Rare Air: The 2023 Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Collection
Today, Vacheron Constantin releases a series of unique watches within its Les Cabinotiers line. As we will see, these models bring mechanical complexity, but that’s likely their least notable attribute. The incredible engravings and gem setting are the true stars of the show. Let’s briefly look at these amazing timepieces.
To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t overly familiar with the Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers program until I was invited to view a press release regarding today’s new models. In short, this is the brand’s bespoke department where custom one-off creations emerge from the workshops. They feature high levels of technical prowess as well as stunning displays of artistry. In addition to working on customer requests, there is an annual “collection” of unique pieces. Today, we will look at this year’s series, the Récits de Voyages. Translating to “Travel Stories,” these watches take their inspiration from Vacheron’s history of global expansion.
The Les Cabinotiers Minute Repeater Tourbillons
The first two pieces within this year’s Les Cabinotiers collection feature the in-house 2755 TMR, a hand-wound tourbillon caliber with a minute repeater. A white gold model is inspired by Arabaesque and the fact that Vacheron began trading with Turkey in 1817 and Egypt in 1865. In this case, the engraving patterns come from the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, and the work took three months to complete. With such a complication, it’s unsurprising that these are large watches at 44mm in diameter and 13.50mm thick.
The second model, in yellow gold, celebrates Vacheron Constantin’s work in the United States since 1832 and takes its cues from the Art Deco period. We heard references to the Chrysler Building in New York City during the press launch, and this inspiration can be seen in the shapes on the dial. Speaking of this, Vacheron uses a combination of champlevé enameling and wood marquetry. Yes, the dial contains 110 individually cut and sanded pieces of pearwood and tulipwood. Extraordinary!
The next watches within the Les Cabinotiers collection celebrate memorable places for the brand. Specifically, Vacheron has created four unique pieces to show a link between Geneva and Asia. All of the watches are 40mm wide and 9.10mm thick and feature the in-house ultra-thin automatic movement (just 2.4mm thick). Three pieces come in 5N rose gold, while one is cased in white gold.
Vacheron’s artisans utilize a combination of engraved and damascened gold plates along with micro-sculpting and engraving. Each of the dials is said to have taken at least 200 hours to complete. As far as the scenes, the white gold piece celebrates Vacheron’s former home until 1875, La Tour de l’Île. The other dials represent Angkor Thom, Beijing’s Old Summer Palace, and the entry to Confucius Temple and The Imperial College Museum.
Les Cabinotiers Malte Tourbillon
The Malte Tourbillon celebrates Haussmannian style and Vacheron’s agency in Paris since the beginning of the 19th century. This stunning watch recalls the works of Georges Eugène Haussmann in Paris, and the engravings are done in his style. The 38mm × 48.3mm 5N pink gold watch features the 2790 SQ hand-wound tourbillon.
The case and the movement have received incredible amounts of engraving. Here, the work took over 150 hours. The precision is mind-boggling with impressively consistent depths of around 4/10 of a millimeter.
The Armillary Tourbillon
The Armillary Tourbillon also celebrates the Art Deco style, but this time, the watch is meant to celebrate the Americas as a whole. Vacheron began working in the USA, Brazil, and Mexico in the first half of the 1800s. This 45mm × 20.10mm 2N yellow gold watch uses the brand’s masterpiece caliber 1990. The movement is manually wound and has a biaxial tourbillon with retrograde hours and minutes display.
This Les Cabinotiers model is also rich with engravings on its case and has hand guilloché on the front of the movement, which bears a black DLC coating. The engravings alone on this watch took over one month to complete.
Les Cabinotiers Grisaille High Jewellery
The final piece in this year’s Les Cabinotiers collection is the Grisaille High Jewellery. This watch relates to the importance of China and features a grisaille enamel dragon on its dial. The 40mm white gold case contains 146 hand-set baguette-cut diamonds and houses the ultra-thin 1120 automatic caliber.
Grisaille, meaning “grayness,” is a style of enameling that uses gray tones exclusively on a dark-colored background. Each layer must be fired precisely in a kiln to reveal the deep and fine details of the chosen motif. As mentioned, the watch features a dragon over a dark green enamel backdrop.
We hope you enjoyed this look at this year’s stupendous Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers watches. Naturally, if you desire more detail, there is a wealth of information on Vacheron’s official website.