The new Vacheron Constantin Metiers díArt "La symbolique des laques" collection is devoted to a one-of-a-kind centuries-old Japanese lacquer technique called maki-e. The company will introduce just 20 exceptional sets of the limited edition collection each year.
Each set will demonstrate three signature masterpieces that will pay tribute to natural creations bearing great spiritual or symbolic importance in Japanese culture. The central section in the dial features a cutaway revealing the horological beauty of a skeletonized manually-wound movement, found on the list of the thinnest in the world.
The 18K gold dials depict three pairs of animals and plants: a pine tree presented with a crane, a plum tree and nightingale, and a sparrow depicted on shoots of bamboo. The artisan, responsible for the designs, sprinkles gold and silver in the form of a powder upon freshly applied lacquer originating from the Rhus verniciflua tree.
The first set of the Vacheron Constantin watches was given the name "The Three Friends of Winter." The set, as interpreted by Japanese culture, symbolizes endurance and longevity in the face of bitter and severe conditions.
Zohiko, one of the oldest and most highly-respected companies specializing on maki-e lacquer in Japan, performs the work. It is interesting to mention that the first Zohiko shop was established in the middle of the 17th century, having gained the prestigious reputation of a highly cherished supplier of lacquered pieces of art to the Japanese Imperial Court.
The new Vacheron Constantin watches also boast a sapphire crystal exhibition case-back that allows to admire perfect and delicate craftsmanship of the 1003 SQ mechanical movement. This is a true masterpiece of mechanical miniaturization that has been completely open-worked by hand. You would actually need a jeweler's loupe to see all the beauty of the many sophisticated decorative elements of the movement.
The Vacheron Constantin Metiers d'Art La symbolique des laques watches are coupled with refined saddle-stitched crocodile leather straps. The straps are equipped with ardillon buckles crafted in white or pink gold, the shape of which looks like half of a Maltese cross.