Today we’re taking a close up look at the Métiers d’Art Florilège collection by Vacheron Constantin. This exceptional women’s collection pays tribute to traditional 18th century English botanical illustrations.
In 1799, physician and botanist Robert John Thornton published The Temple of Flora, a collection of 90 plates by the top botanical illustrators, painters and plate engravers of the time. These stunning colored engravings of flowers and plants remain a reference point more than two centuries later.
In order to bring these botanical masterpieces to life, Vacheron Constantin teamed up with Anita Porchet, an independent artist specializing in miniatures in fired Geneva-style enameling. The three resulting Florilège models – the Queen, the China Limodoron and the White Lily – were repeatedly fired in an oven at around 800° to deepen colors.
The Queen and the China Limodoron both arrived at Vacheron Constantin’s boutique in New York City this month, where Haute Time had the chance to photograph these beauties.
The Queen model features a strelitzia, a plant native to South Africa which was presented as a tribute to Charlotte, Queen of England, by explorers in 1773. The Queen’s different guilloché patterns and the brilliant enamel colors bring this plant to life with an incredible depth and realism.
Meanwhile, the China Limodoron features an orchid of the same name, a flower which symbolizes wealth and refinement in China. When it first arrived in England in 1778, this extravagant flower became a highly coveted prize for botanists. The fiery red flowers and bright green stalk of this exotic flower contrast beautifully with the creamy white of the enamel.
Each of the Métiers d’Art Florilège models is limited to two editions; one 20-piece edition with round-cut diamonds on the bezel, and another 5-piece edition with baguette-cut diamonds on the bezel. So in total, only 75 pieces between the three models.
They are completed by shiny Mississippiensis alligator leather straps with diamond-set buckles.
And while the Florilège models are seriously beautiful, they also boast serious movements. At the heart of each piece is the mechanical manual-winding Caliber 4400, developed and manufactured by Vacheron Constantin. A sapphire crystal caseback offers a glimpse of the Côtes de Genève on this movement’s bridges and its hand-bevelled baseplate. The Florilège models bear the Hallmark of Geneva and boast a 65-hour power reserve.
Photo credit: Haute Time. For more information please visit the Vacheron Constantin website.