Vacheron Constantin is pursuing its dialogue with collectors and passionate devotees of Haute Horlogerie by enriching its Métiers d’Art The legend of the Chinese zodiac with the sign of the rat. Symbolizing a strong vitality and intelligence, it will take over from the pig at the Chinese New Year on January 20th 2020. Two new creations, realised in twelve models each, combine the technical excellence of Caliber 2460 G4 with the beauty of artistic crafts.
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 rat, 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 open-worked 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.
Métiers d’Art The legend of the Chinese zodiac, Year of the rat Technical Specification
Developed and manufactured by Vacheron Constantin
31 mm (11¼’’’) diameter, 6.05 mm thick
Approximately 40 hours of power reserve
4 Hz (28,800 vibrations/hour)
Hallmark of Geneva certified timepieces
Hours, minutes, day of the week and date in apertures
Platinum/18K 5N pink gold
40 mm diameter, 12.74 mm thick
Transparent sapphire crystal caseback
Water-resistance tested at a pressure of 3bar (approx.30 meters)
18K gold, hand engraved, Grand Feu enamelled
Hand-engraved platinum/18K 5N pink gold rat
Dark blue/brown Mississippiensis alligator leather with alligator leather inner shell, hand-stitched, saddle-finish, large square scales
Platinum/18K 5N pink gold folding clasp
Polished half Maltese cross-shaped
Delivered with a corrector pen
Limited series of 12 pieces per reference.
Pieces only available through the Vacheron Constantin Boutiques. Price upon request.