The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing

It’s early morning December 2, 1805, the sun is not yet up but the sky is getting light. Shivering with cold, the young Jean-Pascal Dupin, soldier of the Napoleon’s Grand Army is hiding, on the look out for the troops of the Russian, Austrian and British allied forces. He does not know it yet but he is about to witness one of Napoleon’s greatest victories: the Battle of Austerlitz.

Dupin however is facing a huge problem, his riffle is damaged and he needs bits of metal to repair it, but where to find the desired elements? Looking at his pocket watch he has a stroke of genius. An engraver by profession he is good with his hands, so why not give it a try he thinks? It is better than certain death. He takes his knife and gently starts removing the metal from his watch’s movement making sure that no metal is taken from the vital (or what he thinks to be vital) parts, non content to only remove the metal he does so also by engraving the remaining parts with curves reminding him of the red curls of his fiancée Mathilde, waiting for him back in his native Provence.

History does not tell us if Dupin survives the battle of Austerlitz or his role in it, all that remain is his diary and the watch he left behind (both are exhibited in the museum of the Napoleonian Army in the Invalides in Paris).

 click on the scans for a bigger view

 

The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing
Battle of Austerlitz by Baron Pascal

 


The creation of the first skeleton watch has the inimitable ingredients of a good classical story: history, poetry and romance echoing the timepieces themselves.

This would have been the perfect story if it was anything other than the fruit of the warped mind of yours truly! The true history of the skeleton watch is unfortunately more down to earth.

But what exactly is a skeleton watch?


The Barber of Seville’s Father
There is no definitive definition of a skeleton watch but it is generally agreed that it is a watch with a movement whose plate and bridges have been cut away to expose the wheels and gears, leaving only the substance which the watch needs to function. An opendial watch is sometimes erroneously called a skeleton. In the former, the bridges and plates have not been cut away, but the dial of the watch has been totally or partially removed as to see the inner works.

The father of the skeleton watch is considered to be André-Charles Caron. Around 1760, master watchmaker André-Charles Caron conceived of an astute way of sharpening the public’s interest in the watches he turned out in his shop on rue Saint-Denis in Paris: he would expose henceforth their innermost secrets. And expose he did, methodically openworking plates, bars and bridges to reveal what lay underneath, and for the first time, the wheels and gears of time were there for all to see.

 

The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing
André-Charles Caron

 



Father of Pierre-Augustin, born in 1732 and known to history as the dramatist Beaumarchais (to whom we owe the Barber of Seville and The Marriage of Figaro), Caron had in fact instinctively followed the age-old human urge to decorate and otherwise embellish domestic implements and dwellings. As befits rare and precious objects, watches have been decorated practically from the start. Their balance cock was often elaborately wrought and embellished as were the case backs or even dials.

Now that they could easily be seen, gearwheels and pinions had to look their best. They were carefully shaped, their angles beveled and surface polished. But simple polishing and buffing wasn’t enough for watchmakers. They aimed at turning their movements into true works of art, showcases for their many talents. Plates, bridges and bars were thus pared down and streamlined then worked into elegantly and even exuberantly curvilinear compositions.

Together, these operations removed over half of the movement’s original metal. From its mainplate, bridges and bars emerged an intricate pattern of gilt or even solid gold lace. All visible areas were then expertly and minutely engraved and chased by hand.

Watchmakers gradually began referring to this kind of decorative work as “skeletonizing” and the resulting timepieces “skeleton watches”.


The Angel’s Stroke

Skeletonizing a watch movement into a piece of scintillating metal tracery demands exceptional deftness and precision, generating considerable added value in the process. Scrupulous observation of a series of mandatory steps is vital to the successful production of that delicate combination of airy transparency and delicate lacework that mark Vacheron Constantin’s skeleton pieces.

The process begins with the drilling of holes in the bridges, bars and mainplate on a jig boring machine, preluding more elaborate machining sequences. Following a precise cutting plan, the various workpieces are subjected to a slow electro-discharge process according to a predefined pattern in order to remove part of the metal. In fact, these components lose up to half of their initial volume in the course of the skeletonizing process.

 

The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing

 


Now machines yield to craftsmen. First they need to check that the components have not be deformed in the cutting process, then their job is to embellish everything the eye can see. The surface of every previously pierced and machined part is methodically touched up, circular grained then painstakingly bevelled by hand.

