“It’s classic with a twist“, smiled Vacheron Constantin Artistic Director Christian Selmoni, in Paris last Thursday for the unveiling of ‘Elégance Sartoriale’ – the watchbrand’s latest collection from the series of Métiers d’Art.
Vacheron Constantin knows all about sartorial elegance. The high watchmaker from Geneva has been dressing the pockets and wrists of gentlemen for over 260 years, and even went so far as to launch its own customizable watch collection with the ‘Quai de l’Ile’ in 2008.
So when it met up with Vitale Barberis Canonico, the oldest textile manufacturer in the world that has been supplying the finest fabrics to the best of tailors since it was founded in Pratrivero Italy in 1663, a shared project of sartorial elegance was developed, resulting in 5 new watch dials inspired by the noblest of fabrics and motifs.
Julien Marchenoir, Vacheron Constantin Brand Equity and Heritage Director explains: “We are watchmakers, but we are also Masters of Art, and in particular the artistic crafts of enamelling, engraving, stone setting and guillochage.”
And here’s the twist: Its perfect mastery of métiers d’art has enabled Vacheron Constantin to seemingly transform the noble elements of gold and enamel into noble “fabrics”, in much the same way as the New Dandy, who triggered the collection, knows all the classic vestimentary codes and dares to transgress them.
The details of each dial are remarkable, and whether your favourite is raspberry red Prince of Wales; royal blue tartan; lavender-toned herringbone; linen-coloured pin stripes; or warm grey windowpane, each gold dial is first decorated with a guilloche motif that recreates the three dimensional geometric patterns and textures particular to each of these tweeds and checks. The guillocheur even fashions a finely gadrooned pattern around the rim, much like the stitching of a hem, before the dial is coated with translucent Grand Feu enamel in colours that best highlight each motif.
The mechanical manual-winding Caliber 1400, just 20.65 mm in diameter x 2.6 mm thick, small enough to be placed off-centre inside the 40 mm 18K white or 18K 5N pink gold case, allows the champagne-coloured tapestry gold subdial to be positioned at 3 o’clock. Rimmed with black painted Roman numerals on a mother-of-pearl hour circle reminiscent of fine shirt buttons, the centre features geometric, paisley or floral tapestry patterns that recall a pocket square or tie, each one studied to perfectly harmonize with the “fabrics” that surround them. On the wrist, the colours and the textures come alive, changing aspect with the angle of the light. For a final sartorial touch, the alligator strap evokes handmade shoes. Twelve timepieces for each of the five dials will be produced this year.
Hallmark of Geneva. Transparent sapphire crystal caseback, water-resistant to 3 bar. Priced at €57,600, with matching cufflinks at €3,000.
Photo Credit: Haute Time. For more information, please visit the official Vacheron Constantin website. Follow Haute Time on Instagram to catch all of the new releases as they happen.\