A masterpiece only 6mm wide!

A masterpiece only 6mm wide!

My watchmaker was so impressed with the perfect polish and anglage of this 1870s V&C pallet lever that he took a picture to share with his friends.  I was reminded of his picture when reading a post on another forum discussing watch aesthetics.  Most said they would not wear an "ugly" watch regardless of the brand or movement.  I'm sorry they did not appreciate that beauty can be found inside the case, as it is within the hearts of man heart

Please feel free to add your favorite movement detail photo...

Aye, Dean, 'tis a noble sentiment indeed!
06/29/2012 - 22:04
"I'm sorry they did not appreciate that beauty can be found inside the case". They probably did appreciate it and likely marvelled at the design and manufacture of a beautifully designed and constructed movement. But they still would't wear it...because it does not fulfil their esthetic expectations, quite simply. There are watches shown on this website which I personally consider an esthetic abomination and would only wear in a coffin when I couldn't say "NO!"  :-) But the movement was an absolute gem, lovely to look at and to marvel at. But life is short and choices are many, and most choices are personal (and sometimes very expensive). That's life! Since I, like many others, wear my watch with the dial facing up and the movement assembled and working, I enjoy looking at something beautiful, elegant, creative and pleasing rather than something that looks like it belongs as part of the decor of a boiler room. But, hey, that's just me. smiley And that's why I wear watches from Hamilton, new and vintage  with perfectly nice, utilitarian, unexceptional ETA movements but lovely dials; as well as a VC QP or a Satarello with outstanding faces and exceptionally finished and beautiful cases and  movements which I can admire through their exhibition backs. The watch industry, like the auto industry is highly competitive and companies endeavour to design watches (dial, case and movements) to please different tastes. And one chooses a car or a watch based on many criteria. One can only hope that they choose wisely angel
Thanks for that perspective
06/30/2012 - 00:32
As always Joseph, your forum discussions are erudite and helpful smiley.  Its a character flaw which prevents me from subscribing to form over function.  I've always resonated with Kahlil Gibran's observation, "Of life's two chief prizes, beauty and truth, I found the first in a loving heart and the second in a labourer's hand."  With regards to watches, I'm afraid there is much un-truth in some very pretty watch designs that turns me off in the same way as your reaction to those "esthetic abonimations".  Large cases with tiny movements, needless dial printing, one-off prestige pieces from outside specialists are but a few examples.  Even VC isn't immune to some un-truths, but I've posted enough about that at Purists wink.  That tiny pallet lever is for me an object of sublime beauty, knowing the care that went into a part that most will never look at, and knowing that the worker knew this and still invested the time and effort to create perfection.  I wish I had words to express my admiration for those artist-technicians of the past and present driven by this need for truth.  Style OTOH seems to be a committee decision driven by market research and "me too" management, which only leaves me feeling manipulated when I do fall for a design only to feel cheated by the mechanicals. Say, I was hoping you'd participate in the second part of my post and share a picture of your favorite movement detail...
I know whereof you speak, Dean
06/30/2012 - 01:31
"That tiny pallet lever is for me an object of sublime beauty, knowing the care that went into a part that most will never look at, and knowing that the worker knew this and still invested the time and effort to create perfection." I agree completely having seen the work being performed and even trying myself. It changes artisan to art! As far as posting a photo, I'll have to look through my photos to see if I have anything. I'm working on a post of a recent visit to Europe and meeting with some Loungers. So stay tuned! I do have a real fondness for Geoge Daniels' co-axial escapement which to me is the closest thing to engineering art that I've seen.
A thread topic after my own heart
06/30/2012 - 04:54
Dean,  at times I really feel like we are peas from the same pod, wink.  I also totally understand Joseph as well. I think that many of us try to find the balance, or is it the confluence, of both Beauty and Truth?  (Both of which are more relative than absolute than most people like to admit...which also makes it subjective and "in the eye of the beholder").  I need, to my own eyes and values,  both the truth and beauty in a watch.  That is also one of the major things that attracts me to VC - their watches past and present, have provided more offerings that meet my standards of both "Beauty and Truth"  (they are not the ONLY choice/brand that I enjoy, but are consistently the best in what I am looking for and enjoy). Over time I have developed my own process:  I always look at the movement first and decide whether or not it represents one of the best that has stood the test of time (ironic for a watch movement, isn't it? smiley) .  If it is not vintage, I'll compare the movement with the best vintage ones to see if it is comparable, again all of this is really more subjective.  Then I look at the external aesthetics to see if it is something that I will love looking at all the time. Here are my best movement detail picture, but not necessarily my most favorite (i.e., Steve G, Deniz, and others have posted amazing movement detail pictures in the past).  They are from a Chronometre Royale pocketwatch: BR, Dan
One thing..
06/30/2012 - 06:04
Although I have a few VC's there is this back from the Saltarello that is so wonderful. The photo is not the best, but the work is exquisite!
Re: And One more thing..
06/30/2012 - 06:12
If you look  at the Toledo guilloché pattern face on as partly seen in the first pick below with the moom phase, there is nothing remarkable. But if you light it from the side, all of a sudden the VC Maltese Cross reveals itself (photo 2). It's very neat. Almost like a secret design... Photo 1 Photo 2
So VERY COOL JB
06/30/2012 - 06:59
I love it when I look at a watch, or anything, and find new nuances to the design. Truly hidden Easter Eggs! Thank you so much for sharing this kind of detail/finding! Others, please add what you have as well, PLEASE, :-)
Wonderful depth to that movement Dan
07/05/2012 - 00:23
I appreciate your selection process as well heart.   You know, "Beauty and Truth" wouldn't be a bad motto for a watch company, especially one with the historic roots and artistic merits of Vacheron Constantin, past and present wink.
I have no issues buying a watch based on looks only if
06/30/2012 - 14:12
Price is right (ex I have a Romain Jerome Steampunk model which most WIS would call heresy but its a fun watch which I got at a good price) On the other hand I'm not sure I would buy a watch on movement alone, about 10 years ago when the Datograph came out I bought it just for its movement, I didn't like the dial and probably wore it 50 times in 5 years! So yes I do want a pretty face:-) In a perfect world I want a fantastic movement AND a great design I'll post some component photos on Monday when I have access to my documents
some of my favorite component photos
07/02/2012 - 16:00
Can't argue with these scans, Alex...
07/02/2012 - 22:26
It doesn't take long to warm to these beautiful presentations. Well worth keeping on file!heartTony
Truth and Beauty
07/05/2012 - 00:27
These under-dial pics showcase the very essence of haute horlogerie IMHO...truth and beauty in watchmaking!
I know what you mean Alex
07/05/2012 - 00:26
In particular there are some pieces with very historic movements that have been re-issued, but the faces are so junked-up with superfluous labels that I'd feel awkward wearing it...like an automobile with too much chrome bling indecision.