of the dragging or trailing type and the last two of the jumping variety – appear through these windows regularly placed around the rim of the dial and leaving plenty of space for a central motif.

Beating at a frequency of 4 Hz (28,800 v.p.h.), the mechanical self-winding movement is equipped with a 22-carat gold oscillating weight adorned with a dynamic geometrical shape inspired by Vacheron Constantin’s signature Maltese Cross emblem. Its 237 parts are graced with exceptional finishes. The movement is protected by an 18-carat white gold case with a transparent back providing a chance to admire the fine workmanship inside. A Mississippiensis alligator leather strap secured by an 18-carat white gold folding clasp shaped like a half Maltese Cross sets the perfect finishing touch.

These one-of-a-kind creations bear the prestigious Hallmark of Geneva, the highest reference in the realm of Haute Horlogerie, duly certifying the quality, craftsmanship and reliability of these exceptional timepieces made in Geneva. Their singularity is also emphasised by the inscription “Pièce unique” engraved on the caseback.

Métiers d’Art L’éloge de la nature – SWAN (Gent’s)
Reference: 86677/000G-B116
Hallmark of Geneva certified timepiece
Movement
Caliber 2460 G4
Developed and manufactured by Vacheron Constantin
Mechanical, self-winding
31 mm (11’’’¼) diameter, 6.05 mm thick
Approximately 40 hours of power reserve
4Hz (28,800 vibrations/hour)
237 components
27 jewels

Indications
Hours, minutes, day of the week (in English) and date in apertures

Case
Diamond-set 18K white gold (76 baguette-cut diamonds)
42 mm diameter, 12.8 mm thick
Transparent sapphire crystal caseback
Water-resistance tested at a pressure of 3bar (approx.30meters)

Dial
18K white gold
Dark blue Grand Feu champlevé enamelling and hand guillochage
Diamond-set 18K white gold swan (432 round-cut diamonds), snow setting on the body of the swan, hand-engraved feathers, Limoges white enamelling on translucent Grand Feu enamelling

Strap
Dark blue Mississippiensis alligator leather with alligator leather inner shell, hand-stitched, saddle-finish, large square scales
Clasp: 18K white gold triple-blade folding clasp, Polished half Maltese cross-shaped

Accessories
Delivered with a corrector pen and a magnifying glass

Total diamond-setting
76 baguette-cut and 432 round-cut diamonds, total weight of approx. 6.1 carats

Unique piece
« Pièce Unique », « Les Cabinotiers » and blazon « AC » engraved on the caseback

Métiers d’Art L’éloge de la nature – SWAN (Ladies’)
Reference: 86675/000G-B115
Hallmark of Geneva certified timepiece
Movement
Caliber 2460 G4
Developed and manufactured by Vacheron Constantin
Mechanical, self-winding
31 mm (11’’’¼) diameter, 6.05 mm thick
Approximately 40 hours of power reserve
4Hz (28,800 vibrations/hour)
237 components
27 jewels

Indications
Hours, minutes, day of the week (in English) and date in apertures

Case
Diamond-set 18K white gold (76 baguette-cut diamonds)
39 mm diameter, 12.6 mm thick
Transparent sapphire crystal caseback
Water-resistance tested at a pressure of 3bar (approx.30 meters)

Dial
18K white gold
Light blue Grand Feu champlevé enamelling and handguillochage
Diamond-set 18K white gold swan (322 round-cut diamonds), snow setting on the body of the swan, hand-engraved feathers, Limoges white enamelling on translucent Grand Feu enamelling

Strap
Dark blue Mississippiensis alligator leather, large square scales, stitched-tip
Clasp: 18K white gold triple-blade folding clasp, Polished half Maltese cross-shaped

Accessories
Delivered with a corrector pen and a magnifying glass

Total diamond-setting
76 baguette-cut and 322 round-cut diamonds, total weight of approx. 4.9 carats

Unique piece
« Pièce Unique », « Les Cabinotiers » and blazon « AC » engraved on the caseback

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