Vacheron Constantin’s spectacular new collection is a journey of discovery through history – and the high-end art of Swiss watchmaking.
Forget about ChatGPT, SpinBot, Bing or ChatSonic… venerable Swiss watchmaker Vacheron Constantin is the real pioneer in AI – Artistic Integrity, that is. In business for a staggering 270 years, Vacheron Constantin has always followed the mantra of its founder, Francois Constantin, to “do better if possible, and that is always possible”.
Nailing the ultimate combination in watchmaking of precision engineering, artistic excellence and flawless timekeeping is a balancing act few watchmakers achieve, but it’s the cornerstone for every model in Vacheron Constantin’s collection.
Some of Vacheron’s creations, such as the manually-wound Patrimony timepieces, are the very essence of a no-fuss watch, presenting an elegant, simplified, classic design with a ‘plain’ dial displaying just hour, minutes and seconds hands (in pink or white gold, natch). But with its Métiers d’Art collections – all produced in extremely limited numbers – Vacheron Constantin ramps up the creative and expressive dial.
A tribute to Explorer Naturalists
These are watches designed to provide a miniature ‘canvas’ for the maison’s craftsmen and women to give full rein to their skills – many of which may have been lost to watchmaking if not for Vacheron’s mission to preserve them over the centuries. The Geneva-based company has just released four new 41mm Métiers d’Art pieces – the Tribute to Explorer Naturalists – that celebrate the voyage and discoveries of the British ship Beagle in the 1830s, an adventure made famous by Charles Darwin’s book The Voyage of the Beagle.
Each model commemorates a specific point on the Beagle’s journey, from the Cape of Good Hope to Tierra del Fuego, Cape Verde and the Strait of Magellan. An automatic movement powers all four models, of which just 10 of each are available worldwide. Their 18K white or pink gold cases and alligator leather straps frame what is undoubtedly the star of the show – the amazing engraving and enamelling work that brings the Beagle, and some of the wildlife its explorer scientists documented, to life on the dials.
The Vacheron Constantin Métiers d’Art collection
Vacheron’s creative talents drew on period engravings to help shape their beautiful designs, which combine tiny sculptures and miniature ‘paintings’ for a diorama-like effect. From 3D butterflies to ancient maps of Tierra del Fuego and a finely engraved miniature Beagle in gold, the four pieces in the collection are exquisite examples of the “art” of watchmaking.
The transparent case backs allow the wearer to peek into the fascinating workings of the movement, itself decorated with intricate guilloché, or fine engraving. And the metronomic sweep of the 22-carat gold oscillating weight presents a visual reminder of the ceaseless passage of time. Says Vacheron Constantin Style and Heritage Director Christian Selmoni: “The Métiers d’Art collection is first and foremost about putting technology at the service of beauty – in other words, to use watch movements whose displays are arranged in such a way to leave the dial free for maximum expressions by the craftsmen.” And that is indeed Artistic Integrity
This article originally appeared in volume 46 of Signature Luxury Travel & Style magazine. Subscribe to the latest issue today.