The new Métiers d’Art Villes Lumières collection is an invitation to embark upon a nocturnal journey above cities bubbling with creativity. On dials draped with an enamelled base in deep shades, a wide variety of powders creates a bird’s-eye view miniature tableau of these sprawling urban expanses. Traditional Grand Feu champlevé enamelling mingles with hand- applied precious powder, an art never yet used in Fine Watchmaking. The striking and realistic beauty of these Hallmark of Geneva certified timepieces opens up whole new artistic and creative horizons, where traditional skills are constantly nurtured by fresh influences.
The Maison has dreamed up a sparkling encounter between two exceptional arts: Grand Feu champlevé enamelling, a skill passed on for almost three centuries by the Vacheron Constantin artisans; and hand-applied precious powder, a technique mastered by Japanese guest artist Yoko Imai. This is the very first time that this technique has been used on a watch dial to which particles of gold, pearl, platinum and diamond powder are meticulously distilled one by one, endowing the enamel with exceptional radiance. The bright dots of light, placed with the greatest precision, compose a portrait of these broad and majestic urban landscapes. The light effects play across these strikingly realistic roads, rivers and famous landmarks. Certified by the prestigious Hallmark of Geneva, the Métiers d’Art Villes Lumières watches beat to the rhythm of a mechanical Manufacture Vacheron Constantin caliber graced with refined finishing, in accordance with traditional Fine Watchmaking techniques. The first three models in this new collection are dedicated to the nocturnal magic of Geneva, Paris and New York. This night-flight will soon continue over other cities.
For each of the dials, the Vacheron Constantin master enameller first examined the possibilities afforded by champlevé in order to highlight the shapes of the streets, gardens and stretches of water. After hollowing out the gold dial by hand according to the chosen outlines, he then applied successive layers of translucent coloured enamels. Between each coating, the dial is fired at the extremely high temperature of 850°C. Vacheron Constantin invited the Japanese artist Yoko Imai to associate her art with that of the enamelling artisan. Trained by the great Japanese masters, she has developed her own artistic technique: calligraphy-inspired painting on canvas, inspired by precious powder. For Vacheron Constantin, she has for the first time adapted this process to the enamel of a watch dial, while creating a fascinating chiaroscuro effect. To ensure a faithful transcription of the city lights, her deft hands are guided by absolute mastery, unwavering concentration and a special sensitivity. requiring a particular form of concentration and sensitivity. Hand-crafted during more than three months and born from a mingling of artistic crafts, each dial is truly unique. A magnifying glass provided in the presentation box of the timepiece provides a chance to admire the workmanship in all its glorious detail.