VACHERON FOR THE WIN
Vacheron Constantin makes great watches. Maybe the greatest. I love their product and would gladly own almost anything they make. This year’s SIHH revealed some craziness from the super high-end brand. The new FIFTYSIX line watches is great but these other guys…. the hot air balloons (to cheapen it a bit.)
Here’s a clip of some of the super-high resolution stills edited together in 4K resolution. Please watch full-screen!
Métiers d’Art Les Aérostiers Collection
- A combination of artistic crafts and horological techniques
- Engraving, pounced ornament and plique-à-jour enamel
- Manufacture Calibre 2460 G4/1
- Original display on dragging or jumping discs
Five flights… and as many stories engraved in gold
Science, magic and dreams: the Métiers d’Art Les Aérostiers collection retraces the thrilling experience of five historical flights made in France, a pioneering nation in this domain. In the late 18th century, these extraordinary feats enchanted royal courts and dumbfounded crowds alike.
Métiers d’Art Les Aérostiers – Versailles 1783 – An aerostat, designed by Étienne de Montgolfier, rises into the air for the very first time. This “aerostatic experiment” has a sheep, a rooster and a duck on board. Their survival will testify to the sufficiency of oxygen at a given altitude. Engraved in white gold, the basket and its floating ropes, having been slightly damaged by the landing, are perfectly visible beneath the opulent 5N gold balloon.
Métiers d’Art Les Aérostiers – Paris 1783 – The first human being in turn rises heavenwards. Aboard another aerostat, also designed by Étienne de Montgolfier, are tw
o “sky travellers”, micro-sculpted on the dial. Against a sky blue plique-à-jour enamel background, this splendid pink and white gold balloon is engraved with suns, the zodiac, fleurs de lys, garlands, insignia and an eagle with outstretched wings.
Métiers d’Art Les Aérostiers – Paris 1784 – The balloonist Blanchard had imagi
ned a system for guiding a balloon’s trajectory. The ingenious system of wings built for this purpose can be clearly made out on the dial. While the landing took place far from the initial designated spot, the flight would inspire its developer and other balloonists in making more fruitful attempts.
Métiers d’Art Les Aérostiers – Bordeaux 1784 – The whole of France takes part in the extraordinary conquest of the skies. This flight, made in Bordeaux with three voyagers in the basket, testifies to what had become a true phenomenon of the era. Reproduced in identical detail on the dial, the balloon features a splendid variety of fabrics and ornamentation, as well as a mythologica
Métiers d’Art Les Aérostiers – Bagnols 1785 – Ten thousand people salute this flight with thunderous applause. The elegant white and yellow gold basket appears to be floating on plique-à-jour enamel in various shades of blue. The upper part of the balloon is coloured by electroplating. Seven years later, the balloon canvas would serve to make clothes for Republican volunteers.
The Métiers d’Art Les Aérostiers collection represents as many journeys to the heart of the sky, testifying to a vibrant period buoyed up by a spirit of conquest.
Brilliantly interpreted by the master artisans of Vacheron Constantin, the five flights each come in an exclusive limited numbered edition of five.
References 7610U/000G-B210 – Métiers d’Art Les Aérostiers – Paris 1783 7610U/000G-B243 – Métiers d’Art Les Aérostiers – Paris 1784 7610U/000G-B244 – Métiers d’Art Les Aérostiers – Versailles 1783 7610U/000G-B245 – Métiers d’Art Les Aérostiers – Bagnols 1785 7610U/000G-B246 – Métiers d’Art Les Aérostiers – Bordeaux 1784 Hallmark of Geneva certified timepieces
Calibre 2460 G4/1
Developed and manufactured by Vacheron Constantin Mechanical, self-winding
31 mm (111⁄4’’’) diameter, 6.05 mm thick Approximately 40 hours of power reserve
4 Hz (28,800 vibrations/hour)
Indications Hours, minutes, day of the week and date in apertures on matching disc colour
Case 18K white gold
40 mm diameter, 12.74 mm thick
Transparent sapphire crystal caseback
Water-resistance tested at a pressure of 3 bar (approx.30 meters)
Dial 18K gold hand-engraved balloons Skies in plique-à-jour enamel
Strap Blue/green/brown/dark blue/burgundy Mississippiensis alligator leather with alligator leather inner shell, hand-stitched, saddle- finish, large square scales
Clasp 18K white gold folding clasp Polished half Maltese cross-shaped
5 each, $135,000 USD. If you don’t already own one, you probably never will.
I’d never buy one of these. These are for true history buffs. I enjoy history, but this isn’t my thing. That being said the craftsmanship that goes into something as beautiful as this is astounding.