 

The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing

 


These components are then sent for engraving. Vacheron Constantin is one of the very few manufactures with an inhouse engraver: 25 year old Jeanne Ulrich who joined the brand two and a half years ago after completing a 4 year course in engraving.

Vacheron Constantin likes to point out that the founding event of the brand dates from September 17, 1755 when 24 year old Jean-Marc Vacheron hired an apprentice to pass on his savoir faire and perpetuate his craft. This is the reason why Vacheron Constantin pushed Jeanne Ulrich to continue her apprenticeship (while working with the brand) with her mentor Jean-Bernard Michel for the past two years as to enable her to perfect her skills and aim to go from excellent to exceptional engraver!

 

The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing
Jeanne Ulrich

 



Sensitivity, rigor and exactitude in striving to attain perfection are the qualities which make a good engraver” says Jeanne Ulrich.

The engraving process begins with the “cementing” of the component to be engraved; this consists of firmly fixing it on a previously heated wax type material which solidifies once cooled. The piece is then placed on a rotating bowl shaped tool enabling the engraver to hold the component in the desired position.

The metal is then removed by applying firm precise strokes from the exterior towards the interior as to give the movement the same light airiness transparency as in a Gershwin tune. The tools used have hardly changed since Albrecht Dürer’s time and are often customised by the engraver to fit his/her method of working. 

 

 

 

 

 

Like the last penalty shot in the Word Cup Football (or soccer for the American Loungers) Finals you don’t get a second chance in engraving. You miss, you loose and the slightest error in a stroke results in the component being sent back to be melted.

 

The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing

 

Before and after: notice the way the light plays on the engraved plate and rotor:

 

The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing

 



It is as difficult to work on a time only movement as it is on a tourbillion or a minute repeater because of the small surfaces and thin components” says Ulrich. The main difficulty resides in the type of metal worked on, gold is a regular metal and easier to work with than maillchort (or German silver) which has an irregular surface and hardness.

Once the components engraved (a single rotor can take up to half a day!), it is un-cemented and bathed in different solutions to clean them of particles.

 

The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing

 



The watchmaker in charge of the watch now takes over, further refining the work and adding various finishing touches: the sink, or concave chamfer, around each hole (in which the watch jewels are fitted) receive their final polishing with a diamond-tipped tool. The mainplate, bridges and bars, mainspring barrel and hour wheel are then plated (either rhodium or red gold as for the new Patrimony Traditionnelle Perpetual Calendar).


Skeletons of Yesterday….

The roaring 20s and the Art Deco era were sources of great creativity for Vacheron Constantin, it is therefore of little surprise to note that the brand’s first skeleton watch dates from 1924. It is however not “simply” a skeleton pocket watch (with caliber RA 17’’’, the same found in the first Chronomètre Royal models) but one in a rock crystal case circled in a platinum ring and set with Burmese sapphires!

 

The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing

 



When you start with such a masterpiece you set a very high standard for the future generations of watchmakers and engravers!

The brand continued producing skeleton pocket watches for about a decade, often in lavishly worked gem set cases of crystal or enamel.

 

    
The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing
rock crystal and platinum case 1929 rock crystal and white gold case 1927 onyx and white gold case 1927

 


The threshold to a higher level was reached in the early 30s when Vacheron Constantin merged its technical savoir faire with Verger Frères’, the Parisian case makers, unequalled design savvy to create some of the most delightfully refined and creative constant force table clocks.

Held in cases inspired by the exotic orient (very much en vogue in Europe then) the vertically set movement is held between two sapphire panes and is as much functional as it is sculptural.

These clocks were magnificently finished, skeletonized and engraved, the movement with double-barrel featured a remontoire d’égalité with constant force applied to the escape wheel via a spiral spring wound by the going train. According to the Vacheron Constantin archives, twelve ebauches were produced in 1929, with this double-barrel, special remontoire with straight lever escapement but only five are known to have been finished. Three, completed in 1932 and 1933 and two which were cased in the 1990s.

 

The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing
1933 1990s

 



Even once the wrist watch had become the norm, Vacheron Constantin continued making the odd skeleton pocket watch in the 50s throughout the 70s which however lacked, in my opinion, the grace and enchantment of their forefathers.

