Introducing The Vacheron Constantin Métiers d’Art Savoirs Enluminés – Inspired By Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts (With Official Pricing)

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Reproducing motifs from an illuminated manuscript in enamel, the Vacheron Constantin Métiers d’Art Savoirs Enluminés combines artisanal decoration and a wandering hours time display, in the cushion-shaped Harmony case introduced at SIHH 2015.

Vacheron Constantin looked to the pages of the Aberdeen Bestiary for the motifs that decorate the Métiers d’Art Savoirs Enluminés. Each of the three watches in the Savoirs Enluminés series is features a dial that is enamelled and engraved by hand, with a wandering hours time display.

Created in the 12th century, the Aberdeen Bestiary is typical of other illuminated manuscripts from the Middle Ages, with its pages lavishly decorated in gold and silver leaf. A Bestiary is a Medieval text that depicts animals, real and legendary, with three such animals from the Aberdeen Bestiary making their way to the Savoirs Enluminés watches.

A “live” photo courtesy of Alex Ghobti of The Hour Lounge
A seabird, “Altion”, with the name of the motif engraved on the case band, is depicted with blue and green plumage on the first watch, a representation of serenity.

The second is titled “Vultures”, with a pair of them back to back forming a circle, a symbol of infinity. 

And the third shows “Caper”, a goat in dark blue that conveys wisdom.

Each of the watches has a two part dial, both made of 22 ct. gold. The upper segment of the dial is decorated with the animal motif and a border in fired enamel. Both miniature painting and champlevé techniques are used to create the decoration, which includes a background finished with abrasive brushes and rubber erasers to mimic the texture of gold leaf on the page of an illuminated manuscript.

The rightmost segment of the dial is set slightly lower, to accommodate the hour display. It is decorated with text that discusses nature and life. Each of the letters are raised and polished, with the Arabic numerals for the minutes painted on top.

The time is indicated by wandering hours, with an hour numeral that travels across the minute track, simultaneously showing the hours and minutes. At the top of each hour a new hour number emerges at the zero point of the minute track.

Vacheron Constantin’s in-house, automatic calibre 1120 is the base calibre for the wandering hours mechanism.This mechanism centres on three Maltese cross shaped cams, which allow for a non-linear rotation of the hour satellites, each with four hour numerals. 

The “Tribute to the Great Explorers” series from about a decade ago used the same display, and similar mechanisms are found in the Arnold & Son Golden Wheel, Urwerk UR-105 and Audemars Piguet Starwheel. (For a comprehensive look at Vacheron Constantin’s novel time display watches, Alex Ghotbi wrote a great article on The Hour Lounge.)

Unlike most other similar Vacheron Constantin watches of the past, the Savoirs Enluminés has a cushion-shaped Harmony case, which was introduced at SIHH in January. The case is white gold with a diameter of 40 mm and height of 10.3 mm.

The Métiers d’Art Savoirs Enluminés is limited to 20 pieces for each motif and are sold individually at a price of €100,000 each before taxes.

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