Having restored one of the Louvre’s most important timepieces – La Création du Monde, an 18th-century astronomical clock owned by King Louis XV – Vacheron Constantin subsequently announced a three-year partnership with the Parisian museum last year. The very first collaborative project between the watchmaker and museum has finally arrived: Les Cabinotiers “Bid for the Louvre”.
A one-off timepiece that will feature a miniature of a work of art in Louvre selected by the client – who will chose it during a private tour of the museum – the watch will be sold at Bid for the Louvre, an online auction at Christie’s that takes place from December 1-15. Other luxury brands as well as contemporary artists have also contributed items to Bid for the Louvre, and all proceeds from the auction will go to the museum.
Vacheron Constantin’s Métiers d’Art watches are decorated with varied artisanal decorative techniques, but they are almost always exceptionally beautiful.
The dials are sometimes intricate, sometimes delicate, and occasionally elaborately ornamental, but always executed to a high level, by both the brand’s in-house artisans as well as independent specialists like Anita Porchet. In fact, many of the Métiers d’Art watches feature dial work finer than comparable watches from the competition.
What makes the Louvre watch special is the opportunity to reproduce a painting from the museum’s vast collection – the largest in the world – which includes many iconic works of art. It is a unique opportunity to reproduce a great work of art with the blessing of the Louvre, while also benefiting the museum.
From wall to the wrist
Before work starts on the watch, the winner will first enjoy a private visit to the Louvre as well as a meeting with its curators who will aid in the selection of the artwork – he or she will have the choice of any piece of art except for the Mona Lisa – and then a trip to the Vacheron Constantin manufacture to discuss the technical details of the watch.
The buyer will be able to customise various elements of the watch, with the most crucial being the dial. Given that the works in the Louvre are primarily paintings or sculpture, the dial can be decorated in either one of two enamelling techniques.
Polychromatic paintings, such as the The Loves of Paris and Helen, are reproduced with miniature enamel painting. And marble sculptures like Venus de Milo will be executed in grisaille enamel, a technique that involves painting white enamel over a black enamel base and then artfully removing portions of the white enamel to create shading.
In addition to the dial, the owner can also select from three materials – white or pink gold, or platinum – for the 40 mm case. And to preserve the canvas that is the dial, the watch is a simple three-hander powered by the in-house cal. 2460 SC, the high-end calibre found in all of the brand’s time-only Métiers d’Art watches.Because the project is in collaboration with the Louvre, the watch will be accompanied by two certificates, one a guarantee for the wristwatch, and the other a “Certificate of Authenticity for the reproduction” of the artwork issued by the Louvre.
Key facts and price
Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers “Bid for the Louvre”
Diameter: 40 mm
Height: 9.42 mm
Material: 18k white or pink gold, or platinum
Water resistance: 30 m
Movement: 2460 SC
Functions: Hours, minutes, and seconds
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 40 hours
Strap: Alligator or calfskin leather
Limited edition: Piece unique
Availability: Bid for the Louvre begins on December 1, 2020, on Christies.com
Price: The estimate is €80,000-100,000
For more, visit Christies.com.
Update December 4, 2020: Included the fact that the Mona Lisa cannot be chosen for reproduction.Back to top.
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