Vacheron Constantin has renewed its support for the Only Watch 2015 charity auction (taking place on November 7th in Geneva) by donating a unique Métiers d’Art Mécaniques Ajourées timepiece, distinguished by a Grand Feu-enamelled red ring.
The stunning 40mm white gold creation joins a bevy of one-offs created for the auction by prestigious brands, and links two worlds that Vacheron describes as “evolving in similar ways in the late 19th century”, namely architecture and watchmaking.
The movement is based on an in-house Calibre 4400, the end result a sculptural work with airy, transparent and finely arched construction – suggesting the ribbed vaults of European railway stations in the golden age of the industrial revolution.
Open work is not new to the brand; its first open-worked calibre appeared in 1924, and after working with pocket-watches it began producing open-worked movements for wristwatches in the 1960s including complications such as minute repeaters, perpetual calendars and tourbillons.
The demanding art 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 to create something three-dimensional.
In this case that process took several hundred hours. The movement is manual wind, has a 655-hour power reserve, and carries the prestigious hallmark of Geneva.
The open-work extends to a subtle Only Watch logo at 3 o’clock, marking the event organised by the Monaco yacht show, Phillips’ watch department and the Monaco Association Against Muscular Dystrophy.