Timeless Art Masterpieces

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Timeless Art Masterpieces

[Watch Talk] Hello everyone, when it comes to unique craftsmanship watches, Vacheron Constantin is definitely worth mentioning. Since Vacheron Constantin officially established artistic timepieces as a complete series in 2004, not only have they continuously produced outstanding works that have become famous throughout history, but they have also become the benchmark and symbol in this field!

Just last month at the Shanghai Watch Fair, Vacheron Constantin unveiled a new set of four watches from their “Art Masters” series called “Naturalists”, once again showcasing their deep understanding and extraordinary creativity in artistic timepieces. These four watches are based on Charles Darwin’s global expedition two hundred years ago, recounting his journey aboard the HMS Beagle as a naturalist supported by the royal family soon after graduating from university. His six years of research notes, letters, and related naturalist reports were compiled into the story of “The Voyage of the Beagle”. The dials vividly depict the biological species, geographical landscapes, and local customs described in the voyage.

If I remember correctly, this is the third time that Vacheron Constantin has introduced watches with a star wheel structure. Compared to the four “Explorers” watches in 2004 and the three “Mariners” watches in 2021, the biggest change in this “Naturalists” series is the addition of metal carving on top of the previously only existing artistic expression form of miniature enamel. On two of the watches named “Cape Verde” and “Strait of Magellan”, the meticulously carved HMS Beagle sailboat is vividly displayed from the stern and starboard perspective, appearing to be sailing on the lifelike blue enamel sea, resembling a masterpiece from a skilled artist. The lower part of the dial depicts the natural landscapes of the respective locations using miniature enamel.

The other two watches, “Cape of Good Hope” and “Tierra del Fuego”, focus on animals. We see colorful butterflies, fully-feathered seabirds, and lazy and comfortable iguanas. Every delicate feature such as feathers and scales on these animals is accurately carved by the master sculptors, with dense forests presented behind them in miniature enamel. The lower part of the dial not only depicts exquisite maps of “Cape of Good Hope” and “Tierra del Fuego”, but also the silhouette of the HMS Beagle on the sea.

Powering these four watches is Vacheron Constantin’s classic and famous Caliber 1120, which is regarded as one of the most prestigious ultra-thin automatic movements in the history of luxury watches. Although other brands have used this movement, Vacheron Constantin is the only one that has been consistently using it since the 1970s. The production of this movement is extremely meticulous. Despite its thinness of 5.45mm, it exudes high quality and is decorated with a 22K gold rotor with a wind rose compass pattern, concentrating the weight on the outer edge to ensure stable operation while reducing thickness.

In terms of escapement, it is equipped with a rare and exceptional screw-adjusted micrometer balance wheel. The meticulous finishing is flawless, with the Geneva Seal and a bridge shape as elegant and beautiful as clouds. In addition, as an artistic timepiece, Vacheron Constantin has added a mysterious star wheel component. In my opinion, fitting such a classic “antique” movement into an artistic timepiece is the perfect match. Lastly, with a price of 1.31 million RMB for each of these four limited edition art masterpieces, with only 10 pieces available for each, I can only say that advanced technology will be replaced with time, but perfect works of art will endure.

These are my thoughts on this watch. If you have anything to say about this watch, please leave a comment and let us know. For those who love watches, see you in the next episode! (Photo/Text: WatchTime)

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