delightful companions of legendary moments
January 18th, 2016
The Heures Créatives
models engage in an intense conversation encompassing three emblematic artistic periods: Art Nouveau, Art Deco and the 1970s. The Heure Romantique, Heure Discrète and Heure Audacieuse timepieces form a stunning trilogy dedicated to three women with very different appearances, yet all drawn to the same vision of elegance. Like a lively discussion amongst friends, the collection proves in turn expansive, confidential or playful. The three watches converse admirably against the background of their differences, united by the same expressive vibrancy.
Vacheron Constantin has drawn on the most beautiful historic pieces studding its heritage in order to conceptualise this dialogue between contemporary watches, whose complex construction in no way detracts from their luminous aesthetic. These three graceful silhouettes are enlivened by the same mechanical hand-wound movement, Calibre 1055.
Vacheron Constantin and the ladies’ watch: the wealth of a heritage
Since 1755, Vacheron Constantin has been creating horological masterpieces in a spirit of complete freedom. Influenced by history, manufacturing techniques, the creativity of its designers and a constant quest for excellence, the Maison has consistently contributed to the perpetual reinvention of feminine watchmaking. It has indeed been honouring women since 1810, when its first ladies’ watch was produced: a quarter-repeating pocket watch, directly ordered by a woman!
In an age when it was deemed that ladies had no need whatsoever to know the time and even less to enquire about it in company, the Maison became involved in the design of true watchmaking gems. Smaller than those intended for men as well as more fanciful, ladies’ models required considerable efforts in the realm of miniaturisation together with a talent for decoration – both of which were perfectly mastered by Vacheron Constantin. Symbols of standing and status, these watches gradually became essential accessories: worn on a necklace, hanging on a chatelaine, pinned to a dress or hidden in a brooch, they required all the imagination of the craftsmen of the Maison, master watchmakers as well as engravers, enamellers, guillocheurs, jewellers and gemsetters.
At the end of the 19th
century, the ‘watch-bracelet’ (that would soon be dubbed a wristwatch) asserted its aesthetic and functional legitimacy. History shows that it was designed for women before being adopted by men... In 1889, the Maison created the first movement exclusively dedicated to the ladies’ wristwatch. True to its reputation for workmanship, it was equipped with a revolutionary system enabling winding and time-setting by simply turning the bezel, thus avoiding the need for a winding crown. This watch won an award at the Universal Exhibition in Paris.
It was also at this time that feats of miniaturisation set new standards: the “baguette” shaped wristwatch expanded the design possibilities of jewellery-style watchmaking while continuing to meet precision requirements. Various styles and trends inspired quite a number of models that to this day bear witness to the artistic profusion of the 20th
century. From pendant watches to cuff watches, triple wrap-around wristsbands, woven links, as well as satin or leather ribbons, Vacheron Constantin’s feminine creations successfully staked their claim to freedom and daring over the years... Their predominance can be seen through countless advertising campaigns turning the spotlight on women and launched between 1940 and 1980.
The luminous art of gemsetting
The Maison has united its exceptional skills to give birth to a collection with as many faces as a feminine conversation can have. The Heures Créatives timepieces feature a brilliant exchange between three distinctive and contrasting universes. Both in jewellery and in watchmaking, success is inevitably determined by compliance with an intangible rule: it results from long hours of work and patient humility. Using skilled gestures inherited from bygone eras, the jeweller – master of light – sets off to conquer material and focuses on even the smallest details until perfection is achieved. This is all about meticulous and authentic work on materials, in which different gemsetting techniques were required to reveal the splendid lines of the Heures Créatives collection.
The elegant and contemporary Heures Créatives collection illustrates the full extent of the expertise of these master watchmakers and jewellers. Combining ingeniousness, technique and daring design, it is destined to be annually enriched and continually inspired by the rich past of the Maison.
Heures Créatives Heure Romantique
“The refined and inventive women of this era immersed themselves in romanticism”
At the dawn of the 20th
century, Europe experienced a period of intense industrialisation. It was as a reaction to this energetic whirlwind that Art Nouveau was born. This movement sent a fresh breeze blowing through artistic circles which began advocating a return to Nature, with undulating shapes, organic swirls and effusive arabesques. This was art in all its voluptuousness, marked by a profusion of decoration. The elegant and inventive women of this era took refuge in pastel-hued, vaporous, voluptuous romanticism. The Heure Romantique
model is inspired by this delicate trend. Crafted in 18- carat white gold and adorned with 104 round-cut diamonds (approximately 2.5 cts), its bezel undulates around a mother-of-pearl dial. Four gemset lugs deliciously accentuate the smooth contours of a slightly curved case punctuated by a winding crown enhanced with a diamond. Inspired by a model highly emblematic of the Belle Epoque and dating from 1916, this reinterpretation is devoid of all superfluity and retains only its quintessential elegant roundness. This exceptional timepiece is worn on a black satin strap, secured by a white gold gemset folding clasp.
