Representing a symbiosis of several crafts, the new Vacheron Constantin Métiers d’Art Les Univers Infinis replica watch trilogy uses the technique of periodic paving to create a strikingly hypnotic effect.
Vividly expressing the creativity of the Master Craftsmen whose skills are so greatly valued by the Manufacture, they illustrate the ties between watchmaking and culture that Vacheron Constantin has been perpetuating ever since its founding. At the crossroads between past, present and future, these timepieces embody the challenges taken up by the artisans of Vacheron Constantin and governed by a combination of talent, discipline and instinct.Another skill highlighted by Vacheron Constantin, gold and mother-of-pearl marquetry, is associated with those of engraving, enamelling, gemsetting and guilloché work to create trompe l’oeil dials featuring infinitely entwined elements of geometry, movement and symbolism.
Representing the second chapter in a collection presented in 2012 at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva, the steel fake VC Métiers d’Art Les Univers Infinis creations, inspired by the work of Dutch artist Cornelis Escher, pursue this glowing tribute to the graphic art of tessellation.
The space on the dials is filled with perfectly interlocking repetitive motifs, thereby creating a world of optimal illusion and perspective, beautifully framed by a white gold case. The slender bezel ensures a maximum dial opening, while the elegant hands are hollowed so as to provide full expressive scope for the art of tessellation.
The Hallmark of Geneva certified watches are driven by Calibre 2460, a mechanical self-winding movement entirely developed and crafted by Vacheron Constantin. In addition to its reliability, it bears manual finishes performed in keeping with the finest Fine Watchmaking traditions. The polished angles, hand-drawn flanks, circular-grained mainplate, bridges adorned with a Côtes de Genève motif and the gold oscillating weight featuring the elegant crossweave guilloché pattern, are all clearly visible through the sapphire crystal case-back.
On the dial of this fascinating model, angels and demons face off in a contrast that is both symbolic and aesthetic. The former are in light, the latter in darkness, yet neither side appears to prevail over the other.
Working with a white gold base, the engraver first traces the outlines of the figures and then hollows them out as cells using the champlevé technique. Next comes the copperplate engraving that defines the details of the demons. The enameller fills the cavities thus hollowed out, an operation requiring infinite precision in that the repetitive symmetry of the pattern simply cannot tolerate even the tiniest flaw. After several firings in the kiln, during which the grey and blue colours are progressively set in place, the artisan applies a final layer of translucent enamel to the imps in order to accentuate the depth of the engraved motifs. The guillocheur then moves into action to craft the angel robes and wings by patiently incising the colourful material. It is extremely rare that guilloché work on an enamelled model is done as the last phase, precisely due to the extreme complexity of such an operation, since any slip of the tool could jeopardise the precious work of an entire team of artisans.
Inspired by research conducted by Maurits Cornelis Escher on the “circular boundary” – involving décor composed of infinitely multiplied elements radiating out from a central point – the stainless steel Vacheron Constantin copy watch portrays these respective figures through a subtle combination of the arts of engraving, enamelling and guilloché work, skilfully playing on depth and shimmering mirror-like effects.