SIHH 2009 novelty: Haute Joaillerie

Press Release

Vacheron Constantin and Haute Joaillerie
A Diamond-studded Success Story

Vacheron Constantin presents an extraordinary trilogy
dedicated to horological virtuosity and the tradition of jewellery making.

First, the brand pays tribute to 30 years of the Kallista
with the Kallania, a world first in terms of execution and the number of carats.

Then, a first in horology, it uses the flame diamond-cut
to stunning effect in two captivating horological gems.

Finally, with the Malte Tourbillon Regulator, high-tech horology
marries with the most sophisticated and delicate of all settings: the invisible setting.

Works of art in their own right, these four exceptional pieces
sublimate the craft of the gem-setter for whom each precious stone
is a challenge demanding infinite precision and patience.

Métiers d’Art: carefully fostered by Vacheron Constantin

Vacheron Constantin has always combined, at the very highest level, aesthetic expression with the finest mechanical engineering through its use of the Métiers d’Art, traditional craftsmanship and the pursuit of excellence. Throughout its long history, the brand with the Maltese cross has employed the leading craftsmen of the time to produce the very best in both finishing and decoration. This traditional and exclusive expertise has made its reputation and been passed down from generation to generation for over 250 years.

The visionary spirit that guides the craftsmen of the Manufacture links past, present and future in a single overriding commitment to enlightenment, wonder and discovery. Behind this savoir-faire, the human challenges, the true sources of creativity, lie hidden at the heart of its timepieces. This dynamic is present at every stage of the manufacturing process, from design to finishing, with the result that each creation becomes an integral part of the heritage of watchmaking.

Besides the emulation it inspires, this quest for perfection comprises a shared expertise which unites the master craftsmen of Vacheron Constantin. Among these perennial arts, those of jewellery and gem-setting have produced some of the Manufacture’s most resplendent pieces since the beginning of the 19th century.

Since 1755, Vacheron Constantin has focussed on creating what has never been created, on mastering the boldest techniques, and on fusing art and craftsmanship: in other words, on doing better if possible, which is always possible.

The precision and meticulousness behind each creation are an art in themselves, an art that highlights the Métiers d’Art, the enormous human contribution and the Manufacture’s heritage. But are they jewellery watches or watch jewels? Vacheron Constantin brings together the art of watchmaking and the art of jewellery-making in creations that are less about telling the time than savouring an emotion, an emotion intensified by the radiance of diamonds.

Vacheron Constantin pursues its deep commitment to the decorative and technical Métiers d’Art with a masterful demonstration of the savoir-faire nourished for over 250 years by the world’s oldest manufacture.

Over 250 years of scintillating success

The first ladies’ pocketwatches made by Vacheron Constantin were jewellery pieces, the accepted wisdom of the time being that women did not need to keep track of the time and even less to know what it was when they were in society. The Geneva-based manufacture, therefore, designed them as fashion accessories rather than timekeepers. Worn on a chain, suspended from a chatelaine or concealed inside a broach, they ticked away the hours behind the eternal purity of diamonds and the splendour of turquoises, pearls and garnets.

When the brand launched its first wristwatches at the end of the 19th century, it teamed up with the talented Ferdinand Verger, a watchcase manufacturer established in the Place des Victoires in Paris. Their creations, a marriage of watch movements and gemstones, were part of the revival of the jewellery watch.

This was followed in the 20th century by a miracle in miniaturisation: the slimmest baguette-shaped wristwatch in the world housing a movement designed by Vacheron Constantin. The winding-crown positioned on the back of its case opened up aesthetic opportunities in the world of jewellery watches, but still met the Manufacture’s standards of precision.

1979: Kallista, “the most beautiful”, a world record with 130 carats

In 1979, the Manufacture’s expertise produced another legend, the sculptural Kallista, a watch carved from a gold ingot and the fruit of more than 6,000 hours of work. Kallista means “the most beautiful” in Greek and, according to Greek mythology, diamonds were the tears of the gods. 118 stones weighing a record 130 carats cover the slender profile of the Kallista, whose Vacheron Constantin hand-winding movement is the thinnest in the world in its category.

The owner of this divine timepiece was quite right to demand absolute exclusiveness: in the true spirit of the 18th century cabinotiers, only one Kallista was ever made.

This unique masterpiece inspired the great Kalla line, which includes the famous Lady Kalla that won the title of “Montre Joaillerie du Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève” in 2001.

The Flame cut

A first for watchmaking,
a new diamond shape lights up the world of time

Marrying different art forms, combining talents, and innovating while respecting one’s heritage: Vacheron Constantin meets these demands by honouring time with what is beautiful, precious, precise and delightful, and by remaining ever attentive to its own creative intuitions. Today, a new diamond shape has been introduced to the world of watches, the flame cut.

As its name suggests, its sparkling surface skilfully catches the light to reflect it more dramatically through its multiple facets.

The flame cut is not only an aesthetic innovation but, with the complicated process needed to make it, a technical one as well. And it is the first cut in twenty years to be officially recognised by the GIA (Gemmological Institute of America).

The flame cut diamond is distinguished by its perfectly proportioned and resolutely feminine contours. With its symbolic shape, the stone seems to blaze and to dance with a light that is reflected and refracted endlessly through its 57 facets.

The intersections of these facets have been designed with mathematical precision to obtain a perfect combination of lustre, radiance and diffusion of light. The unique sparkle is enhanced by the stones’ slender, asymmetrical contours that pave the way for unique creations that are more about sensation than exactitude.

What also makes the flame cut original is that it is the only one with both a right and a left cut, for which a specific setting has to be developed.

Vacheron Constantin has focussed on the sparkling quality of the flame cut diamond this year and presents two spectacular and novel interpretations of Haute Horlogerie jewellery that are as delicate as they are passionate. And to put the finishing touch to the art of jewellery and jewellery-setting, the Manufacture has housed a prestige mechanical movement at its heart.