 

The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing
1953 1960 1978

 


Vacheron Constantin’s first skeleton wrist watch was created in 1964 probably as a special commission with a 9’’ caliber derived from the famous 1003. However, you will notice that this model lacks the engraving work which enables a skeleton timepiece to reflect light in such a particular manner, it is as such more an open dial model than a skeleton timepiece per se. In a way it’s a nice “draft” of better things to come.

 

The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing
1964

 


In 1955 Vacheron Constantin had created a stir by presenting the thinnest watch movement ever, the 1.64mm thick caliber 1003. Approximately 15 years later in the early 1970s the brand created another feat by skeletonizing this superb movement renamed for the occasion caliber 1003SQ (SQ for squelette, French for skeleton) launching at the same time their first “serial” production of skeleton wrist watches. The 1003SQ was followed a decade later by the skeleton version of another iconic movement the automatic caliber 1120.

 

The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing
1977 cal 1003 ref13012, 1982 cal 1003 ref 33058, 1984 cal 1003

 




…and Today

While until now skeletonising and movement engraving were reserved for time only pieces Vacheron Constantin decided to broaden its offerings and produce skeleton versions of complicated timepieces such as the perpetual calendar (ref 43032 from 1984) or the chronograph (ref 47102 from early 90s). However, it was the creation of the bewildering skeleton versions of the double barrel tourbillon (ref 30021 from 1991) and pink gold minute repeater (ref 30030 from 1994) which struck the watch world with awe and sealed Vacheron Constantin’s reputation as THE reference in skeleton watches.

 

The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing
ref 43032 ref 47102

 

Skeleton Minute Repeater, rose gold

scans courtesy of Deniz

 

The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing

 

 

   

 

 

The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing

 

Skeleton double barrel tourbillon, rose gold

scans courtesy of Paul Butros

 

The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing

 

 

The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing

 


In the mid 90s Vacheron Constantin started also adding skeleton/engraved rotors to full dial limited edition timepieces such as the Audubon series (with cloisonné enamel dials) and the jump hour Saltarello.

 

The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing
Saltarello Audubon

 


Today, Vacheron Constantin is practically the sole full-fledged watch manufacturer to make skeleton watches available throughout its model range—from the simplest to the most complex. Its management, in a way, considers that the brand has an obligation to conserve and encourage the often centuries-old arts crafts that define Genevan watchmaking, in which it has from the start had a stellar role.

A look at the current collection of Vacheron Collection shows that the brand offers 6 skeleton models, each very different from the other in terms of design and execution.


Malte Openwork with caliber 1120

 

The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing

 



Malte Openwork small model with caliber 1003

 

The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing

 



Malte Openwork Tourbillon with caliber 1790.

One of the most beautiful tourbillons currently on the market, this version is a sight for sore eyes. Flawlessly finished (just the tourbillon bridge takes over 11 hours of finishing to give it its perfectly cylindrical tapered shape) the movement looks like a layered sculpture and you are left wondering how these thin pieces of lacework actually keep the movement together!

 

The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing

 

 

The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing

 



A special 20 piece edition was also launched in 2007 as a request from the Turkish market. The back bridges of this model, with full dial, are beautifully engraved with motifs inspired by the arabesques found in Saint Sophie’s cathedral in Istanbul.

 

The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing

 


Métiers d’Art $20 Openwork with caliber 1003

Sketelonising of the calibre 1003 is a feat but Vacheron Constantin took the difficulty one step further by creating a wrist watch totally hidden inside a $20 goild coin. To do so two coins are necessary, the first one is drilled and the movement subsequently fitted into it, serving as a regular "case", a second coin is then cut and fitted atop the case and acts as the cover!

This explains the reason why $20 gold coins were used because they fulfilled 2 necessities: they had the desired size and thickness as to serve as a "watch case" and were available in sufficient numbers as to create the watches.

Scans courtesy of Derek Pinto, a 12 year old with amazing photo skills !

