Flora-Inspired Vacheron Constantin Watch
by roberta naas
Each watch from Vacheron Constantin’s Métiers d’Art-Florilège is crafted in 18k gold; features a diamond-set bezel that houses a mechanical manualwinding Caliber 4400, manufactured in-house; and offers approximately 65 hours of power reserve. There are two versions of each model: one set with pavé diamonds ($125,600), of which only 20 pieces of each flower will be produced, and one with a baguette-diamond bezel ($154,400), of which only five of each will be made. By special order only.
So compelling is the beauty of blossoms, Vacheron Constantin—which made history this year by focusing primarily on women’s watches at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie exhibition in Geneva—has chosen to meld nature and science in the latest edition of its Métiers d’Art series.
Dedicated to the beauty of nature’s finest flowers, the Métiers d’Art-Florilège was inspired by three of Robert John Thornton’s 18th-century botanical drawings: The China Limodoron, The White Lily, and The Queen, from his 1799 book of illustrations, The Temple of Flora. Previous Métiers d’Art editions consisted of men’s watches exclusively, so “it was time to pay homage to women, and nature’s finest flowers made perfect sense,” says Hugues de Pins, president of Vacheron Constantin North America.
Vacheron Constantin’s many artists realized the flowers in miniature on the watches’ dials, via fine Grand Feu cloisonné enamel and guilloche engraving. For the fine craft of hand enameling, the brand turned to one of Switzerland’s best independent artists specializing in this field: Anita Porchet. She has worked with the company many times before and interprets the art by hand onto the dial using a fine horsehair brush. Due to this hand-craftsmanship, each dial is unique, and each undergoes more than a dozen firings in a kiln that at any moment could compromise the dial. The result is a lifelike profusion of color and realistic depth and perspective.
“These watches utilize all of our artisan crafts, from engraving to enamel work, gem-setting, and of course haute horology,” says de Pins. “It was a challenge to reproduce those drawings in miniature on a watch dial, but we like challenges. We are building a watch that is forever.”
photography courtesy of vacheron constantin