During this, the year of their 260th anniversary, Vacheron Constantin have added to their Métiers d’Art collection with two new platinum watches with hand-engraved in-house movements – calibres 22601/1 and 4400/1. What these two pieces share in common are the engraved acanthus leaves on their time only and tourbilon movements respectively.
The first Mécaniques Gravées model is time-only, containing the manual-wind Calibre 4400/1 with a power reserve of 65 hours. The watch itself is 39mm in diametre, 8.5mm thick, and made from 950 Pt with hands in white gold and a slate great minute minute track.
Now for the special part – both the front and back of the movement, including plates and bridges, are hand engraved with an ornate pattern of acanthus leaves. It takes a master engraver more than ten days to complete each movement, delicately cutting away at it by 0.2 mm or less, with the most shallow sections less than 0.35 mm thick.
The other new Métiers d’Art model has, as its skeletonised based, the Calibre 2260 also found in Vacheron’s Patrimony Traditionnelle Tourbillon 14 Days, hence its name ‘Métiers d’Art Mecaniques Gravées 14-Day Tourbillon’. The manual-wind Cal.2260 is composed of 231 parts, has a 336-hour power reserve and beats at 18,000VPH.
The 14-day tourbillon Mécaniques Gravées also has white gold hands and a platinum case. The tourbillon cage at 6 o’clock doubles as a seconds indicator, and there is a power reserve indicator at 12 o’clock with scale markers to indicate each 12-hour period of the fourteen days ‘printed’ on the crystal. As is the case with any skeletonised watch, to see this may require a little peering for some. There is a similar printed circular scale around the tourbillon, whose cage is the Vacheron Maltese cross. The watch has a diametre of 41mm and is 12.35mm thick. Through the caseback you can see the two large bridges again engraved with an acanthus pattern.
Both pieces come on a hand-stitched dark blue alligator strap with a platinum buckle and as a bonus, a magnifying glass as well. In case you are wondering – yes the really quite exquisite decoration (especially that visible through the caseback) is engraved free hand.