 

The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing

 

 

The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing

 



Cabinotiers Openwork Minute Repeater caliber 1755

Probably one of the most amazing watches of all time, launched in 2006 in only 15 pieces, this watch is the epitome of Vacheron Constantin’s art. Ethereal beauty merged with the voices of angels once you pull the trigger which sets the chimes: clear and crystal like! In the late 80s Vacheron Constantin decided to focus attention on creating a minute repeater, something which it was famed for but no longer offered. A 1940s movement (the same used by the brand in its superb vintage repeaters) served as benchmark, it was disassembled and studied, plans were drawn, machines and tools were bought and most importantly a team that could bring such a marvel to life was put together. After four years of research, in 1993, the company unveiled its first piece, the caliber 1755, in honor of the year Vacheron Constantin was founded and it is this – the exceptional final series of the caliber 1755 – that is to be found in the platinum Les Cabinotiers Openwork Minute Repeater watch.

Assembled from over 330 parts, its movement is barely 3.30 mm thick, making it the slimmest in the world. It takes between 2000-2500 hours to build this timepiece from the drilling of the 1st hole to final assembly, that’s almost a year and a half of work!! Only 4 watchmakers have the requested skills to work on this timepiece and each assembles between 2-3 of the skeleton minute repeaters each year.

Asked about the phenomenal chimes and consistency in the sound of Vacheron Constantin minute repeaters Chrystian Lefrançois, head of the complications department says: “Our goal is not to have the loudest chime but the one who has the best tone”. To obtain such a clear chime each movement and case are made together, each case is modified to respond to the specificity of each movement as such if you take two movements and switch cases the chimes may not be as clear and pure!!

 

The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing

 

Patrimony Traditionnelle Openwork Perpetual Calendar


The latest model to join the skeleton family is the Patrimony Traditionnelle Openwork Perpetual Calendar whose calibre 1120QPSQ (with Geneva hallmark), is decorated with an Art Nouveau motif inspired by those of the Eiffel Tower. It took Jeanne Ulrich over 3 months of tests to finally reach a result which perfectly suited her aspirations and the brand’s expectations. The engraving of the whole movement (on both sides) takes about a week and consists of over 8000 strokes!

The dial was designed to provide an excellent view of the skeleton movement and perfect legibility of the perpetual calendar indications. To achieve this, Vacheron Constantin opted for a transparent sapphire dial enhanced by a silvered ring integrating the hour markers and minute-track. The perpetual calendar indications, transferred on the dial, consequently gained in both size and legibility. Transparency was also used with the moon phase indicator, whose two discs can be made out through the frosted glass.

 

The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing

 

 

The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing

 




                                                                                   **********


Vacheron Constantin’s specificity in skeleton watches is twofold: (i) the brand, in its own original manner, calls them openwork models and (ii) they are probably the most beautiful models on the market today. In Vacheron Constantin’s skeleton watches the skeletonizing/engraving do not seem to be an afterthought but rather a carefully planned act of artistic creation with a final result which is both sophisticated and subtle, blending perfectly in a harmonious whole. The expertise involved is truly representative of what constitutes a fine timepiece: functional, rare, personalized, highly skilled, beautiful and uncompromising in its craftsmanship and if Dupin had existed he would agree that like Napoleon’s Grande Armée in 1805, Vacheron Contantin in terms of skeleton timepieces, today, has no rivals.


 

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Wonderful article Alex!! Thanks! (NT)
12/10/2007 - 15:01

.

thank you Nathan (nt)
12/11/2007 - 12:55

.

That was the worst I ever seen !
12/10/2007 - 15:59

Now one of my chapters in the book is gone, '

already

Fantastic Alex !

Thanks

Doc

LOL Doc :-) (nt)
12/11/2007 - 12:56

.

LOL! I am lost for words... (nt)
12/11/2007 - 16:56

..

Superb article, Amazing pictures. THANK YOU Alex!
12/10/2007 - 16:07

e

Thank you very much George (nt)
12/11/2007 - 12:57

.

I'll be sleeping well tonight...Thanks, for the beautiful report! (nt)
12/10/2007 - 16:10

k

Glad to help fill your dreams with skeletons :-) (nt)
12/11/2007 - 12:57

.

