Beautiful Timepieces from Vacheron Constantin at Watches and Wonders Shanghai
This year’s Watches and Wonders Shanghai witnessed the debut of four thrilling timepiece collections from Vacheron Constantin, all of which combine a mastery of time-honoured artisanal craftsmanship with unparalleled technical sophistication.
If you were lucky enough to have attended the Watches and Wonders Shanghai 2023 edition, which ran from September 13 to 17, you would have seen an array of magnificent timepieces from more than a dozen of the watchmaking world’s most renowned names. But if you’re wondering who stole the show, that honour – in the minds of many – went to Vacheron Constantin, who drew back the curtain of four phenomenal horological creations.
The most glamorous timepiece unveiled by Vacheron Constantin at Watches and Wonders Shanghai would have to be the Patrimony. Inspired by classic watches developed by the brand back in the 1950s, it retains the harmonious proportions and pure lines that have characterised the collection since 2004.
The slim 37mm white gold silhouette of the watch comes adorned with 769 round diamonds, while the dial is paved with 420 round diamonds using the very demanding snow-setting technique. The slightly domed dial presents an additional challenge, requiring the gem-setter to exercise tremendous dexterity and patience to obtain a perfectly even surface and stunning brilliance. Topping everything off, slender white gold hour-markers are swept over by dainty leaf-type hands, also in white gold.
Of course, aesthetic elegance and technical refinement go hand in hand, and as such the in-house Calibre 2460 SC/3 confidently marks time with precision and reliability. Finally, the interchangeable alligator leather strap, with an 18k white gold ardillon buckle set with 17 round-cut diamonds, adds a charming versatile touch.
YEAR OF THE DRAGON
The Year of the Dragon will soon be upon us, and Vacheron Constantin is getting ready to celebrate with two ornate self-winding creations featuring this mythic creature. Unveiled at Watches and Wonders Shanghai, both these Métiers d’Art The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac – Year of Dragon timepieces combine the finesse of the master enameller with the delicacy of the master engraver.
The artisan first sculpts the gold dial to create a dreamlike decor of air flows and clouds, against which the dragon stands out in snake-like silhouette. It takes more than three days of work to bring this mystical figurine to life, its body adorned with some 300 scales. The similarly hand-engraved pearl the dragon grasps – synonymous with knowledge, wisdom, and abundance – adds a spiritual dimension to the scene.
Both of these 25-piece limited editions differ in appearance, with the 40mm case in 950 platinum exhibiting a deep blue grand feu enamel dial matched with a blue alligator leather strap, while the 40mm 18k 5N pink gold version features a brown grand feu enamel dial matched with a tone-on-tone alligator leather strap.
TRIBUTE TO EXPLORER NATURALISTS
An ode to exploration, craftsmanship, and the natural world, the four 10-piece limited editions that make up the Métiers d’Art Tribute to Explorer Naturalists collection are dazzling to behold. For this series – all powered by the iconic manufacture Calibre 1120 AT/1 – Vacheron Constantin focuses on the scientific discoveries of the naturalists who travelled the world’s oceans aboard the HMS Beagle in the early 1830s (Charles Darwin being the most famous of the bunch).
These unparalleled timepieces utilise the combined talents of distinguished artisans, most notably the high-precision dexterity of the master engraver, who creates the curves and depth effects of the decoration with a touch accurate to the nearest tenth of a millimetre, and the master enameller, who tames fire as well as pigments to compose miniature masterpieces with the tip of his brush. Four days of toil are needed to bring to life each of the scenes unveiled in the heart of a 41mm white or pink gold case, whose silhouette is distinguished by an extremely slim bezel and screw-topped lugs.
Putting a modern twist on a classical design, Vacheron Constantin has expanded its Traditionnelle collection with two new exceptional models. The 38mm iteration of the series features all the collection’s characteristic design codes, and is immediately recognisable by the slender, stepped case middle and the railway-type minutes track punctuating the dial, swept over by Dauphine-style hands.
The contemporary twist, however, comes in the form of a new green dial with a sunburst finish playing with light effects at every subtle flick of the wrist. On the technical side, the watchmaker has opted for a manual-winding Calibre 4400 AS, endowed with a generous 65-hour power reserve – all of which can be admired through the sapphire caseback, along with the watchmaker’s definitive Côtes de Genève decorative pattern.
A tad flashier is the 33mm model, with its pink gold case and the added radiance of 54 round-cut diamonds delicately set on the bezel. A truly luminous sight, enhanced by a tone-on-tone alligator strap, this stately timepiece is driven by an in-house manual-winding Calibre 1440 with a 42-hour power reserve.
Source: Prestige Online