Vacheron Constantin Métiers d’Art the legend of the Chinese zodiac – Year of the ox
Vacheron Constantin Métiers d’Art The legend of the Chinese zodiac – Year of the ox upholds the brand’s reputation for peerless execution of artistic crafts. This latest watch fanfares the reign of the ox and features a hand-engraved dial as well as Grand feu enamelling. The Calibre 2460 G4/2 is housed within the watch’s 40mm case and has been produced to the exacting requirements of the Poinçon de Genève.
Since the mid-19th Century, Vacheron Constantin, the esteemed Genevan Maison, has enjoyed close ties with China. Over the years, the firm has created several watches celebrating Chinese culture.
In recent times, the luxury marque has released limited numbers of Métiers d’Art models, each fanfaring the reign of an animal according to the Chinese zodiac. Previous models have marked the year of the horse, the dog, the rat et al. This year, the high-end watch brand has released a new, ultra-limited timepiece suffused with artistic crafts to mark the year of the ox.
The dial of the Vacheron Constantin Métiers d’Art The legend of the Chinese zodiac – Year of the ox, consistent with its forebears, features a foliage motif. This form of decoration is inspired by the Chinese paper-cutting technique known as Jianzhi, a tradition sharing much in common with Scherenschnitt, a Swiss form of paper-cutting. In the case of this model, the Chinese inspired decoration is etched directly onto the dial’s metal surface, creating subtle depths.
The ox is made of platinum or pink gold, matching the case material. It is engraved and then subsequently applied to the dial surface. The remainder of the dial is suffused with blue or bronze tones, again depending on the case material chosen. These hues are brought to life using the traditional technique of Grand Feu enamelling, where successive layers of enamel are applied and then fired at temperatures of 800°- 900°C. The enameler acquires knowledge with experience. He/she predicts how colours will transition from one shade to another. At all times the enameler must be vigilant in order to avoid the dial bubbling or cracking. The Genevan firm has practised this age-old process for generations and has much in-house expertise, manifest with creations such as Vacheron Constantin Métiers d’Art The legend of the Chinese zodiac – Year of the ox.
This model is equipped with the Calibre 2460 G4/2, a self-winding movement crafted to the exacting standards of the Poinçon de Genève. The dial displays the hours and minutes via two apertures using a dragging-type display, while the day and date are shown using jumping indications.
Prospective purchasers can choose from a platinum or 18-carat pink gold case. Each version is limited to just 12 pieces each.
The brand’s press release
Paper-cutting, at the crossroads between Eastern and Western cultures
China, a nation with which Vacheron Constantin has been cultivating special ties since 1845, first introduce the paper-cutting technique known as Jianzhi, a popular art echoed in Swiss culture through its famous Scherenschnitt paper-cutting. This artistic approach, highlighted in the Métiers d’Art The legend of the Chinese zodiac, has been given a fresh interpretation thanks to the expertise of the master engravers and enamellers.
Allied artistic crafts
The foliage motif appearing on the dial and based on classic Chinese iconography is etched directly in the metal. The pattern remains semi-embedded and stands out from its gold base by a subtle stage-setting of variously accentuating reliefs creating a depth effect. This makes the vegetation appear to be floating over the dial.
Then comes the stage of Grand Feu enamelling, an ancestral technique that remains the preserve of a very few particularly skilled artisans. By applying the enamel in successive layers, the enamel specialist enhances the intensity of the blue or bronze-toned dial. Achieving the necessary mastery of colour and of reactions to firing at temperatures between 800 and 900 degrees Celsius calls for an expertise that can only be acquired over long years of experience. The animal, made of platinum or pink gold, is hand engraved and delicately applied to the dial centre.
A movement that leaves plenty of space for artistic expression
Calibre 2460 G4 makes it possible to create a distinctive and ideal stage-setting for the decorative arts, by giving the central dial motif a starring role. The hands-free time display is achieved through four apertures showing the hours, minutes, days and dates. These indications – the first two of the dragging variety and the last two of the jumping type – proudly embody the longstanding savoir-faire of the Maison in designing and developing original displays. Clearly visible through the sapphire crystal back of the platinum or pink gold case, the 22-carat oscillating weight features a decor inspired by the Maltese cross emblem. All movement components are indeed finely finished in accordance with the criteria of the Hallmark of Geneva, a quality label of which Vacheron Constantin is the most faithful representative.