As you certainly know the Only Watch auction is held every 2 years, watch brands offer unique pieces to be auctioned, the proceeds of which will go to reachearch against muscular dystrophies.
For the 2015 edition that will be held in Geneva on Nov 7, Vacheron Constantin has created a unique Métiers d’Art Mécaniques Ajourées timepiece (in a 40mm white gold case) with an outer enamel ring- a color extremely difficult to obtain in enamel: red (a tribute to the Principality of Monaco where the research center is based).
The hand wound skeleton caliber 4400 is painstakingly hand engraved taking 3 full days of work for just one caliber.
To achieve a 3D effect rather than using a bocfil or tiny handsaw to cut out the smooth surface of the mainplate and bridges before drawing them out with a file and chamfering them, the engraving artisans have carefully chased the parts around their entire circumference so as to create a true sculpture with its own volume and depth.
Inspired by the ribbed vaults of late 19th century railway stations, they have meticulously applied their burins to creating delicate arches on the calibre in a fascinating architecture built around curves. These rounded shapes are a complete change from the straight lines of classic openworked movements, and imply an even more complex process of chamfering and hand-drawing. Amid a clever interlacing pattern of interior angles that only the human hand is capable of creating, the polished zones catch the light, while the matt finish of the hand-drawn surfaces further heighten the contrast with the radiance of the polished areas.