The high-tech horology highlights the most sophisticated and delicate of all settings: the invisible setting.
Marrying different art forms, combining talents, and innovating while respecting one’s heritage: Vacheron Constantin meets these demands by honoring time with what is beautiful, precious, precise and delightful. Symbolising the cultural bridge between the arts, engineering and creative genius, Vacheron Constantin’s Malte tourbillon high jewellery brings together the magic of watchmaking and the mystery of gem-setting.
This exceptional piece is a vibrant dedication to the Métiers d’Art, which here border on the sublime. With the invisible settings all entirely hand-crafted, it is dressed in 418 baguette diamonds (totalling approximately 19.6 carats), creating a supreme illumination of time.
Only a few artists today have mastered the technique for producing invisible diamond settings. The gold is completely hidden behind the precious stones: supported by a track, they form a field of light without any trace of fastening and, as a result, emit maximum luminosity. Vacheron Constantin chose to apply this technique to a shaped watch which, despite its curved profile, has edges, sharp angles and taut lines, all of which made the work much more challenging. And to accomplish this, a whole range of craftsmen, from designer to gem-setter, from watchmaker to jeweller, worked in perfect harmony, orchestrating their respective skills and motivated by the same determination to surpass themselves. The cutter worked on the stones one by one, to the nearest micron, so that the jewel-setter was able to fit them perfectly into the place prepared for them. The precision required for such an exacting task meant that over 100 hours of goldsmithing work went into creating this wondrous composition of diamonds.
With the gold completely hidden by the gems, the watch becomes a sculpture in diamonds: lugs, bezel, case middle, dial, buckle, every single element shimmers with light, from the crown to the emblematic Maltese cross. The Malte tourbillon high jewellery model also meets the new criteria of the Hallmark of Geneva. Instated in 1886 by the Grand Council of the Republic and Canton of Geneva, the Hallmark of Geneva is a guarantee of origin, of craftsmanship, of durability and of expertise. This unique quality label has undergone at the end of 2011 a fundamental transformation, since the certification no longer concerns the calibre alone, but the timepiece as a whole. This new approach represents a major evolution of this independent certification that has enjoyed the longstanding support of Vacheron Constantin and which has just decided to respond more fully than ever before to the legitimate expectations of an ever more informed clientele.
The 2795 calibre, a perfect example of the Manufacture’s expertise
Such an exceptional watch deserved an equally exceptional movement, and this model is duly equipped with mechanical hand-wound Calibre 2795, comprising 169 parts and endowed with an almost two-day power reserve. This new tonneau-shaped movement – making a perfect fit with the case – is entirely developed and crafted within the Manufacture. The tourbillon carriage is inspired by the brand’s signature Maltese cross, and magnificently showcases the exceptional level of finishing of each movement part, including a number of naturally hand-bevelled interior angles.
The rounding off of the tourbillon bar, which always represents a significant technical challenge, calls for over 12 hours of manual work in order to meet the finishing criteria demanded by Vacheron Constantin. Rounding off consists of filing each end of the arms in order to give them a conical or semi-cylindrical shape, while respecting the limits of the centre and the heels. To finalise this operation, the craftsmen rub it down with stones, buffs, wooden pegs and finishing pastes in order to achieve a perfectly polished effect.
The exceptional character of the 2795 calibre is underscored by its côtes de Genève decoration, meticulous hand-chamfering of the bar edges, and engraved individual serial number.