Vacheron Constantin Introduces Steve McCurry’s Portrait Series of Fantastic Places

A photographic series capturing exotic places around the world, the Overseas Tour is the work of noted American photograph Steve McCurry. Here are the first six.

Most famous for Afghan Girl, a 1984 photograph of a young woman with impossibly green eyes, Steve McCurry is collaborating with Vacheron Constantin on the launch of its Overseas collection of sports watches. He has been tasked with shooting 12 unusual and remote locations around the world, creating a series of astonishing portraits. Here are the first six locations, along with McCurry’s comments on each.

Padre Tembleque, Mexico

An aqueduct built 500 years ago in the Mexican desert that stretches some 45km.

“You fully grasp the visual strength of this aqueduct when you realise that it was built over 500 years ago with absolutely perfect symmetry. I see it as a work with a poetic structure, placed right in the middle of nowhere.”

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Grand Central, New York

The location of many a film set, Grand Central is a train station in Midtown Manhattan built in the early 20th century that’s now one of New York’s major tourists attractions.

“I remember the first time at Grand Central Station, in New York. I had the impression of being immersed in a work of art, not a railway station! What I find especially fascinating here is the constant human interaction. But it was fantastic to be able to spend a whole night there. We had the entire station to ourselves, as if in a waking dream.”

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Chand Baori Stepwell, India

Some 13 stories down and 30m deep, the Chand Baori Stepwell is one of the largest in India. It was built over 1000 years ago to allow villagers to collect water at the bottom, which is cooler than at the surface, preserving the water below.

“This place immediately reminded me of the graphic work of the artist Maurits Cornelis Escher, notably expressed through his art of creating optical illusions through playing with lines. The Indian women we met there appeared to be lost amid the vastness of the monument. These are definitely the most beautiful and awe- inspiring staircases I have ever seen. The architects worked miracles in creating a work of pure beauty.”

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Leshan Giant Buddha, China

Built during the Tang Dynasty some 1300 years ago, the Leshan Giant Buddha was carved out of a cliff face facing the Min river. The largest stone buddha in the world, the statue is so large its smallest toe can accommodating a seated person.

“I have tried to convey through pictures the amazing sum of knowledge possessed by the Chinese at the time this Buddha was sculpted. It was an honour for me to undertake this task, especially as we were fortunate to meet some wonderful people during the photo shoot. What impressed me about this Buddha was its face that shows a neutral and benevolent smile. He observes the world and gazes affectionately at us as if he wished to protect us for all eternity.”

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Tsurunoyu Onsen, Japan

Three hours north of Tokyo, Tsurunoyu is a traditional hot spring that is practically the ideal for a traditional Japanese onsen.

“This was one of the most inspirational locations on my photographic journey. When we arrived there, it had been snowing for three days. Everything was shrouded in a mantle of white, as if in a dream. It was truly fascinating to witness this magical contrast between the coldness of the snow and the warmth of the baths.”

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Manufacture Vacheron Constantin, Geneva

Sited in Plan-les-Ouates, an industrial suburb of Geneva nicknamed “Plan-les-Watch” for the large number of watchmakers in the area, the Vacheron Constantin manufacture is an imposing, modern structure that opened in 2004, consolidating all of the watchmaker’s personnel.

“You find yourself facing this incredible shape, this architecture, this singular design that is also an authentic work of art, a concrete example of human genius. I see it as a perfect match between beauty and precision. Admiring the Manufacture Vacheron Constantin is like setting off on an extraordinary voyage.”

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All photographs copyright Steve McCurry and Vacheron Constantin.

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Introducing the Vacheron Constantin Overseas World Time, with Hands-On Photos

Vacheron Constantin adds a 37-time zone travel watch to its luxury sports watch line-up with the Overseas World Time. Here's all you need to know, including the price.

The revamped line of Overseas sports watches unveiled in January at SIHH is now joined by the Overseas World Time that shows the time in all of the world’s 37 time zones. Its all encompassing world time display is thanks to the calibre 2460 WT, the same calibre found in the Traditionelle World Time. The movement can indicate the time in the traditional 24 time zones show by ordinary world time watches, as well as an additional 13 time zones with 15 or 30 minute offsets.

Vacheron Constantin Overseas World Time 8

Like the rest of the Overseas range, the movement is fitted with a 22k gold rotor decorated with a relief compass rose. And it’s protected from magnetism by a soft iron ring around the movement that encircles its perimeter but allows the calibre to be seen through the display back. According to Vacheron Constantin, the soft iron ring offered the same degree of protection as a soft iron cage that also covers the back.

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All the locations places with unconventional time zone offsets are highlighted in different colour on the dial, though such places are not often visited; they include Tehran, Yangon and Caracas. A tinted sapphire disc in the centre of the dial sits over a metal disc showing the continents in relief – the dark tinted halve of the sapphire indicates night-time in that half of the world.

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While Vacheron Constantin’s first world time was available only in gold or platinum, the Overseas World Time is stainless steel, measuring a chunky 43.5mm in diameter and 12.6mm high. The case has the same easily exchangeable bracelet and strap mechanism as the other Overseas watches: a catch on the back of the band releases it from the case, enabling easy swapping between the steel bracelet, rubber and leather straps. All three options are included with the watch.

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Three dial colours are available – silver (7700V/110A-B129), blue (ref. 7700V/110A-B172), and brown (ref. 7700V/110A-B176).

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Pricing and availability 

The Overseas World Time will reach stores in the third quarter of 2016 and is priced at S$56,900, equivalent to US$41,500.

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Arnold & Son Introduces Thinnest Skeleton Tourbillon to Date

Just 8.34 mm high, the Arnold & Son UTTE Skeleton is the thinnest open-worked tourbillon on the market.

UTTE is short for “ultra-thin tourbillon escapement” and is the name of a watch Arnold & Son introduced three years ago. Now the brand has given the UTTE an open-worked facelift, creating the slimmest skeleton tourbillon on the market.

The tourbillon regulator is of the flying type, with no bridge to hold it on the front. And the balance wheel is slightly off centre, rotating on a separate axis from that of the tourbillon cage, a construction that’s reminiscent of the extra-thin tourbillons made by independent watchmaker Vincent Calabrese (who also designed the similar Blancpain tourbillon). Because the tourbillon rises slightly above the surface of the movement, a domed sapphire crystal is necessary to accommodate it – without the crystal the watch would be even thinner.

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In totality, crystal and all, the watch is just 8.34 mm high, the same as the original UTTE, with a diameter of 42 mm. But the movement is slightly different than the original, being thicker in order to compensate for the skeletonisation. The bridges had to be made more substantial to ensure rigidity, since so much material was removed for the open-working. It’s hand-wound with a 90-hour power reserve, or just over three days.

Arnold & Son UTTE Skeleton 1

The UTTE Skeleton is a limited edition of 50 pieces in red gold, with a price of US$76,750.

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