Vacheron Constantin Hand Engraved and Openworked Unique Piece for Only Watch 2015

July 19, 2015

Here is Vacheron Constantin’s unique creation for Only Watch 2015: the Métiers d’Art Mécaniques Ajourées timepiece, featuring a painstakingly hand engraved and skeleton caliber 4400 set in a 40mm white gold case, and a red outer enamel ring. The red is an extremely difficult color to obtain in enamel, and in this case is also symbolic of the the Principality of Monaco where the Monaco Association against Muscular Dystrophy research center (the recipient of the Only Watch auction proceeds) is based. As noted earlier this week, the the Only Watch charity auction is held every 2 years, and for 2015 there are about 40 watch brands that will be offering unique pieces at the Geneva auction & event this November. Vacheron has put forth an admirable piece for the event.

Openworking (or “skeletonizing”) a movement is a demanding art, since it involves hollowing out the mechanical parts as much as possible, while being careful not to impair the integrity of the mechanical action of the watch. Watchmakers generally start with a solid existing caliber on which they undertake a lengthy process involving conceptualization, design and modelling to achieve the desired effect. This unique piece Métiers d’Art Mécaniques Ajourées is no exception, since it features the manual wind, openworked Calibre 4400SQ (‘SQ’ for squelette, or skeleton) which took several hundreds of hours of work to achieve the balance between airy aesthetic appeal and optimal functionality.

And then there is the grand feu (‘grand fire’) enamelling. The red enamel ring which tops the caliber is not only difficult to achieve for the sake of its delicate shape, but also its color. Though the end product looks great, the art of enamel is a very, very delicate process that requires immense artisinal know-how.

To round it off, Vacheron Constantin Métiers d’Art Mécaniques Ajourées is a unique piece for ONLY WATCH 2015 (“2015” and “N°1/1” engraved on the back of the timepiece). It comes in a 40mm x 7.5mm white gold case, manual wind Vacheron Caliber 4400SQ (fully hand engraved and openworked; 65 hours power reserve, 4Hz). More looks below.

words by Kyle Stults

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