Vacheron Constantin adds new pieces to Metiers d’Art collection paying tribute to naturalism

Vacheron Constantin adds new pieces to Metiers d’Art collection paying tribute to naturalis, which are presented at the Watches&Wonders exhibition in Hong Kong.

Wild golden coated mustangs

The power of nature and wide-open spaces is intensely present and the fiery mettle of these three thoroughbreds is clearly perceptible. Each of the details expresses a sense of meticulous realism, including some that are visible only under a magnifying glass. With exceptional precision, the engraver has succeeded in conveying the vivacity of these wild creatures in a pink gold miniature.

A wood marquetry mountain scene forms the backdrop. A snow-capped peak made of whitened wood lace-work is carved out like a single block, while smaller parts made from a more densely grained type of wood fill in the openworked surfaces, with their greyish veins forming the outlines of the rocky scree slope. This delicate technique involves putting pieces together like puzzle parts and features 90 tiny pieces of wood meticulously cut out by hand and then fitted together to form the landscape.

In marquetry, the fibres and the curves of the material influence the tones of the motif. Walnut, tulip and chestnut wood are some of the types chosen for the quality of their texture. Once the parts are assembled, the resulting decor is polished and varnished before being placed on a gold disc serving as the dial base.

Chamois amid an Alpine setting

Leaping and bounding down a steep slope, two chamois skip merrily between rocks and residual slabs of snow. These tiny engraved sculptures are covered of dense fur coat, accentuated by a well-defined backbone.

Once again, the marquetry background lends an exquisitely poetic touch. Arrayed in pastel shades mingled with immaculate white, as well as slightly flame-singed beige tints to create subtle shading effects, 130 wooden parts are arranged so as to reveal this delightful Alpine scene imbued with supremely luminous delicacy.

The whole art of marquetry lies not only in the choice of wood types, but also in the artist’s sensitivity in directing the veins of the wood so that they follow the décor he is steadily creating.  Each part is cleanly and accurately cut using a tiny hand-held veneer saw, and no nicks or flaws of any kind are tolerated. The slightest error could mean starting all over again.