Stripping things off is what gets me through the night! (nt)
12/12/2007 - 00:46

k

Fantastic article I loved every minute of it...
12/10/2007 - 17:52

Great Article,

Thanks for sharing this information with us.  I really enjoyed seeing the video where you could watch them working on the movements.  I also liked seeing some of the vintage pieces, and although I prefer a form movement in a square or rectangular watch ref 33058, 1984 cal 1003 really intrigues me.  Thats a skeleton watch I would love to own someday.   Thanks again for this article.

Best regards,

Dino

Thank you Dino, I was surprised how far back the creation of the
12/11/2007 - 13:00

skeleton watch went and especially the skeleton wrist watch! VC launched their 1st production piece right in the middle of the quartz crisis!!!

Very risky launching their first production piece ...
12/11/2007 - 21:20

during the quartz crisis, but their skeleton wristwatches are my favorite of this genre of watches.  In fact, if I ever do buy a skeleton watch the only brand I would consider is VC...their engraving/chasing work is just amazing.

Thanks again for the great report.

Best regards,

Dino

Very interesting report!
12/10/2007 - 20:19

Alex, thank you again for another instructive and interesting report. I did like your little story at the beginning, even if it didn’t make much sense (using parts of his watch to repair a gun? did the guy walk around with a mini-foundry?) I also liked to learn about the whole process.  The video is quite cool. I wonder how often parts have to be remelted because of one little mistake… I was surprised to read that after doing all this engraving work, the parts get plated – doesn’t is take away the detail and precision of the work? I think being THE leader in such a high-end segment is something that VC should be very proud of. While skeleton watches might not be to everyone’s tastes, it is hard not to consider them a real work of art. The fact that Jeanne Ulrich had to complete a 4-year course in engraving shows just how hard it must be to produce such a fantastic result. I am happy to read that VC considers it has an obligation to conserve and promote this art. Personally, though, I prefer the skeleton watches off my wrist rather than on it. I don’t think I could get tired of looking at one, and I would be happy to have one in my collection, but the style is not really me… My favourite out of the whole lot is the Malte Openwork Tourbillon (that one, I could wear). It’s impressive to see that some of VC’s earlier pieces (such as the 1933 clock with double-barrel featuring a remontoire d’égalité) still look modern almost 100 years later

the plating is so thin (a few microns) that it does not take away
12/11/2007 - 13:02

anything away the details of the engraving. I saw the 1990s model of the remontoire clock and it is absolutely stunning a true piece of mechanical magic!!

Great article Alex...
12/10/2007 - 20:33

VC's amazing skeletonization work is one of the reasons I love the company so much. Thanks for the great article and  photos!

Best Regards,

Mike

thanks Mike, I agree ! (nt)
12/11/2007 - 13:03

.

Great report.....
12/10/2007 - 23:46

I love the tourbillon double barrels.

I had the occasion to handle this watch, it is gorgeous.

thanks Jérôme, I love the double barrel tourbillon but find the cage
12/11/2007 - 13:04

a bit too small.

An interesting and...
12/11/2007 - 00:31

...fascinating article! I didn’t have any clue about the background of the skeletonized watches. Never liked them, since they are too “busy” for my taste but they are from technical point of view masterpieces. Anyway great job with the article!

 

 

Kheili mamnoun. I personnaly love skeleton watches but they never
12/11/2007 - 13:06

look good on my wrist...too much hair

Skeletonizing is a bit like enamel dials, they can sometimes be to Baroque but are definately difficult to craft.

Alex, great report and very interesting historical>>>
12/11/2007 - 00:41
perspective. Quite an undertaking and worth every bit of the effort! Merci. Tim
Thank you for your kind words Tim. Hope you didn't have to get
12/11/2007 - 13:07

internet access on your plane to read this article

Nope, home for a while, trying to find more V&C's ! (nt)
12/11/2007 - 22:44

e

simply beautiful art and breath-taking pieces. i need the inhaler.....
12/11/2007 - 01:59

some of vacheron best . thank u for a great post.

Vacheron Constantin really tries to shine the light on the
12/11/2007 - 13:09

Metiers d'Art and these watches dedinately need to be looked at not only as a technical pieces but truly art works

Great report
12/11/2007 - 09:47

I love these very complete reports on a specific subject.

Great. An other idea of subject : perpetual calendars...

Thank you Alex for all this work.

Deniz.

Thank you for letting me use your photos and great idea on the
12/11/2007 - 13:10

perpetual calendar.

