Vacheron Constantin is pursuing its dialogue with collectors and passionate devotees of Haute Horlogerie by enriching its Métiers d’Art La légende du zodiaque chinois series with the sign of the monkey. The latter will take over from that of the goat at the Chinese New Year on February 8th 2016. Bearing the Hallmark of Geneva, these two new creations, realised in twelve models each, combine the technical excellence of Caliber 2460 G4 with the beauty of artistic crafts.
Paper-cutting, at the crossroads between Eastern and Western cultures
China, a nation with which Vacheron Constantin has been cultivating special ties since 1845, first introduce the paper-cutting technique known as Jianzhi, a popular art echoed in Swiss culture through its famous Scherenschnitt paper-cutting. This artistic approach, highlighted in the Métiers d’Art La légende du zodiaque chinois, has been given a fresh interpretation thanks to the expertise of the master engravers and enamellers.
Allied artistic crafts
The foliage motif appearing on the dial and based on classic Chinese iconography is etched directly in the metal. The pattern remains semi-embedded and stands out from its gold base by a subtle stage-setting of variously accentuating reliefs creating a depth effect. This makes the vegetation appear to be floating over the dial.
Then comes the stage of Grand Feu enamelling, a technique invented in Geneva and that remains the preserve of a very few particularly skilled artisans. By applying the enamel in successive layers, the enamel specialist enhances the intensity of the blue or bronze-toned dial. Achieving the necessary mastery of colour and of reactions to firing at temperatures between 800 and 900 degrees Celsius calls for an expertise that can only be acquired over long years of experience. The monkey, made of platinum or gold, is hand engraved and delicately applied to the dial centre.
A movement that leaves plenty of space for artistic expression
Caliber 2460 G4 makes it possible to create a distinctive and ideal stage-setting for the decorative arts, by giving the central dial motif a starring role. The hands-free time display is achieved through four apertures showing the hours, minutes, days and dates. These indications – the first two of the dragging variety and the last two of the jumping type – proudly embody the longstanding savoir-faire of the Maison in designing and developing original displays. Clearly visible through the sapphire crystal back of the platinum or pink gold case, the 22-carat oscillating weight is adorned with a recurrent Maltese Cross pattern testifying to finishes performed in keeping with the finest watchmaking traditions. All movement components are indeed finely finished in accordance with the criteria of the Hallmark of Geneva, a quality label of which Vacheron Constantin is the most faithful representative.