Vacheron Constantin announces a unique Métiers d’Art Mécaniques Ajourées timepiece, beautified by an enamelled red ring. Based on the in-house caliber 4400, it took several hundred hours to produce this openworked masterpiece.

The Métiers d’Art Mécaniques Ajourées is presented in a 40 mm diameter by 7.50 thick fully polished white gold case, with a exhibition caseback allowing a full view of the beatufiully finished caliber from all sides.

The manually-wound openworked Caliber 4400SQ beats at 4Hz (28,800 vph), has 127 components (21 jewels) and a 65-hour power reserve. It is a time only piece, with just hours and minutes. To increase contrast, the skeletonized lance-shaped hands have been blackened. Roman numeral hour markers are built-in to the chapter ring, with dots on the outer part of the ring signfying hours and minutes.

According to manufacturer, “The watchmakers and artisans of the Manufacture compounded the already impressive feat of removing almost half the material compared with the solid Calibre 4400 by addressing another challenge: that of transforming the new movement into an authentic three-dimensional architectural work expressing striking light and shadow effects. To achieve this, they have laid new milestones in the age-old art of hand engraving. Rather than using a bocfil or tiny handsaw to cut out the smooth surface of the mainplate and bridges before drawing them out with a file and chamfering them, the engraving artisans have carefully chased the parts around their entire circumference so as to create a true sculpture with its own volume and depth. Inspired by the ribbed vaults of late 19th century railway stations, they have meticulously applied their burins to creating delicate arches on the calibre in a fascinating architecture built around curves. These rounded shapes are a complete change from the straight lines of classic openworked movements, and imply an even more complex process of chamfering and hand-drawing. Amid a clever interlacing pattern of interior angles that only the human hand is capable of creating, the polished zones catch the light, while the matt finish of the hand-drawn surfaces further heighten the contrast with the radiance of the polished areas. The subtle alchemist’s blend of these hand-crafted finishes is further exalted by the relief effect of the engraved vaults in a process involving over three days of work for a single calibre and endowing it with unique character.”

Only Watch 2015 takes place November 7th in Geneva. At which time the one-of-a-kind Métiers d’Art Mécaniques Ajourées timepiece will be auctioned to the highest bidder. It is presented with a black Mississippiensis alligator leather strap with alligator leather inner shell, stitched-tip and large square scales. The 18K white gold buckle features a Vacheron Constantin’s signature half maltese cross design. Delivered with a magnifying glass. This unique piece is engraved with “2015” and “N°1/1” on the caseback.

Posted by:Jason Pitsch

Jason is the founder of Professional Watches and specializes in writing, product photography, and digital marketing.