I especially like internal calipers, certainly very specific complications (such as tourbillon watch models), but crafts remain disciplines that combine beautifully with watchmaking.
We know that the brand manufactures more “classic” complications watches, especially with chronograph watch creations, but it also knows how to work with much more complicated pieces.
By definition, artistic professions combine three criteria:
1 / The implementation of complex knowledge to transform matter
2 / The production of unique objects or small series that present an artistic character.
3 / Proficiency of the profession in its globality.
Vacheron Constantin was inspired by hot air balloons, balloon pilots, also known as airplanes (lighter than air), balloons or airships.
These special balloons certainly needed a touch of madness to open such an important page in aeronautics. Vacheron Constantin wanted to pay tribute to them.
Therefore, the engravers struggled to reproduce historical drawings of five flights made in France between 1783 and 1785 on watch dials.
Golden hot air balloons and hand sculpted find their place in a translucent bottom of enamel plique-à-jour.
Plique-à-jour is a technique that allows light to pass through transparent or translucent enamel.
Two artistic professions to which Vacheron Constantin will associate its 2460 G4 / 1 manufacturing caliber perfectly adapted to the aesthetics of the special sphere.
The bouquet technique
I return to the balloons that occupy a large part of the dial. They were designed using the engraving technique of ramolayage (removing material to draw the relief) to give volume to the balloons. It took no less than 3 weeks to complete each balloon.
The enamel plique-à-jour
The translucent background is the result of the technique of enamel plique-à-jour. It looks like a small stained glass window.
Several colors were chosen: blue, dark blue, turquoise, brown and maroon. These colors will be found in the matching bracelets.
The caliber of the house 2460 G4 / 1
It is obvious that the best way to sabotage this collection would have been to use any size and not be suitable for the properties of the dial.
The caliber allows you to indicate the time through discs housed in counters, thus avoiding the use of your hands, without saving the day and date. In total, four discs: two dragging and two jumping.
The bottom of the case reveals a gold rotor.
Each model tells the story of a flight.
Versailles 1783 evokes a flight in a balloon designed by Étienne de Montgolfier with animals on board. This flight validated that it was possible to breathe at altitude.
Paris 1783 – The pink and gray gold balloon reproduces the first flight with men on board.
Paris 1784 – Aérostier Blanchard equips the globe with a tool to direct his trajectory. A new step is taken.
Bordeaux 1784 – Three Bordeaux travelers are represented.
Bagnols 1785 – An audience of 10,000 people salute this memorable flight.
This magnificent collection was produced in 25 numbered copies.