SIHH 2014:Metiers d'Art Mecaniques Ajourees

from the press release


SIHH 2014:Metiers d'Art Mecaniques Ajourees
  Through its new creations, Vacheron Constantin weaves subtle ties between two worlds that evolved in similar ways in the late 19th century: architecture and watchmaking. Based on one of the stellar in-house movements, Calibre 4400, this sculptural work with its airy, transparent and finely arched construction exalting the art of openworking vividly evokes the large European railway stations symbolising the golden age of the industrial revolution. The engraver’s technique is reinvented to resemble that of the sculptor, revealing fascinating light effects conveyed through a three-dimensional architecture enhanced by another artistic craft: that of Grand Feu enamelling.

  New milestones in the art of engraving   Openworking a movement is a demanding art, since it involves hollowing out the mechanical parts as much as possible, while being careful not to impair the smooth running of the watch. Watchmakers generally start with a solid existing calibre on which they undertake a lengthy process involving conceptualisation, design and modelling, in order to weave the magic of openworking. The new Métiers d’Art Mécaniques Ajourées is no exception to this rule, since it features the first openworked version of an iconic in-house movement: hand-wound Calibre 4400. It took several hundreds of hours to achieve the perfect balance between airy aesthetic appeal and optimal functionality. The watchmakers and artisans of the Manufacture compounded the already impressive feat of removing almost half the material compared with the solid Calibre 4400 by addressing another challenge: that of transforming the new movement into an authentic three-dimensional architectural work expressing striking light and shadow effects. To achieve this, they have laid new milestones in the age-old art of hand engraving. 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. The subtle alchemist’s blend of these hand-crafted finishes is further exalted by the relief effect of the engraved vaults in a process involving over three days of work for a single calibre and endowing it with unique character.
SIHH 2014:Metiers d'Art Mecaniques Ajourees


SIHH 2014:Metiers d'Art Mecaniques Ajourees


SIHH 2014:Metiers d'Art Mecaniques Ajourees

  When one artistic craft transcends another   A contemporary reinterpretation of the ancestral art of hand engraving, the finely openworked mechanism of the Métiers d’Art Mécaniques Ajourées model is further ennobled by another artistic craft in which the Manufacture Vacheron Constantin has excelled since its origins: Grand Feu enamelling. Once again demonstrating the full extent of their expertise, the in-house enamelling artisans have created a ring topping the calibre by dint of meticulous work calling for extreme virtuosity, since the circular shape of the ring to be enamelled implies substantial risks of distortion. This perilous exercise thus brilliantly performed was compounded by a further difficulty: that of achieving one of the shades most difficult to create with Grand Feu enamel: a deep and opaque black. This was a daunting challenge, since the darker the colour, the more the light reflects even the slightest imperfections. To render the full beauty of this black hue, the master enamellist had to create a perfectly smooth and uniform surface so as to avoid the appearance of any undesirable bubbles during the successive firings of the enamel.


SIHH 2014:Metiers d'Art Mecaniques Ajourees
  Interpreted in black, blue and grey versions, the Grand Feu enamelled ring is accentuated by Roman numerals evoking those of the central clocks in the large railway stations of late 19th century Europe, thereby forming a visible connection with the architectural motifs engraved on the calibre.


SIHH 2014:Metiers d'Art Mecaniques Ajourees

SIHH 2014:Metiers d'Art Mecaniques Ajourees

SIHH 2014:Metiers d'Art Mecaniques Ajourees

SIHH 2014:Metiers d'Art Mecaniques Ajourees

SIHH 2014:Metiers d'Art Mecaniques Ajourees

SIHH 2014:Metiers d'Art Mecaniques Ajourees

SIHH 2014:Metiers d'Art Mecaniques Ajourees

In its High jewellery version, the Métiers d’Art Mécaniques Ajourées welcomes another artistic craft into its fascinating orchestration: gem-setting. 42 baguette-cut diamonds light up the bezel, echoed by the 12 baguette-cut diamonds set on the clasp of the saddle-stitched hand-sewn alligator leather strap. The entire piece is set with 54 baguette-cut diamonds of approximately 2.80 carats.

SIHH 2014:Metiers d'Art Mecaniques Ajourees
SIHH 2014:Metiers d'Art Mecaniques Ajourees

SIHH 2014:Metiers d'Art Mecaniques Ajourees
 
Absolutely stunning. I aspire to own this. Not sure which
01/19/2014 - 12:05
Version but I really aspire to own this even though I have the patrimony traditionelle manual wind with the same movement. And I know this will cost as much as a small apartment. But it is so gorgeous.
Re: Absolutely stunning. I aspire to own this. Not sure which
01/21/2014 - 15:46
The blue ones is beyond breathtaking , it deserve a place in your collection :)
Grand Feu enamel is very elegant
01/19/2014 - 14:02
my favourite is black - pure discreet elegance.
For me it's either Black or Blue.
01/19/2014 - 14:46
...
Will these boutique only?
01/19/2014 - 15:10
I feel this watch in pictures is a home run. Can't wait to see them in person. Best, Joe
It's wonderful to see the cal 4400 as a skeleton model
01/20/2014 - 00:42
and what incredible work the watchmakers have accomplished. The grey one is my favorite. The photos are incredible sharp and it is a pleasure to study all the details of the watch.   Cheers Kent  
Lost in the details...
01/20/2014 - 17:08
These pieces are both fascinating and mesmerizing, with so much detail to study and admire heart.  I love the tiny cartouche bearing the Poincon de Geneve!
Alex, what is the case size and diameter of these pieces? Also
01/20/2014 - 19:40
What is the enamel colour the only difference between the three pieces or is it also case and / or movement material?
The pieces are on the website with full details. I'm still drooling
01/21/2014 - 17:57
Over this one.
An absorbing 'Press Release'...
01/20/2014 - 21:11
The various interpretations, so beautifully demonstrated,  are a credit to everyone associated with the design and manufacture. Expressing a preference isn't easy either. To say one is spoilt for choice has to be an understatement! I am confident that SIHH will be an excellent platform to promote both interest and sales. Tony
Even Better in Person
01/22/2014 - 13:51
Thank you Alex, for the opportunity to see and handle these beautiful new pieces.  They are even more beautiful on the wrist than in the photos.
Wonderful model in hands
01/22/2014 - 14:41
Thanks Alex for your enthusiastic and wonderful meeting with many friends and new Hour Loungers. This model is very impressive for the meticulous engraving  work done and also for the marvelous case designed by Vincent for Metier d'art collection. More than words, have a look at photos taken with the blue version.  Congratulations to VC team.  Black and blue version have my favor. Grey seems more discreet and classic to my eyes. Cheers, Liger
Re: Wonderful model in hands
01/22/2014 - 15:40
Great watch!!! It looks even better with these pics!!
Re: Wonderful model in hands
01/24/2014 - 04:40
My favorite of SIHH. Thanks for posting these "live" shots. Regards, Dan
Really beautiful!
01/24/2014 - 04:43
The metiers d'art series never falis to delight but thses pieces are truly spectacular. I cannot wait to see this at the Boutiques in the year to come. For me these pieces are the highlight of SIHH this year. Regards, Dan