Monday, January 20, 2014

Métiers d’Art Mécaniques Ajourées

These are just in from Vacheron Constantin for the SIHH show -

Courtesy of Vacheron Constantin

Openworking 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 smooth running of the watch. 

Watchmakers generally start with a solid existing calibre on which they undertake a lengthy process involving conceptualisation, design and modelling, in order to weave the magic of openworking. The new Métiers d’Art Mécaniques Ajourées is no exception to this rule, since it features the first openworked version of an iconic in-house movement: hand-wound Calibre 4400. It took several hundreds of hours to achieve the perfect balance between airy aesthetic appeal and optimal functionality. 

Courtesy of Vacheron Constantin

The watchmakers and artisans of the Manufacture compounded the already impressive feat of removing almost half the material compared with the solid Calibre 4400 by addressing another challenge: that of transforming the new movement into an authentic three-dimensional architectural work expressing striking light and shadow effects. To achieve this, they have laid new milestones in the age-old art of hand engraving. Rather than using a bocfil or tiny handsaw to cut out the smooth surface of the mainplate and bridges before drawing them out with a file and chamfering them, the engraving artisans have carefully chased the parts around their entire circumference so as to create a true sculpture with its own volume and depth. Inspired by the ribbed vaults of late 19th century railway stations, they have meticulously applied their burins to creating delicate arches on the calibre in a fascinating architecture built around curves. These rounded shapes are a complete change from the straight lines of classic openworked movements, and imply an even more complex process of chamfering and hand-drawing. Amid a clever interlacing pattern of interior angles that only the human hand is capable of creating, the polished zones catch the light, while the matt finish of the hand-drawn surfaces further heighten the contrast with the radiance of the polished areas. The subtle alchemist’s blend of these hand-crafted finishes is further exalted by the relief effect of the engraved vaults in a process involving over three days of work for a single calibre and endowing it with unique character.

Courtesy of Vacheron Constantin


82620/000G-9924 - High jewellery (black enamelled ring) 
82020/000G-9924 - (black enamelled ring)
82020/000G-9925 - (blue enamelled ring) 
82020/000G-9926 - (grey enamelled ring) 
Hallmark of Geneva certified timepieces

Courtesy of Vacheron Constantin

Caliber    4400SQ
Developed and manufactured by Vacheron Constantin

Mechanical, manual-winding Hand-engraved
28.60 mm (12 ’’’ 1⁄2) diameter
2.80 mm thick
Approximately 65 hours power reserve
4Hz (28’800 vibrations/hour)
127 components 21 jewels

Hours, minutes

18K white gold
High jewellery model: diamond-set bezel (42 baguette-cut diamonds,

total weight of approx. 2.00 carats)
40 mm diameter, 7.50 mm thick
Transparent sapphire crystal caseback
Water-resistance tested at a pressure of 3 bar (approx. 30 meters)

Black / blue / grey Grand Feu opaque enamelled external ring 
Openworked Roman numerals on an 18K gold ring

Black / dark blue Mississippiensis alligator leather strap, stitched-tip, large square scales

18K white gold buckle
High jewellery model: diamond-set buckle (12 baguette-cut 
total weight of approx. 0.82 carat) 
Half Maltese cross-shaped 

No comments:

Post a Comment