The theme of Métiers d’Art is a recurrent one within Vacheron Constantin. They have truly proven to be a master at this series. We were totally bowled over by the Marc Chargall Paris Opera Series when it was launched. And we were enchanted with the Savoirs Enlumines Series. And this series of Sartorial Elegance series just launched, in collaboration with the old Italian fabric house of Vitale Barberis Canonico. Introducing a new range of watches: the Vacheron Constantin Métiers d’Art Elégance Sartoriale.
As we are also keen enthusiasts in the art of masculine sartorial elegance, we are particularly excited with this series. Vacheron Constantin’s intention for this collection is an effort to combine the work of VC’s Master Enameller and Watchmaker with the savoir faire of a Master Tailor and Mill, the watches currently feature five patterns inspired from traditional patterns in fabrics used in elegant menswear.
Taking inspiration from this staple of a gentleman’s suiting, the VC craftsmen utilize the dial to express their creativity. Traditional watchmaking techniques like hand-guilloché, translucent Grand Feu enamel, in brilliant colors are used. The hours and minute markers are on a subdial rimmed with mother-of-pearl. This is a nice linkage to traditional shirt buttons made of mother of pearl.
All the dials feature a Champagne-coloured tapestry gold dial at 3 o’clock, hour circle in mother-of-pearl, black painted Roman numerals. The tapestry motif is created by engraving using a finely adjusted graving tool, before being frosted and varnished. The effect is an embroidery effect at the heart of the enamelled surface.
VC 1400U/000G-B215 Prince of Wales
The first of the patterns is the Prince of Wales Check B215. This is a series of superimposed squares connected by vertical and horizontal stripes. And in the VC watch is made with a raspberry red translucent enamel.
In tailoring this check pattern is known as Glenurquhart check, taking its name from the town of the same name in Inverness-shire, Scotland, where the checked wool was first used in the 19th century to outfit gamekeepers. The name glen plaid was also used, but does not appear before 1926. Glen plaid is sometimes nicknamed the Prince of Wales check, as it was popularized by the Duke of Windsor when he was Prince of Wales. He later went on to become King Edward VII briefly, and after his abdication became known as the Duke of Windsor. The title Prince of Wales is used by the British Crown for the first in line for succession to the throne, and the title is currently held by Prince Charles.
VC 1400U/000R-B159 Herringbone
The series is also presented in Herringbone pattern B159. In this VC, the designers have chosen a pale lavender tone enamel to accentuate the ordered zigzag pattern.
When used in a cloth, the herringbone is typically very understated, as it is more a texture than a loud pattern on the fabric. Often the pattern disappears when the viewer is more than a few meters away from the wearer, and the suit then appears to be in the base color, usually grey or blue. Herringbone is a twill weave, and usually the fibers are weaved close to each other and the fabric breath as well as a plain weave.
VC 1400U/000R-B216 Windowpane
A Windowpane pattern is also presented as B216. This pattern is a series of squares on the fabric, often with the pattern taking bold colors over a more sedate background. In the B216 watch, the VC design calls for a warm grey Grand Feu enamel to discretely emphasize the guilloché pattern.
In a gentleman’s wardrobe, the windowpane suit is a bit more challenging than the others featured here. The pattern is usually quite bold, and unless paired properly can look a garish and loud. Here, the Duke of Windsor in his windowpane suit, although true to his character, he carries it off beautifully.
VC 1400U/000R-B217 Pinstripe
More traditional, and must have in every wardrobe is the traditional outfit of the iconoclastic London banker in his city suit (and perhaps Bowler hat) is captured by the next VC – the B217 featuring the Pinstripe. The dial is a hand-guilloché “pin stripes” pattern under linen-coloured translucent Grand Feu enamel.
The pinstripe is a true staple. Either in a blue or grey (Gentlemen don’t wear black other than for funerals. The darkest acceptable grey is called Oxford Grey, and is almost black in appearance. For evening, a midnight blue, which can appear blacker than black under artificial tungsten or florescent lighting is the norm.). Shown below, the ever elegant Daniel Craig, in his role as James Bond with the single breasted pinstripe suit.
VC 1400U/000G-B218 Tartan
The Tartan. B218, it is a more subdued, but still brilliant electric cerulean blue in translucent enamel.
The Tartan pattern is very similar to the other checks here, sometimes seeming like the cross between the POW and windowpane. It is a pattern consisting of criss-crossed horizontal and vertical bands in multiple colors. Tartans originated in woven wool, but now they are made in many other materials. Tartan is particularly associated with Scotland. Scottish kilts almost always have tartan patterns.
VC Caliber 1400
The movements are all the VC Caliber 1400.
A small movement is selected, which leaves much space within the case, but is essential because the design of the dial calls for an offset hour/minute indication. This design is intentional to make space on the dial to showcase the techniques utilized for the Métiers d’Art. The movement is quite beautiful, with scalloped bridges, and magnificently decorated. Manual winding, with 98 components, 20 jewels, and beating at 28,800 bph, the movement is only 20.65 mm thick, and runs with a power reserve of about 40 hours. Case is either in 18ct white gold or 18ct red gold in a diameter of 40mm, and a thickness of 8,2mm.
All the watches are certified with Poinçon de Genève, and are exclusively available in Vacheron Boutiques worldwide. The price is S$82,500 inclusive of GST.