SIHH 2018: Métiers d’Art Les Aérostiers by Vacheron Constantin
With The Métiers d’Art Les Aérostiers collection, Vacheron Constantin pays tribute to the late 18th century’s intrepid balloonists whose hot-air balloons were then the first to conquer the sky. On the scale of a watch dial, the master engravers of the Maison also accomplish an authentic feat: faithfully reproducing in miniature the historical depictions of five flights undertaken in France between 1783 and 1785. Splendid hand- engraved and micro-sculpted gold hot-air balloons hover against a translucent plique-à-jour enamel background, while time is displayed to the beat of Manufacture Calibre 2460 G4/1.
Vacheron Constantin is exploring new creative horizons in telling the marvellous story of skyborne adventurers. In addition to the delicate pounced ornament engraving technique, the dials are adorned with plique-à-jour enamel, a rare skill used for the first time by the Maison. This association is a natural continuation of the tradition of technical and artistic excellence cherished by Vacheron Constantin. The new Métiers d’Art Les Aérostiers collection combines these artistic feats with technical expertise by using the Vacheron Constantin Calibre 2460 G4/1 driving special displays: an original movement enabling seamless integration of the indications within the overall dial aesthetic.
The colourful magic of plique-à-jour enamel
On the dials of the Métiers d’Art Les Aérostiers collection, a translucent background in sky blue, dark blue, turquoise, brown or burgundy, evoke a spirit of airy transparency. Vacheron Constantin is for the first time calling upon this skill mastered by very few enamellers. Its layout is reminiscent of cloisonné enamelling; while the absence of a base recalls a miniature stained-glass window. The balance between the various shades is extremely subtle, as is the polishing of the partitions between them.
Pounced ornament gold balloons
The master engravers in the Vacheron Constantin workshops took up a real challenge: adding volume to the original two-dimensional drawings, and interpreting their colours through finishing effects. Each hot-air balloon called for up to three weeks of craftsmanship in order to reproduce the entire range of subtle feature and ornamental details of the original works. The dials thus compose authentic miniature scenes graced with an extraordinary variety of motifs.