For the next cycle of the Métiers d’Art collection cycle, luxury Swiss watch maker Vacheron Constantin present The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac, The Year of the Snake Model.
The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac is a series of time pieces based upon a twelve year cycle. The first of this series is the Year of the Snake, in ancient Chinese culture, the snake is considered to be a good omen as it means that your family will not starve, it is also considered to be a good mediator and good at business. For Vacheron Constantin, the watch symbolises the periodical nature of time, refinement and seduction. Like many leading watch brands, combining new and markets, historic techniques and fine skills resulting in a time piece that translates across all tastes, and brigs to the market an opportunity to own and wear something that combines more than just the incredible skills of the Swiss watchmaker.
For over 250 years, Vacheron Constantin have cultured a reputation for exceptional time pieces using many refined techniques honed over the years. They have also sought to bring in and cultivate various ornamental techniques in the quest to provide the finest of time pieces.
It was over 150 years ago that Vacheron Constantin first looked at China as not just a marketplace, but also somewhere to learn and refine their techniques. It was China that invented paper, and subsequently the art of Jianzhi, more commonly known to the Western world as paper-cutting. The art of Jianzhi was considered to be of such high importance that it now appears on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list.
Using the Jianzhi technique, the animals of the Zodiac are sculpted into mini works of art, a skill that Vacheron Constantin wanted to bring into the new Legend of the Chinese Zodiac collection. Using the renowned skills of their in-house experts, engravers, enamellers and artists have alternated in pairs to bring this intricate skill on and into the new models. The new twelve piece series is crafted in platinum or pink gold and will be available from the brands own-name boutiques around the world.
The leaf motif appearing on the dial and stemming from 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 accentuated reliefs creating a depth effect. The raised leaves appear to be floating over the dial. With the snake engraving, on which crafting the scales alone represents at least 30 hours of work, the artisan provides a tangible expression of the artistic vision behind this creation.
Grand Feu enamelling, a technique invented in Geneva is applied to the enamel in successive layers. The Vacheron Constantin enamel specialist further enhance the visual intensity of the blue or bronze-toned dial. The necessity of maintaining tight control of the colour and the reactions to the firing process that takes place in a kiln at around 800 to 900°C. A final layer of enamel is then applied before a final firing operation that vitrifies the dial and lends a shiny glazed effect that gives added definition to the floral motif.
The snake is placed to the centre of the dial, creating a stunning effect as it looks to spring through the sapphire crystal.
Métiers d’Art The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac collection owes its superb scope for expressing the artistic crafts to Calibre 2460 G4. To keep with their tradition of offering a wide variety of original displays, Vacheron Constantin perpetuates the art of watchmaking by providing a hands-free display of time. It does so through four windows respectively revealing the hour, the minutes, the day and the date. The first two indications are of the dragging kind and the last two of the jumping type, and each appears through one of the four apertures arranged around the central dial motif. Beating at a rate of 28,800 vibrations per hour, the mechanical self-winding movement is equipped with a 22-carat gold oscillating weight adorned with a dynamic geometrical motif inspired by the shape of the Maltese Cross, the historical brand emblem.
All its parts are treated to exceptionally sophisticated finishing that meets the criteria laid down by the Hallmark of Geneva – one of the highest tokens of horological craftsmanship created in 1886 and recognised around the world. On the occasion of the recent 125th anniversary of the Hallmark, the 12 original criteria governing this distinction were updated. Having previously applied exclusively to the movement, the new Hallmark of Geneva criteria now certify the excellence of the watch as a whole.
The Vacheron Constantin Year of the Snake is an exquisite combination of tradition, fine craftsmanship, the hallmark of Geneva and luxury. A collection that has been specifically designed with the collectors and devotees of time pieces in mind.