Re: The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing
12/11/2007 - 10:21

A picture I liked from an old VC catalogue. Especially the 57500 can be used to explain to an ignorant like me how a watch works.

George

even more impressive is seeing Jeanne Ulrich work! Her concentration
12/11/2007 - 13:12

is close to meditation!!

Thanks for a captivating read, Alex! nt
12/11/2007 - 11:49

Glad you enjoyed it Radek (nt)
12/11/2007 - 13:12

.

Re: The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing
12/11/2007 - 13:56

Your report is great!

I hope that you probably took great time.

I am waiting for your next report to pleasure.

V.Piguet

thank you very much V.Piguet. Good to have you on board (nt)
12/11/2007 - 22:55

.

Re: The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing
12/11/2007 - 15:13

Thanks for a fascinating article, Alex. Its a real art form. Skeletonized watches are not my cup of tea but I certainly appreciate the art and the artist. I have seen Ms Ullrich work at VC's exhibition at Sotheby's last year. She is a real artist and does magnificent work. She is also wery modest and gracious... a wonderful person doing wonderful work.

thank you for the scans Joseph, seeing Jeanne work is a real pleasure
12/11/2007 - 22:56

nt

Amazing work from Vacheron Constantin and Alex....
12/11/2007 - 15:15

Hi Alex,

Thank you and congratulations for your article.

This is a "Metier d'Art" that Vacheron Constantin has elevated to a very high level, like many of its crafts.

Here are two pictures of a piece from Vacheron Constantin that I saw for the first time the day I saw you for the first time! What a  day!

Perpetual calendar pocket watch from the current Vacheron Constantin collection.

What can you ask after that?

Best regards

Dje

thanks for the scans of the custom made PW and your kind words (nt)
12/11/2007 - 22:57

.

Again, what a report, Alex!!!
12/11/2007 - 15:30

I imagine all the time you spent to collecte all these information for us.

Thank you very much.

It is real and unique craftmanship. It must be great to see this lady working her art to create so beautiful pieces!

If I could visit VC one day, and see this part of the manufacture...

thanks Patrice, yes these articles take me each about 1 month 1/2
12/11/2007 - 22:58

between gathering the info and doing the write up.

As always...I scrapbooked your article Alex! :) ...
12/11/2007 - 19:22

Thank you very much for this interesting review on this very difficult and nice art and its history!

I love the Cabinotier Openwork Minute Repeater...a beauty!! We can notice all the details!

I never had the chance of look at this watche in live!!

It must really be magic to see the hammers and all the gears to move inside!

not only is the repeater beautiful the sound is also amazing! I'm
12/11/2007 - 23:00

trying to gather videos of all the VC repeaters and this will be in it

I am speechless. And I thought VC was old and stale :) (nt)
12/12/2007 - 03:13

  

"Old", yes..but "stale", definitely not.
12/12/2007 - 05:21

Although I must admit that there was a low point in VC's offerings (on average) during the 80's and early 90's, these years were not without their milestones too. 

At present, VC is striving to follow and improve on its traditional strengths (such as skeleton and open-face work), as well as developing new variations (such as in the Overseas line), and new themes to old craft (such as in the Les masques, etc.). 

Yes, "old and stale" are definitely adjectives that do not apply to VC!  Unfortunately, VC does not invest as highly in the loud marketing that most of its competitors engage in, hence the common misconception you mentioned.

That should slowly change with the help of Alex and The Hour Lounge and the growing number of VC afficionados I am so lucky to be amongst.

All the best.

kazumi

It found it in Pris!
12/13/2007 - 03:17

Dear Alex.

I remembered the beautiful tower which I watched in Paris that I visited last year when I read your report. Will not a curve and the sculpture which these, is beautiful be rotors of Cal.1220 definitely?

                          

Merci

V.Piguet

Exactly!! Thank you V. Piguet
12/13/2007 - 09:50

.

Re: Exactly!! Thank you V. Piguet
12/14/2007 - 09:40

really? Alex.

I was surprised.

The motif is really a surprise. the Eiffel Tower !

 So beautiful!

Best regards.

V.Piguet

Re: The Delicate Art of Skeletonizing
03/04/2008 - 10:59
  1. Superb images.  Thank you.