The latest offering (Ref 86222/000G-B916) from the Maison’s Métiers d'Art Villes Lumières collection focuses on Sydney, as it continues to celebrate night-time aerial views of world cities. The collection was first announced in 2016 as a trio of timepieces, each of which bore an artistic impression of night-time, aerial views of three major world cities that have profoundly impacted the universe of art. The cities were Geneva, Paris and New York. Subsequent additions included Beijing and Tokyo before arriving at the Australian metropolis.
The collection marries two exceptional arts: grand feu champlevé enamelling (a skill passed on for centuries by Vacheron Constantin artisans) and application of hand-applied precious powder, a technique mastered by Japanese guest artist Yoko Imai, who has developed her own artistic technique, referred to as calligraphy-inspired painting on canvas. For Vacheron Constantin, she adapted the process to the enamel of a watch dial to create a striking chiaroscuro effect. This unique technique uses particles of gold, pearl, platinum and diamond powder that are meticulously distilled one by one, lending an exceptional radiance to the enamel. Each of the powder specks is chosen according to its size and shimmer and then worked on from several angles and with various types of light. The bright dots of light are then precisely placed, creating striking impressions of roads, rivers and landmarks as part of the miniature city tableau. Each dial is handcrafted over a period of more than three months and is truly unique.
On the dial of the Sydney model, the golden gleam of the grand feu champlevé enamel reveals the deep blue waters of the Pacific Ocean and emerald green parks and gardens. Legendary landmarks, such as the Opera House, the historic port of Walsh Bay and the Harbour Bridge, are brilliantly contoured. Gold dust boats glide across enamelled water and the streets and the centres of activity shine bright, testifying to the vibrant nightlife of the Australian city.
The timepiece — like all others in the collection — is certified by the Hallmark of Geneva. The watch is run by the mechanical self-winding Calibre 2460 SC, visible through the transparent caseback. The 22-carat gold oscillating weight features a decoration inspired by the Maison’s signature emblem: the Maltese cross. The movement is protected by an 18 ct white gold case, 40 mm in diameter. The 18 ct gold dial features grand feu champlevé and translucent enamel and powder of precious stones (diamonds and pearl) and precious metals (gold, platinum), filled by hand, and sits on a black alligator leather strap. The name of the city is engraved on the back. With a power reserve of approximately 40 hours and ticking at a frequency of 4Hz, the watch offers a water resistance of 30 metres.
The Sydney model stays true to the essence of the Métiers d’Art Villes Lumières collection and is a horological creation that aligns with the Vacheron Constantin traditions of artistic crafts. The striking dial offers an original view of Sydney and is a testament to the art of watchmaking that is creative, inspired and in a constant state of reinvention. The timepiece is exclusively available at Vacheron Constantin boutiques.