New Release: Vacheron Constantin Métiers d’Art The Legend Of The Chinese Zodiac — Year Of The Tiger
As the final months of 2021 draws closer and the year of the Ox comes to an end, Vacheron Constantin thinks ahead not to January, but to February first. This is when Chinese New Year celebrations will take place and the year of the tiger will begin. The Swiss brand marks the transition into the new year with two limited edition watches that pay tribute to the auspicious animal. A symbol of good luck that drives away evil spirits, the Tiger also represents power, authority, and strength. Brought to life by Vacheron’s highly skilled craftspeople these watches are true horological masterpieces with added symbolic value. These pieces will surely take a place of pride in just a lucky few collector’s collections.
The Geneva-based brand recently impressed the world with a pair of sporty titanium offerings, the highlight of which was the Overseas Dual-Time Everest Edition that Dave covered here. Now, with summer long gone, and the colder season well underway, VC offers us something a bit more dressy and symbolic of change. We leave behind the Ox and make way for the Tiger.
For this latest release, Vacheron Constantin has found inspiration where both Swiss and Chinese artistic crafts meet. The paper-cutting technique, known in China as Jianzhi is mirrored by the Swiss Scherenschnitt. Both inspire the unmistakable styling of the Métiers d’Art Legend Of The Chinese Zodiac timepieces. However, paper and scissors are left untouched, and it is the masterful enamelers and engravers in VC’s atelier that create the wonderfully detailed dials on these watches. The Tiger itself, hand-engraved in rose gold or platinum, is applied to the center of the dial. It sits, surrounded by the plant motifs, which are hand-etched into the metal of the dial. Expertly crafted, the depth of these elements makes them appear almost three-dimensional.
The ancient technique of Grand Feu enameling is then applied to the dial, carefully coating the intricate engravings. This detail further adds to the depth of the symbols of classic Chinese iconography. Expert craftspeople apply blue enamel in the platinum model and a warm brown for the pink gold watch. This gives the centerpiece of these dials a worthy background upon which to stand. The highly detailed tiger takes center stage, unobstructed by traditional watch hands. The dial becomes a canvas for artistic expression for VCs skilled artisans, allowing the incredible craftsmanship techniques to truly shine. The lack of hands would normally leave us with a watch that would serve no time-telling purpose. Or at least this would be the case, were it not for the ace up Vacheron Constantin’s sleeve.
I’m talking, of course, about Vacheron Constantin’s in-house Calibre 2460 G4. This uniquely designed movement allows for a hands-free indication of the time and date on the watch’s dial. You read the time through four openings, at the 2, 4, 8, and 10 o’clock positions. Elegantly framed, these four color-matched displays indicate hours, minutes, day of the week, and date. The movement uses a dragging mechanism for the hour and minute wheels. This means that the disks slowly rotate as they display the time. The bottom two, serve to indicate the day of the week and date and are equipped with a jumping mechanism. This is all thanks to the incredible engineering of the brand and is just one of the many reasons why it is worthy of its status as a cornerstone of Swiss watchmaking.
This incredible movement, housed in an elegant 40mm pink gold or platinum case, is visible through the sapphire case back. Inside a stunning 22K gold rotor engraved with a guilloché pattern, inspired by the brand’s Maltese cross logo. The movement itself features finishing in accordance with the Hallmark of Geneva. The self-winding movement runs at 28,000 Vph and provides a power reserve of 40 hours. The watches come equipped with a matching hand-stitched alligator strap. They feature the brand’s signature Maltese cross folding clasp in the metal matching the case. Finally, the brand’s logo, printed on the underside of the sapphire crystal, keeps the dial de-cluttered and allows the artistry to shine.
Vacheron Constantin Métiers d’Art The Legend Of The Chinese Zodiac
These pieces bring together Vacheron’s renowned Haute Horlogerie craftsmanship and watchmaking and combine them with the poignant symbol of the Chinese Zodiac in an elegant and impressive manner. VC will only make 24 watches in total; twelve in each of the metals. The watches will be sold exclusively through Vacheron Constantin boutiques, with pricing available on request. For more information on the Vacheron Constantin Métiers d’Art, The Legend Of The Chinese Zodiac Year Of The Tiger watches visit the brand’s website here.