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SIHH 2013: Vacheron Constantin - Métiers d’Art Florilège collection

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At the end of the 19th century, the wristwatch started to assert its claim as a legitimate and practical style. History tells us that it was initially designed for women before being adopted by men. Vacheron Constantin immediately appreciated the potential of the market for women’s wristwatches. In 1889, it brought out a wristwatch for ladies that vindicated the manufacture’s reputation for workmanship. It featured a revolutionary way of winding the watch and setting the time by simply turning the bezel, thus avoiding the need for a winding crown.
The 1889 Vacheron Constantin ladies gold bangle with bezel winding
Today, Vacheron Constantin pays a new tribute to women. The 2013 collection, presented at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) in Geneva, shows the brand’s determination to dedicate their best work to women by combining the beauty intrinsic in artistic craftsmanship with the technical mastery of the mechanisms of time. 

The Métiers d’Art Florilège collection - created exclusively for women - fully expresses the intense relationship forged between the watch manufacturer and artistic crafts (métiers d’art).

This trilogy pays a tribute to the delicacy of English botanical illustration in the 19th century. The plants, taken from Robert John Thornton’s The Temple of Flora, published in 1799, grow over the dials of watches that combine the artistic crafts of enamelling, guillochage and gem-setting.  
The artwork, reproduced in guilloché engravings and Grand Feu cloisonné enamels, comes to life in a profusion of colour. Each dial gives an illusion of amazing depth and perspective, highlighted by a bezel set with diamonds. 

The craftsmen have brought together their skills to reproduce the flowers in their smallest detail. In a first stage, the engine-turner cuts lines a tenth of a millimetre apart to create an expanding symmetrical pattern, combining an artist’s sensitivity with a delicacy of touch. 
Then the enameller outlines the shapes in thin enclosures of gold that separate the different fields of coloured enamels, according to the cloisonné technique. 
The enamels are then fired in an oven at around 800°. This is a delicate operation that the enameller repeats several times to deepen to colour and to let the light play through the translucent enamel. The final step is a last layer of colourless enamel, similarly vitrified and polished to preserve the flower in brilliant definition.  
Métiers d’Art Florilège – White Lily, symbol of purity and virtue 
Métiers d’Art Florilège – Queen, reproducing a strelitzia plant, symbol of loyalty and good luck
Métiers d’Art Florilège – China Limodoron, symbol of wealth and refinement
The three Métiers d’Art Florilège models are fitted with mechanical manual-winding calibre 4400, developed and manufactured by Vacheron Constantin, with a power reserve of around 65 hours. 
Leather straps in feminine colours bring the watches to graceful perfection.  The Métiers d’Art Florilège is a limited series of 20 collector’s watches with the bezel set with round-cut diamonds and 5 more with the bezel set with baguette-cut diamonds for the Vacheron Constantin Boutiques. They all bear the Hallmark of Geneva. 

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