Watches: Vacheron Constantin Hommage à l’Art de la Danse

By Thierry Ané on June 2, 2014

If you are like me and have a thing for decorative timepieces, you are probably looking forward to every new “Métiers d’Art” release by the House of Vacheron Constantin. This illustrious Manufacture is indeed in a class of its own when it comes to reviving ancestral decorative techniques to create sensational pieces of watchmaking art.

The age-old art of Grand Feu grisaille enamelling almost fell into oblivion but the brand’s gifted artisans acknowledged the beauty of this monochrome painting and made it the central element of its “Hommage à l’Art de la Danse” collection that made its debut in 2013 with The Dance Class, The Rehearsal and Two Dancers on Stage, soon followed by the The Dancer on Stage.

The finesse of these brushstrokes in countless shades of grey was perfectly suited to re-create the subtlety of the tulle and muslin of a ballerina’s tutu and the chiaroscuro effect of grisaille enamelling was ideal to pay tribute to the works of French artist Edgar Degas. The brand’s artisans even brought their own twist to this beautiful technique by working with a translucent brown enamel base in place of the traditional black enamel. In doing so, they managed to enhance even further the sense of depth that grisaille enamelling already brings.

After the initial four pieces introduced last year, Vacheron Constantin is expanding this extraordinary collection with another set of three one-of-a-kind timepieces based on the highlights of a ballerina’s daily life: learning, training and performance. Once again, the master enamel artist drew inspiration from three more paintings by the master: “Dancers Practicing at the Barre” (1877) for the Dance Class, “Dancers Near a Set” (1888) for the Rehearsal, and lastly “Two Dancers Entering the Stage” (1877-1878) for the Stage Performance.

Like all previous models, these stunning realisations are framed in an understated 40 mm white gold round case polished to perfection and featuring an officer-type cover on the back that you can open to admire the self-winding in-house 2460 SC calibre. Mounted on a black alligator strap with a white gold pin buckle showcasing a half Maltese Cross, these exceptional timepieces also bear the Hallmark of Geneva.

Very much like last year’s models, the three new additions to this astonishing collection crystallise the magic of the world of ballet and represent a vibrant tribute to the works of Edgar Degas. They also attest to the brand’s incredible know-how with all sorts of decorative techniques and its amazing dedication to produce only the best. No doubt the French master would have appreciated these exceptional dials…

The artistic dials before they are encased