Craftmen works by Vacheron Constantin: the Mètiers d’Art Collection

8 January 2014 | ,

It was on the brand’s 250th anniversary in 2005 that a new collection was born—the Métiers d’Arts—to help perpetuate the traditional arts and crafts associated with watchmaking, but also new ones, in celebration of the wonders that can be created by the human hand.

The Les Masques collection of timepieces was presented on 2005,  featuring miniature reproductions of primitive art masks. Every year since, the watch world has waited with bated breath to see what the company would deliver in these seriously limited editions of watches celebrating the rarest of craftsmen. The various collections not only bring arts ranging from Japanese lacquering to gem-setting, guilloché and miniature painting to the space of a watch dial but, in so doing, help to preserve these ultra-rare crafts

In 2010, Vacheron Constantin presented one of many spectacular Métier d’Arts works—the Chagall & l’Opera de Paris. This vividly colored dial was created in grand-feu enamel and was a faithful reproduction of the Opéra national de Paris’s magnificent ceiling that was painted by Chagall in 1964.

To celebrate the tercentennial of the Ecole de Danse Française and the opening of the boutique, Vacheron Constantin unveiled a series of unique timepieces for the Métiers d’Artcollection called Hommage à l’Art de la Danse with three charming scenes of ballerinas produced in grisaille enamel. The scenes are faithful reproductions of three works by Edgar Degas: Ballet Rehearsal, 1873; Ballet Room at the Opera in Rue le Peletier, 1874; and Two Dancers on Stage, 1874. These masterpieces truly capture the grace and poise of ballerinas in the key moments of their daily life: learning, practicing and performing. Vacheron Constanin’s enamel artist chose grisaille enamel to bring the drawings to life. Grisaille is one of the rarest and most complicated forms of enamel, as the artist will start with a dark brown base and then add layer after layer of Limoges white enamel, creating numerous shades of gray through to white, in order to bring the images to life.

With the Kalla collection, Vacheron Constantin presents through each timepiece an extraordinary trilogy – high-tech horology married with the setting of great precious stones and the brightness of noble metal – dedicated to horological virtuosity and the tradition of jewellery making.

The latest opus of the métiers d’Art collection, presented on 2013, is the Florilège that has been created exclusively for women. Based on 19th-century English botanical illustrations, the trilogy utilises the arts of enamelling, guilloché and gem-setting.Left to right: white Lily, Queen and China Limodoron. The Temple of Flora artwork is reproduced in guilloché engravings created by an engine-turner cutting lines a tenth of a millimeter apart; Following engraving, the enameller outlines the shapes of the design with thin gold wire creating individual cells to contain the coloured enamels, a process known as cloisonné. The bezel of each Florilège watch is hand-set with round or baguette diamonds.