In the world of horology Vacheron Constantin are established advocates of traditional applied arts, and each year new models created for their Métiers d’Art collection offer those who view them an opportunity to be enthralled at the level of craftsmanship involved. The latest addition to this exquisite lineage is a highly exclusive tribute to another artistic expression – that of ballet, so exclusive in fact, only three models will ever be made.
Vanguards of the Industry
Visitors at Baselworld this year cannot have failed to notice that artisan dials are very much back on trend, but it was not always so. The techniques of enamelling, hand-guilloché, cloisonné enamelling, champlevé enamelling and complex gem-setting could have so easily been lost had it not been for some vanguards of the industry – Vacheron Constantin included, who stubbornly and resolutely continued to give attention to these traditional skills, keeping wristwatches with artisan dials in their portfolios, and the independent artists who have the skills to produce them, in employment.
For some companies, a highly artistic watch dial will compensate for a lack of watchmaking prowess – when a watch dial has an achingly beautiful hand-painted dial no one will notice the absence of a tourbillon or other such paraphernalia, so high complications are not a necessity. For other brands, such a genre offers the added potential for sales by tapping-in to lucrative themes such as the Chinese New Year editions, without the need for Haute Complications – and, with a highly decorative watch dial, the covetable adage “in-house” becomes less important.
Simplicity and Beauty
With their Métiers d’Art collections, Vacheron Constantin have amazed and astounded us all by what it is possible to create in the confines of a watch dial. Their Les Univers Infinis series with its tessellation technique had a repeating pattern of rich tones, their Maki-e dials for La Symbolique des Laques followed the ancient art of Japanese lacquering and their Chagall and l’Opéra de Paris models reproduced the artwork found on the 220 sq metre ceiling of the Paris Opéra onto a watch dial with striking accuracy.
Unlike previous models, the Hommage à l’Art de la Danse does not have a colourful dial, but features an 18kt gold dial with translucent enamel and Grand Feu “Grisaille” technique, so is entirely monochrome. Perhaps this should result in a less compelling artwork but to the contrary, it has a simplicity which only serves to heighten the miniature artwork which pays tribute to Edgar Degas, an artist with a superior skill for capturing the graceful movements of a ballerina and who could translate it on to canvas to great effect.
Vacheron Constantin Hommage a l’art de la danse – A Truly Exclusive Trio
There will be just three pieces in this series, each one based on different aspects of a ballerina’s life – learning, training and performance. Each piece has an 18k white gold case measuring 40mm across and is powered by the Swiss automatic Vacheron Constantin in-house calibre 2460 sc bearing the Geneva Hallmark. An inscription on the case back, “N°1/1” affirms the exclusivity of each model in this superior trio. Price is 120,000 EUR.