Vacheron Constantin - does any other watch brand do more with regard to preservation of Haute Horlogerie traditions, especially the applied arts? The traditional techniques of hand-gulloché, cloisonné enamelling and champlevé enamelling are not only time consuming, they require investment - not just in machinery, but in people too. Years of training, years of practice and years of mentoring are required to bring each individual up to the standards expected, but it is an investment more than worth it - the results are beyond exquisite. The Manufacture has just received an award from the Florens Foundation, in recognition for its commitment to the promotion and protection of artistic crafts - the perfect tie in to this, the latest showcase for the brand's artistic patronage, the Méitiers d'Art The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac which begins with the year of the snake.
As with all pieces in the Méitiers d'Art collection, teamwork is paramount. Each dial moves back and forth from bench to bench as each artisan completes his or her individual painstaking part of the process. First the leaf motif is hand-etched onto the dial then the splendid snake is reproduced in the dial centre, his scales alone requiring up to 30 hours of hand-crafting.
Then comes the highly specialised technique of Grand Feu enamelling, built up layer upon layer, timed and fired to perfection with no room for error. The entire scene presents a 3-D aspect, particularly the snake, who is so imposing that he commands, and deserves dial domination. This is achieved thanks to a hands-free time display featuring four apertures which indicate the hours, minutes ( via drag display) and the day and date (using much more compelling jump mechanisms).
The intrinsics are as admirable as the extrinsics, inside the Calibre 2460 G4 has the superlative finishing required by the Hallmark of Geneva with the added luxury of a 22 carat gold rotor, characterised by the brand's Maltese Cross form. Each piece is presented in a 40mm polished case in either 18K pink gold or platinum, limited to 12 pieces of each variation.
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