The new Vacheron Constantin Métiers d’Art Villes Lumières collection is an invitation to embark upon a nocturnal journey above cities bubbling with creativity. On dials draped with an enamelled base in deep shades, a wide variety of powders creates a bird’s-eye view miniature tableau of these sprawling urban expanses. Traditional Grand Feu champlevé enameling mingles with hand-applied precious powder, an art never yet used in Fine Watchmaking. Joining the Métiers d’Art Villes Lumières Geneva, Paris and New York, the new Beijing piece makes its appearance.
The Maison has dreamed up a sparkling encounter between two exceptional arts: Grand Feu champlevé enameling, a skill passed on for almost three centuries by the Vacheron Constantin artisans; and hand-applied precious powder, a technique mastered by Japanese guest artist Yoko Imai. This is the very first time that this technique has been used on a watch dial to which particles of gold, pearl, platinum and diamond powder are meticulously distilled one by one, endowing the enamel with exceptional radiance. The bright dots of light, placed with the greatest precision, compose a portrait of these broad and majestic urban landscapes. The light effects play across these strikingly realistic roads, rivers and famous landmarks. The first models in this new collection are dedicated to the nocturnal magic of Geneva, Paris, New York and Beijing. As time goes by, this night-flight will continue over other cities.The Métiers d’Art Villes Lumières collection perpetuates the age-old Vacheron Constantin tradition of artistic crafts.
The miniature tableaus that Yoko Imai has composed faithfully reproduce the real ‘light cartography’ of the cities, with their various sorts of light, such as variously animated districts and even traffic density! This incredibly meticulous work on the map of each city called for several weeks of research and trials on various base materials. Trained by the great Japanese masters, she has developed her own artistic technique: calligraphy-inspired painting on canvas, inspired by precious powder. For Vacheron Constantin, she has for the first time adapted this process to the enamel of a watch dial, while creating a fascinating chiaroscuro effect. To ensure a faithful transcription of the city lights, her deft hands are guided by absolute mastery, unwavering concentration and a special sensitivity. requiring a particular form of concentration and sensitivity.
The flyover begins with Geneva, the cradle of technical and precious watchmaking, renowned for having nurtured the art of miniature painting on enamel. Vacheron Constantin was born in the heart of the town, in the St Gervais district, where the cabinotiers had their workshops. Then comes Paris, the “City of Light” par excellence, a favorite among artists, philosophers and writers, known the world over for the inimitable elegance of its style. The aerial view of the capital retraces the life of iconic landmarks such as the Place de l’Étoile and the Champs-Elysées, the Seine, as well as the Eiffel Tower famed for its light effects, viewed from above and engraved in gold. The journey continues with New York, the city that never sleeps, a symbol of dreams and effervescence, where everything is possible. Reproducing it stretches the technique of applying precious powders to its absolute limits, with the highest vantage point that could possibly be depicted. Sprinkled across the Grand Feu enamel, tens of thousands of precious dots animate the luminous outlines of Manhattan Island with Central Park, the Hudson River and Brooklyn.
Finally, the twinkling lights of Beijing appear. The shimmering glow of the Imperial City viewed from above carries a hint of its manifold splendours testifying to a proud history. The more intense halos of certain monuments, landmarks and particularly animated streets surround the vast Forbidden City, which remains less brightly lit and more mysterious. The Meridian Gate, the Gate of Heavenly Peace and Tian’anmen Square can be distinguished on this meticulous cartography composed of enamel and precious powders. Powered by the Vacheron Constantin automatic calibre 2460 SC, the movement is visible through the transparent case-back, the 22K gold oscillating weight features a finely executed decoration inspired by the Maltese cross, the Vacheron Constantin signature emblem. The watch is exclusively sold at the Vacheron Constantin Boutiques and is a unique piece for each city.
Sticker Price $120,000 USD. For more info on Vacheron Constantin click here.
Technical Data - Métiers d’Art Villes Lumières
References: 86222/000G-B101 – Geneva
86222/000G-B104 – Paris
86222/000G-B105 – New York
86222/000G-B107 - Beijing
Movement: Automatic calibre 2460 SC with 40 hours of power reserve, beating at 4 Hz —28,800 vph—, composed of 182 components and 27 jewels.
Case: 40 mm wide by 8.9 mm thick in 18K white gold and water resistant to 30 meters.
Dial: 18K gold dial with Grand Feu champlevé & translucent enamel and powder of precious stones —diamonds, pearl— & precious metal —gold, platinum— filled by hand.
Strap: Black large square scales alligator leather with alligator inner shell and half Maltese cross-shaped pin buckle in 18K white gold.
Accessories: Delivered with a magnifying glass and the name of the city is engraved on the back of the timepiece.