Sunday, October 25

Rare Watches: Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers – La Caravelle 1950

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Vacheron Constantin’s Les Cabinotiers have always pleasantly surprised us with magnificent pieces. The La Caravelle 1950 is one of the watches presented late 2019, and is a one of-a-kind creation featuring a cloisonné enamel dial crafted by the Atelier Anita Porchet. Here is our quick take on this pièce unique, and the enormous workmanship by VC to achieve this.

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers – La Caravelle 1950

This masterpiece of miniaturisation is framed by a 39 mm 4N pink gold case, equipped with the Manufacture 4400 movement. The model is inspired by a 1950 watch belonging to the Vacheron Constantin heritage.

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A caravel is was a small, highly manoeuvrable sailing ship developed in the 15th century by the Portuguese to explore along the West African coast and into the Atlantic Ocean. The inspiration for the art on this piece is one of the first caravels similar to the one that Bartolomeu Dias and Christopher Columbus sailed in to arrive at the Cape of Good Hope in 1487 and America in 1492.

The inspiration for this creation is a rare and precious watch belonging to the Vacheron Constantin heritage and dating from 1950 (reference. 4308). Enamel artist extraordinaire Anita Porchet was commissioned to do this piece of work, and she employed the technique of cloisonné enamel.

Anita Porchet. Singapore, October 2019.

The technique consists in defining the contours of the pattern to be created by means of thin metal strips or gold wires fixed on the surface to be enamelled. The partitions formed by these strips are filled with the enamel powder which is then vitrified by successive firings. The enamelled plate is then smoothed or polished to reveal the gold partitions and the final design.

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Richer tones and more colours require more enamel applications and firings, and with each firing is the possibility of the work developing cracks is ever present.

The hands are gold baton-type hands sweeping over the applied gold Roman numerals and round hour markers. As a final nod to this age of maritime feats, a gold paillon (spangle) appearing on the enamelled surface depicts Polaris, the pole star or North Star formerly used by sailors together with their sextants for the all-important calculation of positions at sea.

On the wrist, the 39mm case is just about perfectly sized. The Porchet artwork is sublime, and takes on a character almost with a life of its own.

The watch is fitted with a manual-winding Manufacture 4400 calibre powering the hours and minutes hands, operating at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour. The 4400 is classified as an ultra thin movement at just 2.80 mm, it is housed in a 39 mm case in 4N pink gold.

The lugs also deserve special mention, as these are fancy lugs fashioned after the famed “corne de vache

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Cloisonné enamel « The Caravel » 1950

REFERENCE 1110C/000R-B612


CALIBER 4400

Developed and manufactured by Vacheron Constantin mechanical manual-winding 28.60 mm (121/2’’) diameter, 2.80 mm thick Movement power reserve: approximately 65 hours 4 Hz (28,800 vibrations/hour) 127 components 21 jewels Hallmark of Geneva certified timepiece

INDICATIONS Hours, minutes
CASE 18K 4N pink gold 39 mm diameter, 10.40 mm thick
DIAL 18K gold, cloisonné enamel representing a Caravel 4 Roman numerals and 8 dots in 18k gold
STRAP Bordeaux Mississippiensis alligator leather with alligator leather inner shell, hand-stitched, saddle-finish, large square scales
CLASP 18K 4N pink gold buckle Polished half Maltese cross-shaped
Unique timepiece « Pièce unique » and « Les Cabinotiers » engraved on the back of the timepiece

Photo Notes: The VC Les Cabinotiers Les Caravel – 1950 was photographed in-situ with the Hasselblad H3D-30 with HC4/120 Macro lens, and dual flash system of Canon EX580II and Profoto Compact 600 triggered by a Godox wireless Trigger.

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3 Comments

  1. Such a beautiful piece of Art.
    I’m Portuguese, and its a pleasure see a piece of art remering Portuguese saylors that were responsable for the globalization!

    Thanks and CONGRATULATIONS to Vacheron!

    Would Love to have one piece, but i think I cant afford it.