Luxury watch movement decoration is an area of expertise that the Europeans will almost always be able to claim as their own. The finishing and décor process in regards to high-end timepieces is painstakingly long and quite inefficient in our world of modern day technologies. A skilled technician works almost entirely under a microscope for countless hours using tiny tools to polish and engrave the metal that makes up the hundreds of parts of watch movements. Those hundreds of parts are individually attended to with over-the-top care and precision. The watchmaker, movement finisher, and engraver are a rare type of people whose attention to detail and over-the-top care are unmatched in almost any industry. Their dedication to Old World standards of perfection is often in stark contrast to the spirit of our now industrialized society. These people live in the past, and thankfully so. Without them we not have the world of luxury timepieces that we have today.
While competitors in other regions, such as Asia and the U.S., have competent watchmakers of their own, they are frequently more concerned with efficiency and the ability to produce large numbers of items for the marketplace. It is the Europeans, whose strong ties to tradition, reward consumers with the artfully exquisite and beautiful final products that so often earn our adoration; and they continue to do so with a disregard for mass production and high volume.
There are few better iconic examples than this Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Openworked watch in their famous Patrimony collection. From a brand that is literally hundreds of years old, comes watch whose handcrafted movement is beautifully skeletonized and decorated if only to show-off the work that went into it.
Coming in two sizes (30mm wide for the small version and 38mm wide for the large model), the 18K white gold watch with a thin diamond studded bezel contains 64 brilliant cut stones. Gentle and diminutive in stature, the case houses the stripped down hand-assembled mechanical movement. Inside the large version of the watch (pictured here), is a Vacheron Constantin 1120 SQ automatic movement with silver and gold tones emphasizing the various components therein. The movement is also incredibly thin at just 2.45mm thick, and bears the notable hallmark Seal of Geneva stamp. Skeletonization involves removing all excess parts of movement to give the clearest possible view of the mechanics. Wearers can even see their wrists through the dial, as the movement is sandwiched between two sapphire crystals. Look closer and you’ll notice intricate engravings all over the movement bridges, hand-applied to perfection. It is an art form carried over from generations of obsessive dedication.
Even with intense skeletonization the dial is still legible thanks to a chapter ring with hour and minute markers as well as the large dauphine style hands. Wear the watch and you’ll be able to view the spinning gold automatic rotor in the movement while it winds the watch. This tasteful creation is for serious connoisseurs, who have a desire to appreciate a long tradition of watch making excellence and want to look no further than the dial of a watch to recognize it. Priced from $49,500 – $66,000.
Ariel Adams is the Haute Living Watch Editor and also publishes the luxury watch review site aBlogtoRead.com.
- 38mm wide case in 18k white gold
- Hand-stitched black alligator strap
- Vacheron Constantin Maltese cross logo engraved into mainspring barrel
- Bezel set with 64 diamonds
- Viewable gold automatic rotor through watch dial