The Manufacture’s artists have pushed virtuosity to its extremes by creating a second version that is fully paved with round-cut diamonds including the dial, case and bracelet. The latter is articulated around 30 crescent moon-shaped links set with 264 precious stones (approximately 6.3 cts), extending the smooth curves of the case. Bearing vibrant testimony to the mastery of the artistic crafts cultivated at Vacheron Constantin, the fully paved version is graced with 621 diamonds totalling approximately 9.7 cts.
The contours of the Heure Romantique
are further accentuated in the version set with baguette-cut diamonds. The sparkle of faceted precious stones (totalling approximately 17 cts) forms a river of crystalline light poised to nestle in the hollow of a graceful wrist.
Heures Créatives Heure Discrète
The fan, the fashionable accessory of the Roaring Twenties
“A modern woman with a taste for sophisticated nonchalance”
The era of geometric symmetry and clean lines, Art Deco was a reaction to the contortions of Art Nouveau. The Roaring Twenties saw the appearance of slender, modern women exuding a certain distinguished nonchalance. Feathers and sequins adorned low-waisted dresses at sparkling evenings throbbing to the beat of jazz and Charleston steps. An exquisitely luminous embroidery dressed in 286 diamonds, the Heure Discrète is entirely in tune with this spirit. Its design is inspired by the fan, a highly prized accessory at the time. Vacheron Constantin already proposed this motif in the form of a pendant introduced in 1919, and now reprises it nearly a century later by reinterpreting it as a wristwatch. In doing so, it also revives the tradition of secret watches, enabling women to check the time discreetly.
The fan is carved in white gold, fashioned like guipure lace and then carpeted with a crescendo of precious stones to emphasize the geometry. When pivoted, it reveals a small white mother-of-pearl window with finely textured stripes and swept over by two hands. For a touch of elegant sobriety, Heure Discrète
is worn on a black satin strap. The sparkling version is extended by three undulating white gold ribbons, set with nearly 11 carats of diamonds. Lavish radiance in pure Art Deco spirit. A worthy heir to the 1920s woman, the Heure Discrète embodies more than just a watch. It represents all the light, airy feel of the Roaring Twenties, shattering codes and using mystery as a means of exalting beauty, in a world where time becomes infinitely and eternally precious...
Heures Créatives Heure Audacieuse
The freedom years
“The 1970s woman cut her hair like a boy and wore a tuxedo”
The 1970s woman enjoyed every imaginable freedom. Liberated and emancipated, she tried out every unusual experience without a care in the world. She cut her hair like a boy and wore a tuxedo. This was the beginning of androgyny and the blurring of genres, the time of post-Woodstock Pop Art. The Heure Audacieuse freed women from their last remaining shackles and marked the return of stylistic devices. This avant-garde model diverted the belt from its customary use by turning it into a precious cuff watch: an unexpected style expressed by Vacheron Constantin in 1970 and an aesthetic wager that was already won hands down at the time. This year, the Manufacture has transcended the original version by magnifying the dimensions while curving its dynamics. The design of this crisp, clean style remains every bit as exclusive as when it was first introduced.
An exclusive and daring design
“The winding crown is concealed beneath the black satin strap”
The buckle that serves as a case glows with the effect of snow-set round-cut diamonds – a distinctive setting technique that achieves a subtle sparkling effect by juxtaposing diamonds of different sizes. The master gemsetter has nestled the precious stones against each other to entirely cover the entire white gold surface. So as not to detract from the design, the winding crown is hidden under the black satin strap, matching the colour of the satin-finish varnished dial.
The Heure Audacieuse
model is also available in a precious version with 172 invisibly set baguette-cut diamonds totalling 11.30 carats, accentuating the modernity of the design. The Heure Audacieuse
cuff watch is designed for a self-assured woman willing to proclaim her distinctive personality and her independence.
The art of aestheticism
These three models are driven by a movement with pure, uncluttered technical content, entirely focused on aesthetics so as to ensure that the magic weaves its unique spell. They are equipped with the extremely precise mechanical hand-wound Calibre 1055 that accurately counts off the hours and minutes. The 115-part, 21-jewel movement with its almost 40-hour power reserve beats at a cadence of 21,600 vibrations per hour. As always, the decoration and finishing vividly reflect the Manufacture’s expertise. Featuring a dainty diameter measuring barely 15.7 mm (6 ¾’’’), this movement fits smoothly and seamlessly into the three form cases to ensure an aesthetically appealing design.