These new ladies watches from Vacheron Constantin, the “Metiers d’Art Fabuleux Ornements” are as breathtaking as the new men’s releases from the brand; they are also consistent with the brand’s 2014 collection theme which shows off the manufacture’s extensive skeletonization and engraving skills, as well as a variety of artisanal skills (as noted for each watch). All indented text is directly from Vacheron. Admire them all below!
The new Métiers d’Arts Fabuleux Ornements collection is an irresistible invitation to embark on a journey celebrating the ornamental beauties of the world drawn from the decorative arts of several cultures. Inspired by dreams of faraway places and by the open-minded approach to the world consistently cultivated by Vacheron Constantin, it unveils four ladies’ models born of the art of openworking and a combination of artistic crafts. Ten different master artisans have taken turns in providing talented reinterpretations of Ottoman architecture, Chinese embroidery, Indian manuscripts and French lacework. These exquisitely feminine creations are equipped with an ethereal hand-engraved calibre echoing the precious dial ornamentation and enshrining a subtle blend of inner and outer beauty.
A masterful demonstration of Vacheron Constantin’s expertise in the field of decoration, the openworking of the ultra-slim Calibre 1003 in 18K gold – a mere 1.64 mm thin – transform it into an incredible lacework of engraved wheel trains.
Métiers d’Art Fabuleux Ornements – India manuscript
Grand Feu champlevé enamelling and hand engraving
Framed by a pink gold case topped by a diamond-set bezel, ten vibrant enamel colours blossom on the dial. These shimmering shades form oriental-inspired flowers blooming against a blue sky. The master-enameller has expressed the vivacity and richness of Indian illustrations through a profusion of intense enamels surrounding the openworked calibre, like the floral motifs decorating the margins of ancient oriental writings. The contours of its décor are first traced using the champlevé technique to create cavities separated by thin gold partitions in order to apply the enamels. These ten different hues represent a daunting challenge in terms of mastering the successive firings, a process that calls for a true alchemist’s skill. The foliage, which is meticulously hand-engraved after enamelling, heightens the radiance of the watch and echoes the engraving of the openworked calibre. This is one of the most delicate stages, since even the slightest slip of the hand can jeopardise the entire creation.
Métiers d’Art Fabuleux Ornements – Ottoman architecture
Chamfering, mother-of-pearl, and half-pearl beads
The ethereal calibre is magnificently reflected by the chamfered pink gold moucharaby (wooden lattice) motif formed by the dial and of which every edge is delicately bevelled by hand. Daintily perched on a natural white mother-of-pearl base, the gold gridwork studded with half-pearl beads echoes the majesty of the scrolling patterns in Middle Eastern architecture. The meticulously executed decoration on the rings, known as milgrain and featuring strings of tiny bead shapes coined along the edges, add to the magic of the workmanship. The enchanted world of the Arabian nights continues in the arabesques of the calibre, also embellished with engravings.
Métiers d’Art Fabuleux Ornements – French lacework
Guillochage, Grand Feu enamelling and gem-setting
A luminous white gold lacework adorns the translucent hand-guilloché Grand Feu enamelled dial. This artfully polished spun lace pattern is reminiscent of the grand tradition of French-style embroideries, an ancestral art ingrained in the national culture. An infinite sense of lightness pervades the scene, evoking the patient and dextrous craftsmanship performed with the crochet needle or the spindle. The base of the gold dial is clad in a guilloché motif lending subtle depth to the transparent enamel.
Métiers d’Art Fabuleux Ornements – Chinese embroidery
Glyptics, gemstone cloisonné work and engraving
Crafted in pink gold according to the cloisonné technique, the dial is carpeted with flowers in rubies, cuprites and garnets. Like the silk thread Chinese embroideries embellished with precious fabrics, the graceful elegance of the stones cut and sculpted according to the glyptic art are adorned with finely engraved gold leaves and pistils. Concern for detail taken to extremes, as epitomised in the veins of the plants and the rounded shape of the petals, endow this ornamentation with a fascinating depth effect. The particularly delicate ruby engraving is a true challenge. The pink opals are individually cut and lapped to form a tapestry of stones on a dial prepared for this purpose with barely 0.5 mm thin white gold partitions. The impressive finesse of the work accomplished by the master lapidaries and engravers pays a vibrant tribute to the traditional art of embroidery exercised for millennia in China.