Introducing Metiers d'Art Chagall & l'Opera de Paris Hommage a Debussy

In 2010 Vacheron Constantin created a unique timepiece The Chagall et l’Opera de Paris - Tribute to the Great Composers whose enamel dial is a reproduction of the Paris Opera Garnier ceiling painted by Chagall in 1964. Vacheron Constantin decided to keep this watch in its private collection but to create 11 unique pieces each representing one of the composers depicted in Chagall's original painting.

Introducing Metiers d'Art Chagall & l'Opera de Paris Hommage a Debussy

The Tribute to Claude Bebussy is the latest model to leave the VC ateliers

Claude Debussy - Pelleas and Mélisande

A major early 20th century opera, Pelleas and Mélisande ushered the musical genre firmly into the vibrant modern age. Its musical aesthetic is beautifully echoed in the painting by Chagall, infused with the energy radiating from a fascinating dialogue between colours: under the painter’s brush, yellow and blue play out their never-ending love story. The enamelled miniature dial of the Métiers d’Art watch in turn confirms that this work presented by Debussy in 1902 is a timeless fable that transcends passing eras and enshrines a kind of floating eternity, at the heart of which the tragic love affair is expressed in all its fanciful and contradictory beauty.

This dial is based on the grand feu Geneva enamel technique. The grand feu enamels used in the Geneva technique reach their point of fusion at an extremely high temperature, between 800°C and 900°C, resulting in exceptional purity and longevity. 

The Geneva technique of miniature enamelling with a protective flux coating is undoubtedly that which requires the greatest expertise from the master enameller. On a dial measuring 1 mm thick and 31.50 mm in diameter, a white base enamel - that is extremely hard because of its high fusion point - is applied on the dial. This dial undergoes a first firing at a temperature of around 900°C in order to be able to withstand the many subsequent firings in the furnace. 

On this white enamel base serving as a “background canvas”, the artist starts by tracing the outlines of the various motifs with a brush consisting of two or three marten’s hairs. Using a strong binocular magnifying instrument, she recreated the atmosphere and the emotional vibrations of the work to be reproduced in miniature. This involved a few touches of colour on the chosen shade, placed in successive points in an extremely precise order, moving throughout the entire process from the softer shades to the purer, brighter ones. The extremely fine powders and pigments used for miniature enamel paintings are blended with oils such as lily flower oil, to make them easier to apply. 

When the miniature enamelled painting has been completed and fired for the last time, it is generally coated with two or three layers of a finishing flux consisting of a transparent enamel serving to protect the work from the potential effects of ageing. Following the final firing of this flux (at 800°C), a fine polish with an abrasive stone is performed, followed by the final polishing operation after the last vitrification in order to achieve the full radiance and pictorial splendour of the work. 

Housed in a 40mm yellow gold case, the heart of the timepiece beats to the cadence of Calibre 2460.

Chagall & l'Opera de Paris Trinute to Debussy 

Chagall & l'Opera de Paris Trinute to Debussy

Introducing Metiers d'Art Chagall & l'Opera de Paris Hommage a Debussy

Chagall & l'Opera de Paris Trinute to Debussy

Introducing Metiers d'Art Chagall & l'Opera de Paris Hommage a Debussy

Chagall & l'Opera de Paris Trinute to Debussy

Splendid, Aerial, BRAVO ;-)))
02/19/2014 - 12:27
I stay speechless looking at this great artistic work. Congratulations. Liger
Bis, bis!
02/19/2014 - 16:26
I love these Chagall pieces.  They are just extraordinary.  I admit, one of the reasons I would like to find a ref. 86180 is to get a cal. 2460SC more affordably, if less artistically, encased.  wink Great job, VC, and thanks for sharing this one, Alex! Best, respo
Gorgeous. Only VC can do this so well. I remember
02/19/2014 - 17:51
holding the Chagall at the VC event in Singapore in 2011.
I'm sure the great artist Marc Chagall would applaud VC's interpretati
02/19/2014 - 20:02
I'm sure the great artist Marc Chagall would applaud VC's interpretation of his art. Well done VC, it works also for me even though I was sceptical at first. Respect!
Re: Introducing Metiers d'Art Chagall & l'Opera de Paris Hommage a Debussy
02/19/2014 - 23:58
Thank you, Alex, for allowing us to view this latest artwork from Mme Porchet for Vacheron Constantin. As my eyes linger over the vibrant forms and colours of her Chagall detail of his Opera House ceiling, the speech center of my brain shuts down. The description of the method of genevois style grand feu enameling only heightens one's sense of awe. This has most definitely been the highlight of my day!
Beautiful dial, one of my favorites of this Collection
02/20/2014 - 02:56
The colors and images are wonderful.  I'm afraid I'm not familiar with the Opera, Pelleas and Melisandes, though frown
I'm afraid I am. :-)
02/20/2014 - 05:33
Oh how I prefer German opera/music drama to French. Regardless of my musical preferences, the watch is a winner!! Bill
More than ever Bill, I'm impressed with your wealth of knowledge
02/20/2014 - 13:39
in so many things!  :-)
Re: I'm afraid I am. :-)
02/20/2014 - 15:42
LOL! Bill "I can't listen to too much Wagner, I start to feel like invading Poland!" Woody Allen
Pelleas et Mesilsande....
02/20/2014 - 16:14
It's like Parsifal without the jokes! :-). (Though I typically bring out that line when talking about an evn more boring opera!) Bill
Re: Introducing Metiers d'Art Chagall & l'Opera de Paris Hommage a Debussy
02/20/2014 - 15:49
A beautiful dial, Alex, really captures the story and Chagall's style. But what a story, so morbid, like an original Grimm' tale. Many, many operas were pretty "grim"!  all the great opera composers used material, a lot of it based on Greek mythology which has many unhappy endings. But even contempory  (at the time) were pretty depressing, Aida, Il trovatore, La Traviata, Rusalka and on and on. There were some brighter one though...but anyway, that's enough meandering indecision
Alex, could you post pictures of all the Opera pieces together
02/20/2014 - 17:07
In one go? Including the main Chagall piece.
I'll do it as soon as all have been delivered :-)
02/20/2014 - 17:31
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Thanks. These watches or miniature works of art will no doubt
02/20/2014 - 19:03
Be an important chapter in modern VC history.
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (SIHH)
02/21/2014 - 15:29
While in Paris, we stopped by the Opera Garnier and managed to get to the floor of the Orchestra, where I took a couple photos of the ceiling.
perfect timing!
02/21/2014 - 15:39
w
Re: Introducing Metiers d'Art Chagall & l'Opera de Paris Hommage a Debussy
04/04/2014 - 02:18
I'll unashamedly expose my amateur knowledge and ask why these pieces don't boast the cross?