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Vacheron Constantin Métiers d’Art Tribute to Explorer Naturalists

A new chapter in the Métiers D’art collection honouring 19th-century naturalists.

| By Xavier Markl | 2 min read |

Vacheron Constantin has long demonstrated a commitment to perpetuate and encourage the traditional and often rare métiers d’art skills. The brand’s Métiers d’Art watches find their inspiration in art, history, and culture. On the occasion of Watches and Wonders Shanghai 2023, a new chapter in this collection is unveiled with a quartet of limited edition watches in tribute to explorer naturalists.

The theme will unmistakably evoke some of the brand’s past métier d’art creations, such as the Mercator, Audubon or Great Explorers series. For this new Métiers d’Art collection, Vacheron Constantin has invited collectors to embark on board the HMS Beagle alongside the most illustrious 19th-century naturalists (including Charles Darwin) as the British ship travelled around the world in the 1830s. The five-year journey and discoveries of the Beagle provided the theme to grace these four watches with compelling historical, botanical or zoological decorations.

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Inside their 41mm gold case, the meticulous work of engravers, enamellers and other craftsmen create an invitation to travel back in time and to dream of the discoveries of these scientific explorers. The watches tell their story using traditional crafts on a minuscule horological canvas. On the left-hand side, a cut-out in the dial reveals the time in an original way depicted over evocative backgrounds. The hours are read digitally as they travel along a 120-minute track.

The Vacheron Constantin Métiers d’Art Tribute to Explorer Naturalists are powered by the automatic 1120 AT calibre. Running at a frequency of 2.75 Hz or 19,800 vibrations/hour, its power reserve is approximately 40 hours. Based on the ultra-thin JLC920, it integrates a satellite module to drive the wandering hours over the dial along the minutes track. It fulfils the specifications of the Geneva Seal. Its meticulous finishings can be admired via the exhibition caseback. The decoration is traditional with, for instance, Geneva stripes and perlage. The 22k gold rotor is engraved with a compass rose.

The Beagle Odyssey sails to Cape Verde (1832) with a white gold case and the finely engraved gold ship seen from its stern, with luxuriant tropical flowers and foliage on the right. The pink gold Straits of Magellan (1833/34) shows an engraving of the Beagle in profile sailing on enamel blue seas. The white gold Tierra del Fuego (1833/34) is graced with engraved birds and a butterfly, while an ancient map and windrose are painted in miniature enamel. Last, the pink gold Cape of Good Hope (1836) shows birds and an iguana over a luxuriant enamel landscape.

The Vacheron Constantin Métiers d’Art Tribute to Explorer Naturalists are presented on a handstitched, large-scale alligator leather strap. The gold buckle is a half-Maltese cross. Each of the four watches is released in a limited edition of 10 pieces and is available exclusively through Vacheron Constantin boutiques. The price is set at EUR 203,000.

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