For three centuries, Vacheron Constantin has perpetuated the tradition of “Les Cabinotiers”, the name originally given to the prestigious watchmakers who exercised their art in light-filled workshops located on the top floors of Geneva buildings. Exceptional bespoke timepieces were devised at the time, brimming with a rare degree of technical and aesthetic complexity, inspired by astronomy, science and art. Today, Vacheron Constantin continues this tradition to create highly technical and incredibly creative timepieces, offering one-of-a-kind watches, as well as specially commissioned bespoke timepieces.
Engineers, designers, master watchmakers and artisans combine their imagination, their expertise and their passion to create every Les Cabinotiers watch. This Les Cabinotiers collection “Mécaniques Sauvages” shows watches that all spring to vibrant life, through the power
For three centuries, Vacheron Constantin has perpetuated the tradition of “Les Cabinotiers”, the name originally given to the prestigious watchmakers who exercised their art in light-filled workshops located on the top floors of Geneva buildings. Exceptional bespoke timepieces were devised at the time, brimming with a rare degree of technical and aesthetic complexity, inspired by astronomy, science and art of the majestic wild animals adorning their dials and cases. Each watch in this one-of-a-kind assortment reflects the stunning work involved in the expertise of watchmaking with the mastery of Artistic crafts
Vacheron Constantin’s Les Cabinotiers department perpetuates this tradition through one-of-a-kind watches which the Maison proposes to its clients, or creations specially commissioned by the latter. Master watchmakers, engineers, designers and artisans explore the most advanced technologies associated with artistic crafts, while respecting fine workmanship and traditional skills that are faithfully passed on within the Manufacture.
The new Mécaniques Sauvages models are the latest illustration of this approach. The off-centred time and date displays driven by the 2460 G4 calibre leave ample space in the dial center for tigers to spring into action through pounced ornament engraving and wood marquetry.
Whether singly or combined, engraving and wood marquetry give life to these timepieces through a play on contrasts, colours and volumes that reproduce the stances and character of wild animals, the atmosphere pervading their surroundings, as well as the luxuriance of nature. These ancestral artisanal techniques call for patience and meticulous care, as well as several years of experience.
Les Cabinotiers Majestic Tiger models highlight the association between bas-relief engraving for the animal and wood marquetry for the background landscape and foliage.
Engraving intensifies the rendering by highlighting the relief, the finishes and the matte surfaces. The pounced ornament or bas-relief technique consists in sculpting gold to create a three-dimensional impression. A kind of “trompe l’oeil” effect makes it seem as if the tigers are on the move, striding through the jungle or ready to leap from high rocks. With extreme precision, the master engraver plays with various surface finishes, subtly alternating between matt, polished, satin-brushed and chased techniques to create contrasts that will bring the animals to life, or else using black oxidation as a means of accentuating the tigers’ stripes. This extreme attention lavished on finishing is a Vacheron Constantin signature. Recreating the tigers involves no less than 60 hours.
The marquetry technique serves to compose the motif using a multitude of tiny, individually hand-cut wood veneers in various shades and shapes. About 130 pieces of wood have been assembled for the foliage surrounding the ‘majestic tiger’. Five to twenty types of wood were used for each of the dials, depending on the complexity of the decorations. The richness of this chromatic range accentuates the realism of the scene that takes shape under the expert hand of the master artisan, who crafts each of these unique pieces with delicacy and sensitivity. In well-defined and accurate touches that are almost intuitive thanks to his wealth of experience, he cuts each piece, carefully nesting them, directing the grain of the wood and aligning the fibers.
Calibre 2460 G4 has chosen to tame time by driving displays of the hours, minutes, day and date through four apertures arranged around the dial circumference, thereby giving pride of place to the freely interpreted tiger.
One of the challenges facing the master watchmakers was to incorporate a reading of time that is both technically and aesthetically compatible with the dial design. The automatic calibre 2460 G4, entirely developed and crafted by the Maison, thus leaves room for a singular and optimalstage-setting for decorative arts, allowing the central dial motif to play a starring role. The hand-free displays appear through four apertures: hours between 11 and 12 o’clock, minutes between 1 and 2 o’clock, days between 7 and 8 o’clock and the date between 4 and 5 o’clock. These indications are provided by a quartet of four discs: the first two of the dragging type and the latter two of the jumping variety. Endowed with a 40-hour power reserve, the 2460 G4 calibre is housed in a 41 mm-diameter gold case. Decorated in keeping with the highest standards of watchmaking finishing, it is generously revealed through the transparent case back.
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