Pre-SIHH 2016: Vacheron ConstantinWritten by Alvin Wong
The world’s oldest running watch manufacture embarks on a no-holds-barred journey into high art, kicking of 2016 with the latest installment of its Métiers d’Art Fabuleux Ornements collection.
Christened ‘New Horizons’ the collection comprises four timepieces, each as fastidiously pieced together and evocative as the next. Thematically, the new watches are a continuation of the debut range from 2014, where Vacheron Constantin’s artisans provided decorative interpretations of Ottoman architecture, Chinese embroidery, Indian manuscripts and French lacework, using watch dials as canvas.
The ‘French lacework’ dial pictured above is a mesmerising masterpiece featuring a translucent grand feu dial festooned with garnet-colored sapphires atop a guillochéd gold base.
The ‘Indian manuscript’ dial (below), on the other hand, depicts flowers in bloom, redolent of spring with a gorgeous flush of purple, orange and red achieved by way of grand feu champlevé enamelling and hand engraving.
For us, the ‘Chinese embroidery’ dial (below) is the prettiest of the lot. Also adorned with floral motifs, the flowers sit atop a jade dial, sculpted from opal stones, with stems and leaves made of finely hand-engraved white gold.
Last but not least, the ‘Ottoman architecture’ dial captivates with its kaleidoscopic patterns, featuring fine gold grid work that has been hand chamfered, and set with iridescent pearl bits.
All the watches in this collection are certified by the Hallmark of Geneva, and are driven by Vacheron Constantin’s in-house, skeletonised hand-wound movements. Available in numbered editions of 20 pieces for each design.
Alvin promises not to be a douche when talking about watches. He may have scoured the Basel and Geneva watch fairs for the past 15 years, and played an instrumental role to the growth of Singapore's pioneering horological and men's lifestyle publications, but the intrepid scribe seeks to learn something new with each story he writes.