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Vacheron Constantin Métiers D’Art Savoirs Enluminés

by Nick Gould on March 28, 2015

Vacheron Constantin releases a trio of watches based on a ancient manuscript.  Introducing the Vacheron Constantin Métiers D’Art Savoirs Enluminés.

The new Métiers d’Art Savoirs Enluminés collection draws aesthetic inspiration from the Aberdeen Bestiary, an ancient Celtic manuscript recovered from the Middle Ages that is internationally recognised for the quality of its miniaturized illuminations.  The watches have an 18k white gold case and are 40mm in diameter.

The Aberdeen Bestiary was commissioned in the 12th century. This “book of beasts”, conveying a wide range of knowledge and beliefs, is filled with information that is key to understanding the evolution of humankind while exalting the power of metaphor.

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The Vacheron Constantin Métiers D’Art Savoirs Enluminés collection consisting of 3 watches

The first of this trio is the “Altion”, a beautiful seabird linked to Water, building its nest on the seas, no matter what the weather, and symbolising serenity. The care given to its blue green plumage, the elegance of its wings and the flexibility of its posture perfectly fit the circular shape of the dial.

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The “Altion”

The second model, “Vultures”, is adorned with two fowl back to back – the quintessential ambassadors of the Skies, casting a knowing glance. Against a graded pink background, their bodies form a circle, the symbol of infinity and longevity.

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The “Vultures”

The third model, “Caper” – is devoted to the Earth.   It presents a midnight blue goat with a piercing gaze, and endowed with exceptionally sound judgement.

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The “Caper”

These three creatures are illustrated in a representation that is extremely true to the original illuminations. In these models, Vacheron Constantin has chosen to call on traditional decorative techniques: the art of Grand Feu enamel reminiscent of illumination, engraving as a nod to calligraphy, along with a delicate phase of shadowing and gold texturization in order to create the effect of gold leaf.

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Skill and a steady hand is needed to create the dials

The trailing display was designed and developed by the Vacheron Constantin engineers. The three spokes of the hours wheel are prolonged by a carousel. Each bears four hours numerals, whose direction is determined by a cam shaped like a Maltese Cross – a patented mechanism echoing the brand emblem. The hours crown (wheel) turns in such a way as to successively place the carousel bearing the appropriate numeral opposite the corresponding minutes painted on the lower dial. The hour slides gradually downwards, before vanishing after crossing the 60-minute mark. It thus makes way for the numeral of the following hour. In this airy display, time seems to glide across this work just as the eye glides across the page of a book. The effect is evocative, unexpected, and gently poetic.

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The trailing display mechanism

The dial display is made possible by  the self-winding Caliber 1120 AT, built upon an ultra-thin base movement. Developed and crafted by Vacheron Constantin entirely in keeping with the traditions of haute horlogerie, it meets the Hallmark of Geneva criteria that are no longer confined to the movement alone, but also take into account the complete watch. It beats at a frequency of 2.75 Hz (19,800 vibrations/hour) and has an approximately 40-hour power reserve.

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The sapphire crystal caseback, allows the expertly finished movement to be viewed

The oscillating  weight  is a stylised depiction of the neo-gothic architecture of the arches on the Crown Tower of King’s College, Aberdeen University. The tapestry work, a decorative style inspired by guilloché  is made using an over century-old tool operating according to the same principle as the pantograph. This technique requires extremely fine adjustment and must be adapted to each new oscillating weight, while providing a magnificent opportunity to create raised and hollowed areas measuring barely a tenth-of-a-millimetre and resembling embroidery work.

The, Altion, Caper and Vulture pieces will be limited to 20 pieces each.  They will be only available in Vacheron Constantin Boutiques.

These watches will certainly be conversation starters.

TECHNICAL DATA

Métiers d’Art Savoirs Enluminés
References:

  • 7000S/000G-B001 – Vultures
  • 7000S/000G-B002 – Caper
  • 7000S/000G-B003 – Altion

Hallmark of Geneva certified timepieces
Only available in Vacheron Constantin Boutiques
Caliber 1120 AT Developed and manufactured by Vacheron Constantin

  • Mechanical self-winding, with dragging hours additional mechanism
  • 80 mm (12’’’½) diameter
  • 45 mm thick
  • Approximately 40 hours of power reserve
  • 75 Hz (19’800 vibrations/hour)
  • 205 components
  • 36 jewels

Indications:

  • Hours, minutes
  • Time indicated by Arabic numerals mounted on satellite-wheels
  • The hours move one after the other across a 120° scale located on the lower dial

Case:

  • 18K white gold
  • 40 x 49.45 mm, 10.30 mm thick
  • Transparent sapphire crystal caseback
  • Water-resistance tested at a pressure of 3 bar (approx. 30 meters)
  • Name of the inspiration model engraved on caseband

Dial Two-level dial:

  • Upper dial : hand-textured champlevé gold base with Grand Feu miniature enamelling
  • Lower dial : polished letters in relief on a grained gold base

Strap:

  • Brown Mississippiensis alligator leather strap, hand-stitched, saddle-finish, large square scales
  • Buckle 18K white gold triple blade folding clasp
  • Polished half Maltese cross-shaped

Accessories

  • Delivered with a magnifying glass, a pair of gloves and a dedicated brochure to better showcase the craftsmanship and technicality behind these creations

Limited edition of 20 pieces for each model
« N°X/20 » engraved on the back of each timepiece

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