Vacheron Constantin : Capturing movement and the choreography of time

Métiers d’Art Hommage à l’Art de la Danse

Case : 18K white gold, officer and transparent caseback Diameter : 40mm Movement : self-winding mechanical movement (in-house Caliber 2460, 40h power reserve), 182 components, Poinçon de Genève, oscillating weight in gold with hand-guilloché, haute horlogerie decoration and finish Functions : hours, minutes, seconds Dial : 18 carats gold  with Grisaille and translucent Grand Feu enameling Inspired by  French painter Edgar Degas Water-resistance : 30m Strap : Black Mississippiensis alligator leather strap, hand-stitched, saddle-finish, large square scales with 18K gold buckle Unique pieces : The dance class (86090/000G-9870 ), Ballet Rehearsal (86090/000G-9880), Two dancers on Stage (86090/000G-9881)

Since it was founded in 1755, Vacheron Constantin has built its identity on the craft tradition and the pursuit of excellence.

In becoming a patron of the Opéra National de Paris in 2007, Vacheron Constantin chose to provide a uniquely inspirational stage for the artisanal traditions of the Fine Watchmaking artistic crafts known in French as Métiers d’Art. This partnership uniting time, art and culture celebrates the values on which the brand has been built : supporting creativity, openness to the world, sharing a passion, passing on knowledge and the quest for excellence. On the occasion of the tricentenary of the École Française de Danse, Vacheron Constantin unveils the three first one-of-a-kind creations in its new Métiers d’Art Hommage à l’Art de la Danse collection. These creations from the workshops of the Manufacture revisit the ancestral art of Grand Feu grisaille enamelling to highlight the art of classical ballet through several masterpieces by Edgar Degas : Ballet Room at the Opera in Rue le Peletier, 1874, oil on canvas on display at the Musée d’Orsay (Paris, France); Ballet Rehearsal, 1873, oil on canvas exhibited at the Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, United States) ; and Two Dancers on Stage, 1874, oil on canvas on show at the Courtauld Gallery (London, United Kingdom). Chosen by the enameler after extensive research on the dancers’ expression, these paintings represent three key moments in the life of a ballerina : learning, practice and performance.

The finesse of Grand Feu grisaille enamel painting reveals the slightest details of the protagonists : the tiniest fold of the tutus, the lace adorning their décolleté, the smooth velvet of the ribbons encircling their neck, the petals of the flowers in their hair, the transparency of tulle and muslin…Whereas grisaille enamelling is generally applied to black enamel, the House artisan decided to work with a translucent brown enamel base serving to accentuate the depth effect while lending a soft nuance to the painting. After applying this base, the enameler adds touches of Limoges white enamel that is then drawn out using needles, extremely fine brushes and even cactus thorns so as to create graded shades and play on the various pigments. Entirely hand-crafted with infinite patience, meticulous care and intense concentration, this collection of unique pieces “move” to the regular rhythm of the self-winding Caliber 2460, entirely developed and crafted in the Manufacture Vacheron Constantin, which meet the new standards of the Poinçon de Genève (Hallmark of Geneva).

Beyond being an instrument to measure and indicate the time, a Vacheron Constantin watch mirrors the culture of its era and its history. The intense relationship forged between the watch manufacturer and artistic crafts – métiers d’art – is fully expressed in the eponymous collection, which aims to put the fundamental values of Vacheron Constantin in their true perspective. This year, and for the first time in this exceptional collection, a new opus called Métiers d’Art Florilège has been created exclusively for women. This trilogy pays a vibrant tribute to the delicacy of English botanical illustration in the 19th century. The plants, taken from Robert John Thornton’s The Temple of Flora, published in 1799, grow over the dials of watches that combine the artistic crafts of enameling, guillochage and gem-setting. The artwork, reproduced in guilloché engravings and grand feu cloisonné enamels, comes to life in a profusion of colour. Each dial gives an illusion of amazing depth and perspective, highlighted by a bezel set with diamonds.

The three Métiers d’Art Florilège models (Queen, White Lily and China Limodoron) are fitted with mechanical manual-winding caliber 4400, developed and manufactured by Vacheron Constantin and bearing the Hallmark of Geneva. Light moves the Côtes de Genève in waves across the bridges to show off the workmanship that goes into this outstanding caliber. The bridges, baseplate and other components are beveled and decorated by hand on all their surfaces even if they are assembled out of sight. Available in the Vacheron Constantin Boutiques, the latest opus of the Métiers d’Art collection is a limited series of 20 collector’s watches with the bezel set with round-cut diamonds and 5 more with the bezel set with baguette-cut diamonds.



Vacheron Constantin’s tradition as a producer of women’s watches started with the 19th century, when the first pocket-watches especially made for women appeared. One of the first of the Manufacture’s women’s watches was a quarter-repeater produced in around 1810 and which proves that watchmaking complications were not only for men. At the SIHH 2013, Vacheron Constantin showed its determination to dedicate its best work to women by combining the beauty intrinsic in artistic craftsmanship with the technical mastery of the mechanisms of time. The Patrimony Contemporaine presents its ever-round cases with an understatement that has become a byword in the upper echelons of watchmaking. Two versions give free consent to the marriage between style and technique. In the new design, the clean lines of the case are softened by the warmth of pink gold, which goes admirably with the complexion of both models. While one version is paved with almost 800 diamonds, both references give a superb view through the display back of the mechanical self-winding movements that were developed and built in Vacheron Constantin’s workshops, bearing the Hallmark of Geneva.


Patrimony Contemporaine Lady (ref. 86615/CA2R-9839)

Case : 18K pink gold with diamond-set bezel and lugs (76 round-cut diamonds, 1 ct), transparent caseback Diameter : 36mm Movement : hand-wound mechanical movement (in-house Caliber 2460SC, 40h power reserve), 196 components, Poinçon de Genève, haute horlogerie decoration and finish Functions : hours, minutes, center seconds Dial : fully paved gold dial (606 round-cut diamonds,1.80 ct), convex external zone Water-resistance : 30m Strap : 18K 5N pink gold polished with folding clasp


Patrimony Contemporaine Lady (ref. 85515/CA1R-9840)

Case : 18K pink gold with diamond-set bezel (68 round-cut diamonds, 0.80ct) transparent caseback  Diameter : 36mm Movement : hand-wound mechanical movement (in-house Caliber 2450Q6, 40h power reserve), 196 components, Poinçon de Genève, haute horlogerie decoration and finish Functions : hours, minutes, center seconds and date at 6 o’clock Dial : silvered opaline convex external zone, diamond-set minute track (48 round-cut diamonds, 0.16 ct) Water-resistance : 30mStrap : 18K 5N pink gold polished with folding clasp

Rédacteur en chef des magazines GMT et Skippers dont il est le cofondateur depuis 2000 et 2001, Brice Lechevalier est aussi à la tête de WorldTempus depuis son intégration dans la société GMT Publishing, qu’il dirige en tant que co-actionnaire. Il a par ailleurs créé le Geneva Watch Tour en 2012 et conseille le Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève depuis 2011. Côté nautisme, il édite aussi le magazine de la Société Nautique de Genève depuis 2003, tout en étant membre fondateur des SUI Sailing Awards (les prix officiels de la voile suisse) depuis 2009 et du Concours d’Elégance de bateaux à moteur du Cannes Yachting Festival depuis 2015.

Review overview